Millers Flat Bakery

The Millers Flat Bakery. Opening Labour Weekend, Monday 28 October 11am.

For tours call Denis 027 203 6855

The Bakehouse was built in 1908 by Louis and Rosa Faigan  who also started the Faigan grocery business in Millers Flat, Faigans employed a baker and later sold the business to a Nataniel Campbell who owned it for many years. He then sold it onto a Mr Frank Vercoe who also had a Bakery in Roxburgh.  The Millers Falt Bakehouse was closed down when the Roxburgh Hydro works started and Mr Vercoe  did all the baking in Roxburgh after the instalment of new electric ovens.

Back in 1991 a group attended the annual meeting of the Faigan Store Trust and asked for permission to restore the old Bakehouse as it was an eye sore when you came over the bridge. It was finally agreed and a committee was formed lead by Mrs Betty Adams to make progress in the restoration.

Getting funds was the main priority and on Sunday Lunch time  a meal was provided with an international theme and a guest speaker provided  these were held monthly but the profits were low so another angle was taken. Local farmers were asked to fatten calves and when ready were sent to the freezing works and sold . The Bakehouse Committee bought the calves off a Stock agent and agreeable farmers raised them . This was very profitable and raised a lot of cash.  An approach to the C.O. Lakes Trust for funding was also undertaken but for some unknown reason we could not access these funds. Upon some inquiry we found we had to own the land the Bakehouse was on as it was still part of the Faigans Store Trust. The subdivision was done but left a small section for us.  After some lengthy delays we final had the title of the property in our name and funds could be allocated. Again more delays and this time after some backdoor detective work we found that our committee was too small so we had to  co-op  more committee members to the satisfaction of the Lakes Trust.  This was done  and funding was allocated, some $160,000. Delays again in getting a builder to start but it was consents for drainage and sewerage and since we only had a small section there was nowhere to go.  We asked if we could tap into the Faigan Store septic tank but as this building was under option for sale we could not   However the neighbour on the South side was retired and his section became too big to manage and offered half of it to the Bakehouse Trust at a reasonable price to which we bought. This also gave us underground power access and water supply and an area for a septic tank.  It was all go .  The builders started and a new quote had to be arranged and by this time the cost had gone up to$260,000 Again an approach to the Lakes Trust was made but because of the long delay in building our original grant had not been uplifted so we had to reapply for consent again.  This was much easier as everything was  in place. As part of the reconstruction and the funding criteria we had to keep the renovations within that time frame and that as much of the original material had to be reused in the work . Breen s Consruction who did the work have a department the reproduces copies of timbers to match the originals and this was a god send ,   Finally after  28 years  the Bakehouse will open Monday Labour Weekend 2019.

The oven is full restored and in fine working order,  there has been a couple of bake off of bread which came out well.    It took five days to heat the oven with wood and coal to get the bricks hot  so as to bake the bread off . As the day goes by the oven cools and baking is done to the heat of the oven  so product that requires a high heat is baked off first and product that requires less heat is baked at the end of the working day.    

It is not like electricity where you flick a switch and you have instant heat.    Should you have to fire up during the day you cannot bake because of the ash settling on baking products so planning your bake off is premium.

As we have been testing things out to make sure everything is in working order it is quite interesting to hear comments  from those who stick their head in the door and what their expectations are.     This is a period in time before electricity, no electric lights, no electric mixers, just candles and a fire . 


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