A CUMBRIAN artisan bakery has scooped the top award in a prestigious competition.

Lovingly Artisan Bakery, based in Kendal has just scooped a major trophy in Britain’s Best Loaf competition.

This year saw the bakery’s Malted Barley Sourdough crowned top product in the Wholegrain category.

The Kendal and Altrincham based business took home the category trophy at the competition held at NEC Birmingham on April 25, home to the Farm Shop & Deli Show, after its bread was voted a winner by a panel of experts from across the UK baking industry.

130 loaves were entered into this year’s competition, which meant the judges had their work cut out as they carefully studied every loaf entered across six categories.

On the day, the judges put each loaf through its paces, scoring each entry on external appearance, internal structure, aroma and taste. Before reconvening to decide which of the six category winners was then to be crowned Britain’s Best Loaf. This rigorous process means that the winning loaves in each category are truly deserving of their ‘Britain’s best’ titles, and Lovingly Artisan’s winning sourdough is no exception.

Theirs is a true artisan-made loaf, crafted using brewers barley from Warminster Maltings and organic otter barley, which is sprouted on the malt room floor, lightly roasted, then crushed and cooked into a porridge. Which releases the malty flavours, the mix is then hand folded into white sourdough and baked in Aidan’s wood-fired oven, which gives it a beautiful texture and crust.

Unsurprisingly the judges were hugely impressed commenting: ‘’the rustic look and delicious flavour made the loaf a standout in the Wholegrain category.’’

Aidan Monks, owner of Lovingly Artisan Bakery, commented: ‘’Winning a Britain’s Best Loaf award is just brilliant. It’s an impartial industry stamp of excellence, which tells our customers that our bakery is one of the best around creating some truly special artisan breads.’’

Amy North, the editor of British Baker, explained: “Britain's love of bread is as strong as ever and with good reason. The last few years have been tough for everyone, but the UK's bakers have worked tirelessly for their communities throughout.

“This competition is about celebrating the skills and craftsmanship the nation's breadmakers have to offer. The competition was very strong this year, with plenty of innovation and excellence on display, so the judges had their work cut out.’’