By Casey Neill
Melina Longhurst’s family has been baking since 1852.
Her Dandenong Market stall, Melina’s Bakery and Larder, still brings traditional family recipes to life.
“I think that’s what makes us stand out. Our basic technique hasn’t changed over the generations,” Melina said.
“You can’t change good technique.”
She set up in the market two years ago.
“Myself and my sister and my brothers, we are fifth generation bakers,” she said.
“It’s a really proud tradition that we have as a family.
“I feel really blessed to be in this with all my siblings.
“My sister’s kids are involved as well now.”
Melina’s brothers hand the bread, including sourdough, rye and best-seller ciabatta.
“Our rye bread has always been a staple line for us,” she said.
“Rye bread is one thing that our parents brought in.
“My sister and her family cover all the cake and the pastry side.”
That includes an award-winning vanilla slice and a New York-style cheesecake.
“I don’t even like cheesecake and I love that one,” Melina said.
“I’m just the proud seller of these wonderful products that my family happen to make.”
She also has a background in pastry.
“Everybody has different roles to play,” she said.
“My role is to bring their products to the people.”
Their mum, Elaine, makes jams and preserves using berries and fruits bought from Dandenong Market.
Pies, pastries, quiches, tarts and slices are also on the menu.
Melina’s brother Anthony co-owns the store in addition to his bread-baking duties.
“Dad said baking was like a life force,” he said.
“I want to see our generation take it on its next journey.
“You’re obliged to leave a legacy for the next generation. We’re trying to create something for the future.”
He said that in addition to the traditional breads, Melina’s Bakery and Larder has moved with the times.
They introduced brioche buns, for example, when they were the must-have for burger enthusiasts.
“We follow trends and try to provide as much quality product to as many people as we can,” Anthony said.
“We just develop with what’s happening around us, just try to be part of that community fabric.
“We’re very proud of what we have.”