From the former owners of cult-favourite Love Rosie Bakery, Breadhead is a bakery that’s steadily made a name for itself since opening a petite shop in December 2018. Now, it’s expanded from a simple to-go model into a cafe, taking over the tenancy next door to offer Atomic coffee, seating, and time to mull over your bread and pastry choices (while eating your first choice).
Brent and Kate Beamish started Love Rosie in 2013. It grew into something of a phenomenon for the city with its cabinets of baked goods, fresh sandwiches and animal figurines in place of table numbers (a novelty at the time).
“I needed bread and there was nothing around here, so I thought I’d plunge into it,” Brent, cook turned self-taught baker, tells Broadsheet.
He started by rolling baguettes, pide and rosemary loaves, then proofing croissants and danishes, all while learning the finicky art of sourdough. “And then this place came up,” he says of Breadhead’s home on Saint John Street.
It snowballed – thanks to word of mouth and a shopfront full of bread enticing passers-by. So in 2021 they sold Love Rosie to keep up with the growing success. “We had the pastry sheeter right in the retail area; it was really crammed and you could see everything [happening in the kitchen],” Brent says. “It was a bit mad.”
Now, the bakery is spacious and features several points of difference that work unexpectedly well together. There’s a custom-made wood partition by local cabinet maker Ian Edelston from Seaform Kitchens, with geometric shapes almost like bread loaves. It separates the cafe from the kitchen.
There’s one wall clad with Meranti plywood (a hangover from Breadhead’s original space) and a jet-black Victoria Arduino coffee machine. The bulbous white hanging light shades are from Auckland antique haven Vitrine, sourced from the Czech Republic.
Through all the changes, Kate still manages their team and much of the business admin. She’s “the glue that holds it all together,” while Brent is dedicated to Breadhead’s foundations: bread and pastries. “Cooking isn’t rocket science … but what you put into it you get back,” he says. So, as much as he can, that’s where his focus remains.
On Saturdays, it’s a 3am start to prepare between 500 and 600 pastries – classic pain au chocolat, croissants, morning buns, cruffins, galette, almond bear claws, and danishes with fillings of apricot and cream cheese custard.
That’s on top of the 350 loaves, including the crowd-favourite country sourdough – but try the miso tahini sourdough for something different. Then there are the sandwiches with simple yet generous fillings, such as roasted vegetables with blue cheese between slices of doughy-soft ciabatta.
The team isn’t afraid to experiment. Their latest creation is a potato and bechamel danish. The potato is boiled whole, its inner then pressed tight into a pan, drizzled with oil and baked, rosti-like, before being cut and placed inside a danish with lashings of cheese bechamel sauce.
Brent uses ingredients like Milmore Downs biodynamic and organic wholemeal, rye and spelt flours where he can, and selects all the fruit they use from local markets. As for their sourdough starter, it’s fed three times a day and rarely leaves Brent’s side, like a pet. “The thing with starters is they’re only as good as you are to them,” he says.
2A Saint John Street, Tauranga
(07) 281 1061
Mon to Fri 7am–3pm