The great British bakery feels like it’s been ingrained in our culture for centuries. In truth, the ancient trade only took on the UK popularity of today in relatively recent history.
Now, with famous tv shows, national chains, home hobbyists and local artisans, baking is an omnipresent English delight. York has its own fair share of excellent bakeries in the city and suburbs, so we took a bite out of a few favourites…
From a one-off market stall to four bakeries, Bluebird has risen like its loaves since starting out a decade ago. Al and Nicky Kippax first set up shop in Malton and soon followed with one in their home city of York, on Little Shambles. The love for their organic hand-shaped artisan bread grew, and they now also have a stall in Leeds and have just opened a second York shop in Acomb. As well as the many nutritious breads, there are delicious pastries and sweet treats too, all of which are made with passion and taste of success.
A standout attraction in the village of Haxby, this bakehouse is reason alone to visit. Phil Clayton took the plunge from a keen home baker to a mean pro baker in 2008 when he and wife Tina opened Haxby Bakehouse. Their loaves were loved as much by customers as they had been by friends and family, and they also gained much praise from within the industry. This led to their bread now being served in many York cafes and restaurants, and Haxby Bakehouse has also extended into other beautiful bakes and a fine delicatessen.
Brew and Brownie Bakeshop
Brew and Brownie is an attractive cafe opposite Museum Gardens which may make you double take. Because yes, there are two shops two doors down from each other, offering double delight! They’re both stylish places to enjoy a coffee and a bake, with much of the latter being expertly created in-house. There are morning breakfast savouries, and the sweet treats are delectable, including irresistible cakes, and of course brownies to go with that brew.
Cosgriff & Sons Sourdough
Sourdough has become an on-trend in-demand food of recent years. It comes with bizarre hipster connotations, when in truth we all just realised this ancient bread was damn nice. Thankfully for York, Cosgriff & Sons and baking beautifully crafted sourdough loaves for everybody to enjoy. Paul is an experienced chef who turned to baking and delivering bread during lockdown, which was such a success that he opened a shop on Fishergate towards the end of 2021. It’s friendly and inclusive, and the bakes are gradually expanding to include sweets such as sourdough choc chip cookies and doughnut bread and butter pudding; all equally delicious.
After learning his trade in Australia, Adam Humphrey began sharing his bread baking skills with York when he and his wife Lovraine opened Arras restaurant here. Since 2020, the bakery has stood alone and excels at Little Arras, where the bakes have developed into slow-fermented breads, pastries, cool cakes and nice slices. Their ethos is to only serve the stuff they themselves love, made with passion and filled with soul, and sure enough the locals and visitors of York love it too.
A lovely neighbourhood bakery for the local community, Flori started out in independent hub SPARK before opening a permanent shop on Walmgate in 2020. Owner Lotte takes influence for the social vibe and the locally sourced quality produce from her time living in Scandinavia and Lisbon, adapting them expertly for York. The results are hand made freshly baked pastries that range from the traditional to the innovative, and have folk queuing out the door of this cute store.
Thomas the Baker
The big baking success of the area is a family business which has grown into multiple North Yorkshire bakeries. Set up at a Helmsley site in 1979 and then a Malton shop in 1981, owners John and Val Thomas had the ambition to expand across the county, including six stores in York’s city and suburbs. The wide choice of sweet and savoury bakes means Thomas the Baker remains a popular favourite amongst the people of Yorkshire.
Images: Brew & Brownie, Bluebird Bakery, Haxby Bakehouse, Little Arras