Friends Alison and Sonja met in the mid 1990s, and November, 2003, they opened a bakery. First called One Fifty Ate, now Scratch Bakery, it is located in South Portland at the old Getty Station. It’s a place you just can’t help but love.
Outside, a girl and a dog—Scratch, the bakery’s now-namesake—are the first signs of a welcoming establishment. You walk in and the presence of freshly-baked bread is evident in both the smell and the view: an entire wall is devoted to baked-that-day bagels and loaves of bread.
The bagel dough is made with the Scratch sourdough starter, named Lulu, then fermented overnight. The bakers start at 3am, hand-cutting the dough and rolling, boiling, and baking the circular beauties nine dozen at a time.
On the other side of the shop, a gentlemen takes your order for sandwiches. We get a Muffaletta with house-made capicola that’s generously seasoned and deliciously tender, cooked salami, a slice of both Swiss and provolone, and an olive salad with crunchy giardiniera. The olive oil from the salad drips into the thick bread (also made in house with Lulu).
The turkey sandwich also is delicious, and just the right size for the house roll. A ton of turkey and fresh greens, caramelized onions, and jalapeño mayo come together for a classic with a twist.
While waiting for our sandwiches, we perused the rest of the Scratch goods, which are plentiful. Mac ‘n’ cheese caught our eye, crafted by another gentleman who helped us check out. We took it home; and after 25 minutes in the oven, it was ready to be devoured. The rich, creamy mix of provolone, white cheddar, and mozzarella complemented garlic, onion, white wine, and Scratch sourdough. We also got the chicken salad, with red onion, dried apricot, and sunflower seeds.
Finally, to round out the feast: a brownie about three inches thick and a huge Crackled Apple Spice cookie. The former is borderline doughy, a moist intense chocolate-y flavor with melty bits of chocolate. The latter is chewy on the outside and almost melty in the center: It tastes like the best molasses cookie you’ve had, plus nutmeg and bits of dried apple.
Scratch is the place everyone returns to for their weekly loaves and picnics at Fort Williams park.