The year-old shop is the local synagogue's bread supplier.
By Will Grunewald | Photographed by Derek Bissonnette
Challah, the airy braided bread, is a staple of Jewish families’ Sabbath and holiday spreads. Around Maine, it can be tough to find, but a lot easier for Bath’s Beth Israel congregants ever since Centre Street Bakery opened down the road last year. Co-owners Aaron Park (also chef-owner of Brunswick’s Henry and Marty Restaurant) and Tori Timko, plus head baker Rachel Langmaid, started selling challah on Fridays. After a few months, though, the pandemic hit, curtailing operations. Park, a Bath city councilor, had gotten to know Beth Israel’s Rabbi Lisa Vinikoor after she gave an invocation at a council meeting, and the two struck up an arrangement: every other week, the synagogue would send over a bulk order for challah, and the bakery would drop off the loaves. Eventually, Centre Street managed to settle into a new normal, with both curbside pickup and pay-at-the-door window shopping, and congregants were back to stopping by every Friday. Of course, gentiles are welcome to challah too, and if there’s a loaf to spare, Park might use it for egg-and-cheese sandwiches Saturday morning. Also, Langmaid, says, “It makes the best French toast.”
City councilor and Centre Street co-owner Aaron Park heard for years that his fellow Bath residents wanted a proper bakery in town. In addition to challah, he and his team make more than a dozen breads, from sourdoughs to focaccias, plus sweets and prepared foods. 29 Centre St. 207-389-4547. centrestreetbakery.com