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Stir Bakery in Cambridge named one of British Baker’s ‘Baker’s Dozen’

Stir Bakery, an independent artisan bakery with a number of branches in and around Cambridge, has been named as one of the top artisan bakeries in the UK.

British Baker’s The Artisan Collective event named its ‘Baker’s Dozen’ on Tuesday, 30 January, at The Compound in Birmingham – and Stir came in at number 10.

Sandor Bagameri of Stir Bakery (centre) with the award and some of the team with, far right, co-founder Matt Harrison. Picture: Keith Heppell
Sandor Bagameri of Stir Bakery (centre) with the award and some of the team with, far right, co-founder Matt Harrison. Picture: Keith Heppell

The business, which was launched in 2017, relocated to a new state-of-the-art premises near Cambridge North station in 2022 – a project overseen by Baker of the Year finalist Sandor Bagameri.

Matt Harrison, co-founder of the bakery with his wife Judith, said: “We’re absolutely delighted; there are literally thousands of artisan bakeries across the UK.

“It’s a massive number, not all of us are very big, but to make it into the Baker’s Dozen is great, and we were ranked 10th so it’s very exciting.”

What makes Stir Bakery worthy of its inclusion? “If you look at who made the top 13, they’re generally people who produce incredible products, who use artisan production methods, so basically it’s where you’re using quite traditional methods and you are actually making things by hand,” explains Matt, who is originally from the North West.

“So there’s that, but – and I think this is really important – it’s the judging of the bakery as a whole rather than the skills of just the bakers, so I think one of the reasons why we are now beginning to be recognised is that we combine the quality of the products with the ability to produce those products at scale.”

Stir has its production site at its premises near Cambridge North, along with full-service cafés in Chesterton and Histon.

“Then we also have three shops,” notes Matt, “one of which is in Chesterton, next door to the café, and then we have a shop in Fulbourn and we have a shop in Green Street in the city centre of Cambridge – so one production facility and five outlets.”

Matt reveals that there are plans afoot to open more branches. “We’ve got live conversations at the moment on one or two more sites this year – possibly as many as three but certainly one or two more sites. So we definitely want to continue to expand.”

The business has been the recipient of various other awards, including a gold medal for its brioche bun at the 2022 World Bread Awards, while its farmhouse loaf was also a winner at Britain’s Best Loaf in 2023.

Sandor Bagameri was also named one of the Top Three Bakers in the UK at the Bakery Industry Awards in 2023.

“That’s like the Oscars of the bakery industry,” said Matt, “and that’s not just artisan bakers, that is Warburtons and Hovis and Tesco’s own bakery and Aldi and Marks and Spencer’s – the whole lot. So to be one of the top three bakers in the UK in those awards is amazing.”

He adds: “The role that great independents who understand their craft can play in Cambridge, I think shouldn’t be underestimated.

“So very proud, love this award, and I’m very proud of Sandor and the team. But it’s the fact that actually the Cambridge public get to benefit from and enjoy our products, that’s what gives Sandor and I most pleasure, not winning the awards.

“It’s seeing the buzz on social media for the tube croissants he’s just launched, people showing us how they’re using their sourdough at home... that kind of stuff we absolutely love.”

For more on Stir Bakery, visit stircambridge.co.uk/the-baker. To see the full ‘Baker’s Dozen’ list, go to bit.ly/3w1usCC.

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