Business is booming for West London bakery, October 26

The Easter chaos may have died down but artisan baker, Raluca Micu, is busier than ever in her Shepherd’s Bush kitchen.

When Our Patch recently caught up with Raluca at October 26, the former beauty salon, located on Askew Road, was coated top-to-bottom in a layer of flour, with the modest oven working overtime to produce the sour breads and baked confections that are earning her a loyal following in the area. Raluca, 34, is a former communications executive, who relocated to the UK from Bucharest with her husband seven years ago. October 26 opened its doors for the first time just over a year ago, with Raluca handing out free samples of her experimental bakes to passers-by.

This strategy earned her a loyal following among Askew Road foodies, including food critic Joscelyn Dimbleby and novelist Paul Bailey. Despite her background in marketing and communications, Raluca comes from a long line of Romanian family bakers, and her signature sour breads have become hugely popular, despite taking a little getting used to for her British clientele:

“I always bake dark… most proper artisan bakers bake dark, with a caramelised sugar dark crust for a better flavour. Customers are now getting used to that colour; they now know it’s not bitter. Only new customers and French customers come in now and say it’s too dark.”

Raluca has a dozen varieties of bread on offer, including oat porridge bread, West End white Sour, semolina sour loaf, and a rye and caraway seed sour. She’s also a dab hand at patisserie, with offerings such as citrus and brown butter madeleines and eclairs filled with rich chocolate ganache.

To read this article in full, check out the April issue of Our Patch by clicking here.