Bakeries we love in honour of GBBO
Bake Off is back on TV so time to drag out the food mixer. Can’t be bothered? No, quite right. Here are some brilliant bakeries instead.
Would it be weird to admit that every June, I turn to my husband and say something along the lines of, “Oooooh, only three months until Bake Off starts!” Probably. But there, I’ve just done it. GBBO is – by far – my favourite show on TV and the televisual equivalent of an open fire and hearty bowl of stew on a freezing February day. It warms the cockles, so it does. Anyway, I don’t know about you but now it’s back on the box, I’ve got a hankering for pastries and cakes with ‘a good crumb’. Here’s Muddy’s pick of the best bakeries in Berkshire.
Gail’s Bakery, Wokingham and Windsor
Gail’s Bakery is something of a London religion. Gail Mejia kicked off her artisan bread adventure baking for top chefs and restaurants. In 2005 she opened the first Gail’s in Hampstead, and we now have two in Berks – Wokingham and a newcomer in Windsor. Artisan loaves, pastries and cakes are made daily and the cafés give you a little bit of the Big Smoke in Berks. If you haven’t tasted the famous cinnamon buns, then you must. Just don’t blame me when the scales scream stop.
Birch Bread, Pangbourne
Lucie Steel started her artisan bakery in a shipping container in her garden. How cool is that? Artisan loaves were flying out and she was running bread-making classes too. Now Birch Bread has moved out of the shipping container and can be found on Pangbourne High Street. It is a lovely bakery selling freshly made bread, pastries and cakes. For Covid-safety they are currently running a hatch service through their window. Judging by the queue snaking down the pavement, people will do whatever it takes to get their mitts on Lucie’s sourdough loaf.
Make like the Bisto kid and follow your nose to the fresh goodies at Bakedd – you’ll find it in the new Chapel Arches development of Maidenhead at the bottom of the high street. An artisan bakery and café, Bakedd has a Mediterranean vibe selling the delicious fresh breads, pastries, cakes, awesome coffee and, er, wine. It’s a great spot for a light lunch or cake stop. Don’t just take our word for it, the late, great Michel Roux raved about it too.
Blue Orchid Bakery, Wokingham
Mary Berry would be proud. Blue Orchid Bakery in Wokingham is cake utopia. Owner Elena Jenkins started her bespoke cake biz at home in 2011, then two years’ ago, opened her café and cake studio in Wokingham’s Peach Place. The locals have been gathering like bears to honey ever since. The cakes are amazing, they do a lovely afternoon tea and with a seriously impressive number of outside tables, it has brought continental café culture to town.
Cuppies N Cream, Hartley Wintney
Commando crawl a smidge over the border to Hartley Wintney and you’ll find Wokingham’s Natalie Dickinson and her brand new café and bakery, Cuppies N Cream. Natalie is a self-taught genius with a creative eye. So expect great coffee, too tempting to share cakes and a decor so Instagrammable, you’ll never want to leave.