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With the rise of mass-produced bread in the mid 20th century, many of the traditional, wholesome methods of bread baking fell by the wayside. Bread companies began to use fourteen or more ingredients in each loaf, and half of those are preservatives. Further, they only allowed their breads to ferment for a couple of hours, and this decreased the bread's flavour and nutritious qualities. Fortunately, you won't find any bread like that at Red Hill Bakery, an old-style bakery that has operated on the Mornington Peninsula for 13 years. "We make everything we sell on a daily basis," said baker, Ray Johns. "Breads, pies, pastries, and cakes every day."

With his wife, Jill, and daughter, Jess, Ray owns and operates two Red Hill Bakeries in Red Hill South and Balnarring. Ray and Jill share more than thirty years of experience in the hospitality, entertainment, and food industries, and they are committed to creating flavoursome baked goods rather than cutting corners.

Each morning, well before the sun rises, the bakers at the Red Hill Bakeries are busy at work. They make baguettes, ciabattas, sourdoughs, wine breads, and more, all using traditional methods. The dough ferments for eighteen hours, and only six ingredients are typically used (unless you count love, then there are seven!). The bakery uses a classic stone oven floor for baking, and by 7am, the bakery doors are open and customers are enjoying the day’s freshest treats.

Rather than specialising in just one thing, Red Hill Bakery has developed a following for an entire range of delicious edibles. Foremost, the baker produces its famous Fig and Walnut Wine Bread, which uses red wine yeast lees to add a richness and lightly fruity flavour. Additionally, its pies are wildly popular, with a selection including Beef and Burgundy, and Duck and Wine. None of Red Hill Bakery’s pies have trans fats, and they all utilise farm-fresh ingredients from local producers.

Red Hill Bakery makes a lot more, too. It serves sausage rolls, pastries and cakes, afternoon tea, and hearty meals for breakfast and lunch. It also offers a selection of take-home meals and is licensed to sell beer and wine. At the Red Hill South location, the café bustles with locals and visitors alike. In the mornings, the tables are filled with coffees, slices of quiche, frittatas, and more, and the staff is more than happy to serve you a pastry with a salad, if you’re looking for a more rounded meal. On Sundays, Red Hill offer a selection of woodfired pizzas, alternatively, you can order your baked goods for take away and head off to the beach.

At the Balnarring location, Red Hill Bakery adds a deli and provedore stocked with local fruit and vegetables to its repertoire. On the shelves, you’ll find such products as cheeses by Tarago River, honey by Maya Sunny Honey, smoked trout and salmon by Harris Smokehouse, and ice cream by Gundowring. Due to its proximity to the sea, Red Hill Bakery Balnarring also features a wider selection of seafood on its menus, such as fresh local fish and calamari, served with salad and shoestring chips.

The Johns family’s love of jazz has recently resulted in live jazz on Sundays at the Balnarring location. Of course, Ray, Jill, and Jess had to pair the jazz with something, and they serve wood-fired pizzas with all manner of toppings. For locals, visitors, and the Johns family, this is a great way to relax and celebrate the finer things in life. It has started a lot of people talking, too. “Word of mouth,” said Ray. “You cannot beat it!”


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