Mark is crazy about griddle baking!

Family and friends told Mark Douglas that he was crazy to give up a steady job to start his own business. But the Dromore baker was determined to push ahead with his plan to bring traditional griddle baking to markets and other events around the country. And Krazibaker was born.
Over the past two years he’s been successfully raising awareness of the taste benefits of traditional griddle baking of soda and potato bread as well his potato apple, which earned him a Great Taste Award last year, at farmers’ markets here.

A baker by trade over 30 years, Mark Douglas is now part of an enthusiastic group of talented artisan foodies to be found at markets across the province.
He’d like to bring his expertise to the successful St George’s Food Market, also in Belfast, but sadly there’s no room there for newcomers, which is a shame because the market would benefit greatly from his expertise and his free and easy exchanges with customers keen to know how he bakes traditional breads the way their grandmothers did. He’s even been recruited by Tourism Ireland to demonstrate his skills to a selected group of VIPs and food writers in London.

Krazibaker specialises in “anything that can be baked freshly on a griddle” The breads are all baked with local ingredients such as Neill’s Flour, Drayne’s Farm buttermilk and Armagh apples. None of them need yeast or preservatives. There’s little point in adding preservatives because all the breads he bakes sell as quickly as he lifts them from the hot griddle on his market stall.

“I served my apprenticeship as a baker and subsequently sharpened my skills and knowledge working at several local home bakeries including Moira Bakery,” he says. While Northern Ireland, unlike Great Britain, has managed to preserve a heritage in home bakeries, I noticed that griddle baking at farmers’ has been declining steadily. The days when traditional breads like potato cakes and soda farls were regularly baked in many homes have long gone. It’s a skill that appears to be dying, and that’s sad because griddle breads are tastier. This led me to attempt to do something to keep the technique alive.

“What also encouraged me to set up my own artisan business was my experiences visiting markets around Europe. I saw that most sold artisan breads brought into the markets from bakeries elsewhere. It seemed to me that baking on site might just appeal to shoppers now more concerned than ever about how the food they consume is produced. I decided to give it a go at local markets. And it’s worked.”