Bexhill Farm Kitchen has been named baker of Britain’s Best Loaf for the second year running at the Bakers’ & Butchers’ Fair 2014.
Owner of the East Sussex bakery Lee Smith took the prize at the event in Newark, Nottingham for his white sourdough loaf, having also won the top spot in three out of five categories.
The returning champion, having scooped the award last year for his cumin and chickpea sourdough loaf, also placed first in the Baguette and White categories, as well as the Sourdough.
“It feels great to win, although I am surprised,” Smith told British Baker. “It is a 24-hour process to make the white sourdough and it has been going since we opened the shop. You have to put a lot of effort into every loaf and hope it comes out right.
“I would recommend entering competitions like Britain’s Best Loaf because there used to be more around, but they have fallen by the wayside and they can be great for recognition.”
Following his 2013 win Smith received local press, which helped his business and is now looking to build a production unit to help the bakery keep up with demand.
Smith sells around 20 of the loaves each Saturday and shifts more through wholesale.
Carl Tubby from Fruitcakes won the Wholegrain category with a spelt and honey loaf while Daniel Nemeth from Season’s Cakes walked away with the top prize in the Innovation category with his sweet potato and chilli sour creation.
Martyn Leek, editor of British Baker, which organised the event, said: “We launched this competition in 2013 to find the country’s finest loaf of bread. The Baguette category was new for this year and we have been very impressed with the quality of entries. We have seen some fantastic loaves from up and down the country and I’d like to thank the judges, headed up by industry veteran Colin Lomax, for their time.”
Other competition winners announced at the fair include sister title, Meat Trade Journal’s National Pie Competition and Champion of Champions sausage competition. The winners were:
Pork Pie of the Year: Simon Haigh, Bolster Moor Farm Shop
Savoury Pie of the Year: Simon Haigh, Bolster Moor Farm Shop
Steak and Kidney Pie of the Year: Trevor Fairburn, Trevor Fairburn Butchers
Pasty of the Year: Robert Bowring, R Bowring Farmers & Butchers
Champion of Champions: Craig Finch, Craig Finch Butchers