Batch Pastries Is the New Montclair Baking

Emily Buysse keeps the menu at Batch Pastries much like that originated by its predecessor, Montclair Baking, but adds more treats and a new espresso machine to enhance a gathering-spot vibe.


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Luscious croissants and other pastries star at Batch.

Photo by Lori Eanes

When dawn’s first glimmerings prod Montclair awake, locals and loyals start pondering fruit-studded scones. Earthy bread pudding. Glossy hot-cross buns. Feather-light macarons. And tender, flaky, sunshine-golden croissants.

When Emily Buysse bought Montclair Baking from former owner Cheryl Lew in May and renamed it Batch Pastries, she was determined to maintain all of those elements that the shop’s regulars adored. A new paint job, sure. More coffee drinks. And some new treats—such as a sassy updated Oreo whose chewy chocolate wafers sandwich elegantly white-velvety creaminess: It’s made, as is everything else here, with natural, local, seasonal ingredients.

“I kept the majority of Cheryl’s menu intact, because I want everyone to feel comfortable. I didn’t come in here wanting to shock anyone.

“The people who come here come here for very specific reasons,” explained Buysse, a Michigan native whose passion for cooking began at age 10.

Because “Midwestern winters aren’t any fun,” she decamped to Berkeley six years ago. “I had visited it once during college and fell in love with it,” she attested. “It’s my home now. I couldn’t leave.”

After graduating from San Francisco’s prestigious Tante Marie’s Kitchen Cooking School, Buysse launched Batch Pastries as a wholesale outfit and hoped to expand it when she heard that the Montclair shop was up for sale.

Lew, who opened Montclair Baking in 1990 and has demonstrated her expertise on national TV, is a tenured instructor who teaches cake decoration at Laney College.

Running the bakery “is a team effort,” Buysse asserted. “I couldn’t do any of this without Cheryl, the people who work here, and the community that loves this place.”

A new espresso machine is transforming the bakery into more of a gathering place.

Most popular, now as ever, are morning items, including those lustrous croissants, and a world-class range of customizable wedding and other themed cakes. Buysse is also a big cookie fan.

“My favorite item here changes daily. Sometimes it’s our ginger snaps. Sometimes it’s our peanut butter/M&Ms/oatmeal monster cookies. When any given day begins, I never know.”

Batch Pastries, 2220 Mountain Blvd., Suite 140, Oakland, 510-985-4104, www.BatchPastries.com.

 

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