Lee Smith (left) discusses entries with fellow judge Clare Barton during Britain's Best Loaf 2023 at the NEC Birmingham.

Source: British Baker

Lee Smith (left) discusses entries with fellow judge Clare Barton during Britain’s Best Loaf 2023 at the NEC Birmingham

For bread makers believing they are a crust above the rest, Britain’s Best Loaf provides them the platform to prove it.

The latest edition of the annual event – sponsored by ADM Milling, Bako Group, Brook Food & Bakery Equipment and Lesaffre UK & Ireland – is set to take place on Tuesday 30 April at the NEC Birmingham.

Loaves crafted by bakers across the country will be judged in eight different categories including White, Wholegrain, Plain Sourdough, Flavoured Sourdough, Innovation, International, Gluten Free, and newly introduced Seeded Sourdough.

Category winners will then go into a final round of judging to decide the overall champion, which will be crowned Britain’s Best Loaf 2024.

Entries are currently open up until the deadline of Monday 18 March – check the criteria for each category and submit your entries via the dedicated website here.

Britain’s Best Loaf 2024: what are the judges looking for?

Making the call on which breads have brilliantly risen to this year’ challenge will be an esteemed panel of judges comprised of baking industry veterans and respected technical experts.

Here is an overview of the line-up for the 2024 competition:


New Project

Amy North, editor, British Baker

With more than a decade of experience as a journalist, including the past seven years at British Baker, Amy has a great appreciation of all bakery items – earning her the nickname the ‘Duchess of Doughnuts’. 



Andrew Layte

Andrew Layte, technical sales manager, Lesaffre UK and Ireland

Andrew has specialised in baking for the past 23 years, creating a diverse range of products for major retailers and the foodservice sector including award-winning fresh and frozen bakery items. 



Claire Powell

Claire Powell, technical baker, Bako

Totalling more than 30 years’ experience in the baking industry, Claire is currently responsible for developing new and innovative products for the Bako Select range as well as product quality testing, team support and training. 


Clare Barton

Clare Barton, owner & head baker, Bakehouse 124

Clare has seen her Tonbridge bakery go from strength to strength since opening in 2015. She holds an advanced diploma in baking from the School of Artisan Food and is one of the Real Bread Campaign Ambassadors.  


Dan Riley

Dan Riley, deputy editor, British Baker

Dan brings more than 15 years of professional writing experience to the British Baker editorial team, and has also helped enhance the digital content with his graphic design and video editing skills. 



Gareth Edwards

Gareth Edwards, head of sales for craft and speciality, ADM

Gareth joined ADM following work with artisan bakeries and retailers across the UK. His various sales roles have lead him to his currently responsibility for the bakery division, where he helps develop and bring new ideas to market.  


Lee Smith

Lee Smith, owner, Poppyseed Bakery

Winner of Britain’s Best Loaf an unparalleled four times, former Dorchester Hotel head baker Lee has grown his own bakery business in Bexhill-on-Sea, East Sussex to an estate of five shops plus a substantial wholesale operation.   


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Louise West, training advisor, NFDT

Master baker Louise has been in the industry for 37 years, including stints at Nottingham’s Maid Marion Bakery and running her own craft bakery business with her husband Trevor. She has been an advisor at the National Food & Drink Training since 2014.


Lucas Fussneggar

Lucas Fussneggar, director, Fussneggar Ltd

Raised in his family’s bakery in Germany, Lucas moved to the UK in 2015, where he helped create the Collection Sourdough for M&S and launched his own bakery consulting business. He currently serves as president of the ABST.  


Naomi Spaven

Naomi Spaven, head baker, Wylde Bakery

Through her baking blog @littlewelshfoodie, Naomi has garnered opportunities to collaborate with the Welsh Government, make television appearances, and host radio segments. She was a Rising Star Award finalist at the 2023 Baking Industry Awards.  


Neil Woods

Neil Woods, bakery consultant

Amassing no less than 57 years within the baking industry, Neil has been a long-standing member of the BCA, the BSB, and the CBA, and was honoured in 2021 with the Outstanding Contribution to the Baking Industry Award.  


Sara Autton

Sara Autton, bakery consultant

Sara recently retired from Lesaffre UK & Ireland after 25 years as technical manager, and was awarded both an Honorary Doctorate from London Southbank University and the Outstanding Contribution to the Baking Industry Award in 2023.  


Simon Lawton-Hayes

Simon Lawton-Hayes, technical sales manager, Brook Food & Bakery Equipment

With almost 30 years’ experience within the baking industry, Simon’s key experience in the ingredients, product development, and in-store bakery sectors affords him a great understanding in end user production requirements at various scales. 


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William Leet, bakery development technician, David Wood Baking

The 2021 Rising Star Award winner has also lifted the ABST President’s Cup twice, been a guest lecturer at his alma mater UCB, worked for renowned Bakeriet i Lom in Norway, and now focusses on development of Italian breads and sourdoughs.