Country Style Foods plans to double capacity for artisanal breads at its Grimsby factory after investing in a giant new stone bake oven that can produce up to 4,000 loaves per hour.

Due to be commissioned in July, the 250sq m travelling oven has been adapted by Country Style engineers with the addition of 10 tonnes of granite slabs. These will automatically transport loaves, such as ciabatta, sourdough and pain de campagne, through the oven while providing the constant bottom heat that is necessary for long-fermentation breads.

The company, which supplies major multiples and foodservice customers, currently bakes artisanal breads on three stone-bottomed deck ovens, but demand has threatened to outstrip capacity in recent months.

"The popularity of artisanal breads has increased by so much over the past few years that we wanted to develop a way to increase output and improve efficiency, while staying true to the artisanal baking process at the same time," said Country Style founder Tony Wood.

The company has bakeries in Leeds, Grimsby, Peterlee and Flint, and employs over 1,200 people.