Shrewsbury artisan bakery Bread And Loaf is celebrating a silver gong for one of its most popular loaves in the prestigious World Bread Awards.
The bakery, based in Castle Gates, won a silver award for its speciality ‘Shropshire Whey’ loaf, awarded in the Great British White category of the competition.
The unique loaf is baked using whey from celebrated Shropshire cheesemakers Appleby’s, based at Marchamley, near Whitchurch.
It was the very first time the bakery, which only launched in October 2014, has entered a competition.
The Tiptree World Bread Awards this year attracted more than 1,100 entries. Among the judging panel were professional bakers, chefs, foodies and a few Great British Bake Off finalists.
“We had to send loaves by courier off to Westminster Cathedral Hall, in London, where the judging was taking place,” said baker Martin Priddy.
“The award definitely came as a surprise because it was the first competition we’d entered. We didn’t go into it with any expectations because we’d seen the calibre of previous entrants. To get an award just shows how far we’ve come in only the three years that we’ve been open.”
The Shropshire Whey impressed judges with its fine crumb and thin crust. Its tightness of crumb makes it an ideal sandwich loaf and it also makes the “perfect toast”, turning golden with a light crispy crunchy texture.
“The Shropshire Whey is unique to us, our own creation. No-one else makes it,” said fellow baker Kate Warwick.
“So to have one of our most popular loaves recognised by the artisan bread world is wonderful for us and our customers who enjoy it.”
Before donning their bakers’ aprons Kate, who had been a life-long home baker, was a full-time dentist running her own busy dental practice in Shrewsbury and Martin had worked in marketing. But their lives changed when Kate took an artisan bread-making course with baking guru Tom Baker, of Loaf, in Birmingham, and became hooked.
When a former micro bakery closed its doors and came up for sale three years ago, they seized the opportunity to become professional bakers. Kate still loves dentistry and works as a dentist three days a week for another dental practice, but Thursdays to Saturdays she is a baker stretching and moulding dough.
Bread And Loaf uses organic flour from Shipton Mill, Gloucestershire, and specialises in long-ferment and sourdough breads, all made using traditional methods and natural ingredients, as well as cakes and pastries.