What should we know about Breadman Walking?
Like an alternate history insight into what might have been if our lockdown flirtations with baking had blossomed into something more,, Breadman Walking is a unique pearl in Dublin’s food scene - a home-based micro-bakery serving up so much more than bread.
What should we have?
Everything your greedy hands can carry. This is not some neighbour’s cutesy hobby worth throwing a few bob at - Gerry Godley’s bread is celestial, the product of deep study, long practice and - as his insightful Instagram will occasionally attest - some aggravating learning experiences. Great baking is bloody hard, and reaping such rich rewards from it a rare skill we’re lucky to see shared.
At the menu's heart are the loaves - mounds of cold-fermented sourdough lovingly coaxed into shape and baked to a beautiful brown crust. The finished products are as much a sight to behold as a flavour to savour, testament to innate skill carefully honed. The Country Boi is the most fundamental expression of the baker’s craft, but we opted for the malt loaf. Allowing the wheat to germinate before milling and baking gives it a rich, sweet, nutty, complex character we could not get enough of.
Do not leave without focaccia. Godley’s rich, chewy, glutenous dough is as good a take on the Italian classic as we’ve had in Dublin, and paired with chicken thigh, scallions, hot sauce and a Cashel Blue crema in the form of his Buffalo Gal it’s the most satisfying lunch we’ve had in some time.
Straddling the savoury/sweet divide is the baked Basque cheesecake, a tangy treat of creamy goodness. These individually wrapped parcels emerge burnt-topped from the oven, served with a spiced fruit sauce and crying out for a little sherry on the side.
A brioche tasting box is essential to sample the varied sweet treats on offer. The dough itself is superb - soft and sweet and airy enough to feel like you’re not over-indulging. The Cinna-man bun is simplicity incarnate, with subtle spicing and unrefined sugar; the chocolate babka a taste of luxury with ganache, streusel and cacao nibs; the Ottoman bun a tangy hit of sour cherry and pomegranate; and the gooseberry crumble a bracing blast of super-seasonal tartness.
Why should I go?
Seasonality, come to mention it, is one of the things that’s drawn our eye to Breadman Walking, now a regular feature in our roundups of the city’s best in-season offerings. Take that humble gooseberry, now in the height of its tantalisingly short season. When we mentioned we’ve struggled to track any down, he revealed he’d had the same problem and sourced them from customers, traded for bread and baked goods, then promptly produced a bag for us to take home - a cycle of primal barter and generosity that sums up the spirit of this suburban sparkler.
No more so than in the supernal frangipane tart we couldn’t but grab from the impulse-buy “centre aisle”, Godley treats these little fruits like he does his own skills at the counter - as a gift to be shared and passed on. Come for the bread and stay for the warm, fuzzy feeling of great food as a conduit to culture and community. This is the best of baking - and the best of Dublin too.
Rialto, Dublin 8 (address on ordering)