The newest addition to downtown Albany is a cute little bakery called Fifth Tier Baking Studio. You may have heard of this place a few years ago, but then assumed it fell through when nothing ever materialized. Actually, the owner has had a pretty rough go of it since announcing the new venture in 2014 – he was hit by a car shortly before a planned opening, and was also recently the victim of a hate crime/theft incident. So it took a couple years before he was finally able to open the bakery, but I have been eagerly waiting for my chance to support the place (and also try some delicious baked goods, of course). You may have also read about the business as part of the All Over Albany 2015 StartUp Grant competition.
The bakery is tucked into a little shop on Columbia Street in Downtown Albany, just off of Pearl Street. It’s a small place with just a display counter, some festive decorations, and a shelf with a few containers of coffee – no place to sit down, unfortunately. The design is geared more for a quick take-out visit or for stopping by to pick up a larger, pre-ordered assortment of baked goods. Daily specials rotate and are posted on the bakery’s Facebook page. On my visit, they had a few different scone offerings (ham, cheddar, and green onion; peppermint bark; and a chocolate almond variety), a few types of cookies (including chocolate chip and gingerbread), and cinnamon buns.
I debated not telling you about these scones, because part of me would like to keep it a secret and just go back there and eat all of them every day. But ok, fine, the public service aspect of the blog must go on. Part of the joy was that the savory scone I tried (ham, cheddar, and green onion) was still warm and fresh from the oven, but I think it would have been delicious at any point in the day. The dough was remarkably soft and moist, rather than the dried out and dusty scones that you find at fast food coffee and breakfast places. It was crunchy in all of the right places, and the seasoning with the cheddar cheese added a perfect amount of salty flair. Little bits of chewy ham were a nice touch of texture mixed in with it all. Let’s just say that this scone disappeared really quickly as soon as I left the bakery.
I also tried one of the small sprinkled beauties, which I believe are ginette style cookies. They were light and crumbly with a nice jolt of anise flavor and mild sweet undertones. I usually can’t resist anything with lots of sprinkles, so these checked the box of being both very pretty and very delicious.
There wasn’t a huge variety of baked goods on display during my visit, but I’m totally fine with small batches of well executed, scrumptious choices. It’s probably hard for a small bakery, especially one that’s just getting started, to turn over enough orders for it to make sense to have a really expansive menu each day. So check the specials in the morning to get an idea of what’s for sale (or to wait impatiently for the cheddar scones to be offered again).
Best of luck to this new business! I’m a firm believer that an area can’t have too many baked goods and dessert options. I look forward to putting that to the test on a pretty regular basis.