Do you know your bread? From Penzance to John O’Groats there are a host of speciality breads and baked goods available from your local craft baker. Some have their origins locally while others are linked to ancient traditions and cultures. Here is a taster of some of our favourites – they all look and taste different but each need the skill and care of a craft baker to make.

Regional and Speciality Bread

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Bakewell Pudding and Bakewell Tart:
Originating from the market town of Bakewell in the Peak District National Park in the 1820’s, the Bakewell Pudding is a dessert consisting of a flaky pastry base with a layer of sieved jam, covered with an egg and almond paste. In contrast, the Bakewell Tart consists of a short crust pastry, spread with a layer of jam and an almond filling.

Bara Brith:
Literally meaning ‘mottled bread’ from the Welsh language, Bara Brith can be made in the form of bread – with yeast – or a fruitcake, with self-rising flour. Traditionally, raisins and other dried fruit are added.

Barmbrack:
An Irish, yeasted bread made up of a sweet dough with added sultanas and raisins. The name ‘Barm Brack’ is believed to originate from the Irish word ‘bairin’ – a loaf – and ‘breac’ – speckled.

Challah:
Traditional Jewish egg bread, made also with flour, yeast, water and sugar. The dough is rolled into braid-shaped pieces and brushed with egg wash before baking, to add a golden colour.

Chelsea Buns:
Produced since the eighteenth century, and originally from South-East England, the Chelsea Bun is based on a ferment of milk, sugar, yeast and flour. Chelsea Buns are sweet, lightly spiced with dried fruit, traditionally spiral-shaped, golden-brown on top and pale cream at the sides.

Cornish Saffron Buns:
Originally from Cornwall, Cornish Saffron Buns consist of a deep, golden-yellow crust, speckled with fruit. The flavour is lightly sweet and subtle, and the buns are traditionally eaten with clotted cream.

Custard Tart:
Originating from East Anglia in medieval times, the Custard Tart is a round tart with sloping sides and crimped edges. Yellow in colour, speckled with brown, they are rich, eggy and sweet, and spiced with nutmeg.

English Muffin:
First invented by a British immigrant to New York, Samuel Bath Thomas in 1894, the English Muffin is soft, flat and round – made from a soft dough containing warmed flour, water, yeast, salt and small quantities of sugar and butter. Their colour is a pale gold on top and white on the sides, with small holes on top.

Grasmere Gingerbread:
From the small town of Grasmere in the English Lake District, Grasmere Gingerbread is a thin, rich-brown gingerbread with a sweet and spicy flavour, and a chewy texture.

Irish Soda Bread:
Irish Soda Bread is bread which incorporates baking soda as a leavening agent, instead of yeast, and is specifically made from soft wheat flour and also traditionally with buttermilk.
Kentish Huffkins:
Traditionally from Kent, the Kentish Huffkin is a flat, wide bread roll, characterised by the indentation in the centre of the roll made by the baker’s thumb.

Lardy Cake:
From the South of England, Lardy Cakes are often rectangular or round, based on lard. They are a deep gold colour, sticky and shiny, speckled with dried fruit, flaky, sweet and chewy.

Mothering Cake:
In England, during the 1600’s, a day was commemorated to honour mothers, called Mothering Sunday. A special cake was then prepared – the Mothering Cake – a fruit cake containing two layers of almond paste, and made with 11 balls of marzipan icing on top, representing eleven of the apostles.

Pikelets:
Pikelets are a regional South Welsh variation of the crumpet, whose name derives from the Welsh – meaning “pitchy bread”. It is usually thinner than a crumpet, made with yeast batter and loosely cooked on a griddle.

Oatcakes
Oatcakes originally from the North of Scotland, were developed in the seventeenth century, and are made with various cuts of ground oatmeal, salt, a little dripping and water to mix. These are commonly thin and crispy.

Scottish Shortbread:
The story of shortbread begins with the medieval “biscuit bread”. Any leftover dough from bread making was dried out in a low oven until it hardened into a type of rusk: the word “biscuit” means “twice cooked”. Gradually the yeast in the bread was replaced by butter, and biscuit bread developed into shortbread.

Staffordshire Oatcakes:
Staffordshire Oatcakes go back to the late eighteenth century. These are of a circular shape, pale brown, speckled and smooth on the underside, and full of small holes on top. Their flavour is slightly sour and very oaty.

Spelt Bread:
Spelt bread is made from a primitive form of wheat – spelt – which adds a deliciously rich nutty flavour to the bread. One of its benefits is that it offers a wider range of nutrients compared to other forms of wheat.

Stottie Cake:
Produced in the North-East of England, Stottie bread is a flat and round loaf, with a heavy texture, and with an indent in the middle done by the baker.

Welsh Cakes:
Welsh Cakes were traditionally baked on a bakestone, now iron griddles are used. Welsh Cakes are small and circular; dried fruits and currants are added, and they may also include spices such as cinnamon.

Yorkshire Teacakes:
The Yorkshire teacake is a light, round, sweet bun made with yeast, containing dried fruit and often currants. These are usually toasted and buttered, and served with tea.