BEEHIVE baker Stacie Stewart rose to the occasion to open Beamish’s latest attraction.
The gastronomic guru, from Roker, was on hand to cut the ribbon at Joseph Herron’s Bakery, a new £500,000 shop in the County Durham museum’s Edwardian town.
The building was moved to Beamish in the early 80s, but had stood empty until construction work began on the bakery, opposite the Masonic lodge, in 2011.
Stacie was among the first people to try baked treats rustled up by the museum’s period food team, including empire biscuits, Chelsea buns and ginger bread.
“I think what they’ve done here is fantastic,” said Stacie, who rose to culinary fame after stints on Food Glorious Food, This Morning and Masterchef.
The 31-year-old, who is in the middle of writing her second book about baking, said: “The research they’ve done is so thorough, even the utensils they are using are what would have been used at the turn of the last century.
“There are demonstrations too, which is a great way of getting kids interested in baking. Even if one kid goes home and wants to have a go at making empire biscuits, that’s a way of keeping the heritage of baking alive.”
The bakery was opened after visitors who took part in a survey identified it as one of the attractions they would like to see open.
Nine new attractions are due to open at Beamish in the next four years, including a 1950s town and farm where visitors will get the chance to stay overnight.
Director Richard Evans, said: “It’s great to see a building that has stood derelict for 25 years have new life breathed into it.
“We already had a lot of these utensils in our collections, but hadn’t had the chance to use them.
“We have a dough kneader, which looks like something from Wallace and Gromit’s The Wrong Trousers, which was donated to us in 1973 and now we are able to see it working in all its glory.”
The downstairs of the building, which was moved from Annfield Plain in County Durham, is a bakery shop and demonstration area, while the upstairs will sell pies.
“The bakery is the culmination of four years of research and building work.
“When we first started research we wanted to make stotties, but the truth got in the way of our plans.
“We found out that people would have made their everyday bread, such as stotties, at home. They would go to the bakery for fancier bread, such as bread with a plait, if someone was coming over for tea.
“We do make stotties in the pit village though,” said Richard.
He added: “We make bread at the bakery and soon we want to make sure that all bread used here, such as in sandwiches, is made on site. We already make our own honey.
“It’s all part of the Made At Beamish idea we’re developing.”