The Scottish Bakehouse is a Martha’s Vineyard landmark, sitting on a couple of acres on State Road. It was started back in the ’60s by Isabella White, a Scottish immigrant who passed away in 1997. Today, Daniele Barrick is the owner, and she carries on.
There’s small farm out back that supplies the kitchen with a good amount of its food, like cucumbers, tomatoes, kale and herbs. She also sources locally from Island farms for meat, chicken, eggs and yogurt. It has always been a bakery and Barrick keeps the shelves lined with those legacies of bakers past.
“I’ve had a bunch of different bakers over the course the years of owning this place,” Barrick said, giving me a tour. “A lot of the cookies, when I see them in the case, I think of the person who brought them to me. So the oat cake was probably my original baker, and her name was Ellen.”
The legacy of course also includes Mrs. White.
“That’s the apple turnover,” Barrick said. “That’s the something from the Old Scottish Bakehouse. I still have all the recipe books and stuff. We still make the short bread, and the fruit and meat turnovers. People love turnovers. We do raspberry and apple…I don’t even know which one sells more. And we do linguica and sausage meat turnovers.”
Winter—the off-season—is the time for the bakers to keep their creative fires burning. They develop recipes, and if one works and sells, it becomes part of the succession, the lineage of baked goods. Barrick encourages innovation, as much as she wants to showcase the past. That’s how a baker named Alex concocted the Zapatista.
“We kind of just made it up, but it’s a spicy chili chocolate cookie,” Barrick explained. “It’s really fun. Again, that it was a winter project. We do a lot of recipe development over the winter because the bakers have time to play. “
Joanne, who was there for a few years beginning in 2005, is described as a traditionalist baker. She was exact and systematic.
“A lot of her recipes were from old church cookbooks that were put together on the Cape and on the Islands, because she’s from the Cape,” Barrick said. “And one was the hermit.”
The Hermit is an old New England recipe from the late 1800s.
“It’s a ginger molasses cookie,” Barrick said. “It’s got a very distinct flavor. We use black strap molasses which is very strong. She also made the lemon square, the congo bar…..some of those classical, I think, bakery items.”
Whether it’s a Hermit, a turnover, or Mrs. White’s shortbread, these recipes offer not just history but a sense of the world and of a place. It’s about the stories, and those bakers who get up at 3am.
“And then you watch the sunrise, and your day has started. You’ve accomplished beautiful things and made people feel good. I love that start to the day. It’s peaceful and calm. And, plus, I live across the street from the Kingsbury property, where the Good Farm animals are running around—chickens and roosters. I love it. It’s like quitessential Vineyard.”
And Mrs. White’s spirit does more than linger in the kitchen.
“Like Mrs. White would kind of be hanging out on the porch with me sometimes, you know?” Barrick said. “Because this is what she saw, because that has always been a farm across the street. She always opened early and opened that door. It’s kind of cool that it hasn’t changed since the ’60s. It’s a long time.”