Britain's Best Loaf 2024 winner  2100x1400

Source: British Baker

And the winner is… the Garlic and Rosemary Deep Pan Focaccia by 4 Eyes Bakery

Britain’s Best Loaf 2024 has been named as a Garlic & Rosemary Deep Pan Focaccia.

Created by 4 Eyes Bakery in Chesterfield, the focaccia took the top honour ahead of over 180 other loaves, a record number for the competition which was marking its eleventh edition this year. These were entered into eight different categories – White, Wholegrain, Plain Sourdough, Flavoured Sourdough, Innovation, International, Gluten Free, and newly introduced Seeded Sourdough.

Britain’s Best Loaf 2024 was sponsored by ADM Milling, Bako Group, Brook Food & Bakery Equipment, and Lesaffre UK & Ireland, and formed part of the Food & Drink Shows at the NEC Birmingham on Tuesday 30 April.

Tom Martin, head baker at 4 Eyes Bakery, was on the verge of tears upon receiving the trophy, telling British Baker he was “utterly proud and privileged to go up against so many talented guys” at the competition. “To walk away with the trophy… I’m just absolutely speechless,” he added.


Source: British Baker

Tom Martin, head baker at 4 Eyes Bakery, holds Britain’s Best Loaf 2024 trophies for overall champion and International category winner

The focaccia is comprised of a mix of Wildfarmed T65 and Manitoba flours, with fresh rosemary and extra virgin olive oil and a topping of Maldon sea salt. Its alluring appearance had drawn the attention of judges since it was first laid out in the morning, and it didn’t fail to live up to expectations once cut open and sampled, offering a light and airy open structure and supremely well balanced flavours and aroma.

The focaccia edged its rivals in a highly competitive International category, before going on to be crowned the overall winner.

“It’s clear the baker has worked hard on this,” said one judge, with other noting that the well baked crust did not feature any burnt rosemary. “Fantastic”, “incredible flavour”, and “keeps making me come back for more” were some of the other comments lauded on the product.

The judging panel consisted of: Alex Gooch, founder and baker of Alex Gooch Artisan Bakery; Amy North, editor at British Baker; Andrew Layte, technical sales manager at Lesaffre UK and Ireland; Claire Powell, technical baker at Bako; Clare Barton, owner & head baker of Bakehouse 124; Dan Riley, deputy editor of British Baker; Gareth Edwards, head of sales for craft and speciality at ADM; Lee Smith, owner of Poppyseed Bakery; Louise West, training advisor for NFDT; Lucas Fussnegger, director of Fussnegger Ltd; Naomi Spaven, head baker at Wylde Bakery; Neil Woods, bakery consultant; Sara Autton, bakery consultant; Sarah Thornber, artisan baker at Corner Cottage Bakery; Simon Lawton-Hayes, technical sales manager at Brook Food & Bakery Equipment; Tim Goodwin, founder, The Street Bakeshop; and William Leet, bakery development technician at David Wood Baking.

British Baker editor Amy North heaped praise on the champion bread makers. “We received our biggest ever number of entries ever this year, and with incredible quality on display it is by no means an exaggeration to say that competition was fierce,” she said.

“I would like to thank the sponsors and all the judges for not only making Britain’s Best Loaf 2024 possible, but also making it a triumph. The spectacular breads we saw were a real testament to the skill, commitment, and imagination of bakers across the UK.”

Here are the winning and highly commended loaves from the seven categories (more information and photos to follow):

Beetroot Multiseed Sourdough, Seasons Bakery  2100x1400

Source: British Baker

Flavoured Sourdough

Winner: Beetroot Multiseed Sourdough, Seasons Bakery

Described by Seasons Bakery as a real multiseed sourdough with a great taste of beetroot and toasted beetroot chunks. “The technical skill of the baker was evident,” expressed the judges, who noted the loaf’s nice crust, open waxy texture, and the even distribution of beetroot which hadn’t bled its colour into the crumb of the loaf.

Highly commended: Dark Chocolate Malt with Mediterranean Orange Sourdough, Lovingly Artisan


Cinnamon Raisin Bread, Sage Bakery  2100x1400

Source: British Baker

Gluten Free

Winner: Cinnamon Raisin Bread, Sage Bakery

Described as a “delicious little loaf” filled with organic raisins and a delicate middle layer of organic Ceylon cinnamon and organic coconut sugar. Its humble appearance took the judges by surprise, as they stated: “you wouldn’t know it’s gluten free”. They also praised the sweetness added by the coconut sugar and the plump raisins dotted throughout.

Highly Commended: Gift Gluten Free Bread, Hobbs House Bakery


Kuschty Rye, Peter Cooks Bread  2100x1400

Source: British Baker


Winner: Kuschty Rye, Peter Cooks Bread

This loaf came about after collaboration with another Herefordshire food business, Willys Apple Cider Vinegar, which was launching its Organic Live Balsamic Vinegar. Having been impressed with the flavour, Peter Cooks Bread decided to take its 100% rye sourdough loaf and add raisins soaked in the balsamic vinegar and local Herefordshire apples to the dough. The result is a semi-sweet wholegrain loaf that pairs well with mature strong cheeses, as well as simply eaten by itself. “It worked perfectly,” commented the judges.

Highly commended: Wild Garlic & Double Gloucester Ciabatta, Daylesford Organic


Garlic & Rosemary Deep Pan Focaccia, 4 Eyes Bakery  2100x1400

Source: British Baker


Winner: Garlic & Rosemary Deep Pan Focaccia, 4 Eyes Bakery

This Italian-inspired loaf also took home the ultimate title of Britain’s Best Loaf 2024. The deep pan garlic & rosemary focaccia packs a punch. The super soft and airy texture was a hit with the judges who described it as “joyous to eat”. They also highlighted the loaf’s good looks, noting that it really stood out in the category.

Highly commended: Soda Bread, Joe’s Bakery


Oxford Country Loaf, Imma The Bakery  2100x1400

Source: British Baker

Plain Sourdough

Winner: Oxford Country Loaf, Imma The Bakery

The Oxford Country Loaf combines a perfect mix of white, wholemeal, and different kinds of rye for a ‘simple yet profound flavour’. The judges noted the use of limited ingredients in the category (flour, salt, and water) meaning “it all falls down to skill”. This was proven by the loaf’s open structure, good waxy texture, and taste as evidenced by the “well shaped and well handled dough”.

Highly commended: Sourdough, The Bear Bakery


Uncle Tom Cobbler N’all, Your Davey Bread  2100x1400

Source: British Baker

Seeded sourdough

Winner: Uncle Tom Cobbler N’all, Your Davey Bread

This unusually named sourdough loaf is made from a blend of malted, white and Wildfarmed wholemeal flours with a semolina and poppy seed crust. The shape and bake of the loaf impressed the judges, who commented “everything was spot on”. One even said it was “probably one of the best loaves I’ve ever eaten”.

Highly commended: Seven Seed Sourdough, Daylesford Organic


Pugliese, Joe’s Bakery  2100x1400

Source: British Baker


Winner: Pugliese, Joe’s Bakery

Joe’s Bakery triumphed in the White category having produced the winning and highly commended loaf. Its Pugliese is a crusty white bread made with a two-stage fermentation process for great flavour and crust – both of which were praised by the judges. “You can’t ask for much more in a white loaf,” they said.

Highly commended: Farmhouse, Joe’s Bakery


Wholemeal Loaf with Bran Crust, Seasons Bakery  2100x1400

Source: British Baker


Winner: Wholemeal Loaf with Bran Crust, Seasons Bakery

A second win for Seasons Bakery with its wholemeal loaf which is made from wholemeal flour, water, bran, yeast, and salt. This attractive loaf won over the judges, who said: “This is the epitome of a wholegrain loaf,” adding that “it’s nice to see a traditional product made and to such a high quality”.

Highly commended: Wholemeal Tin, Joe’s Bakery