Rebecca Bishop, founder of celebrated Suffolk and Norfolk chain Two Magpies Bakery, has launched her much-anticipated cookbook. Rebecca started writing the Two Magpies Bakery cookbook about seven years ago, but pulled it together over an intensive six-month period after securing a publisher.

'Basically it was all in my head because my hands were in the dough,' she says. 'I think in my head it was a book, but once we were in lockdown I thought, "Right. I’m really going to get this over the line."' The book shows readers how to make breads, pastries and pizzas, and includes recipes for celebrations cakes, bakes, bars and savoury dishes. Among the sought-after recipes are Two Magpies’ Adnams Broadside bread pudding, and lemon shortbread slice.

Great British Life: Two Magpies Bakery founder Rebecca BishopTwo Magpies Bakery founder Rebecca Bishop (Image: India Hobson)

More than simply a cookbook, it is also about Rebecca's love affair with her adopted Suffolk home. She lives in a village close to Southwold, but when she arrived ten years ago, she knew no one. 'I absolutely love it. I moved here as a business decision,' she says. 'I think it’s beautiful and unspoilt and one of the best-kept secrets.' So the book is part-recipe book, part-autobiographical, charting the early days of the business. 'In October 2021 I got a publishing deal and they gave me a really short deadline, and all I had was a pile of papers and not a book - but I made a book in six months.' A two-week intensive photo-shoot with photographer India Hobson followed. 'It was a lot of fun,' she says.

The Two Magpies business started as one bakery outlet in Southwold in 2013 offering the founder's distinctive high quality baked produce. The idea from the start was to use the best ingredients to create very high quality products, explains Rebecca. 'We make all our products by hand. That puff pastry for that sausage roll is made by a person rather than a machine.' It was an instant hit and went on to become a distinctive café-cum-bakery chain, with shops launched in Aldeburgh, Darsham, Woodbridge, Norwich, Blakeney, Holt and Beccles. Among its many admirers is broadcaster and Suffolk resident Emma Freud, who described Two Magpies as 'the greatest thing to happen to Suffolk this decade' and 'the only shop I would happily queue in'.

Great British Life: Where it all started, Two Magpies bakery in Southwold.Where it all started, Two Magpies bakery in Southwold. (Image: Two Magpies)

Following a restructure, Rebecca is no longer involved in the day-to-day running of the bakery chain, focusing instead on teaching bakery and developing her new brand, The Next Loaf. She's not from a traditional baking background, but baked part-time while working as an art teacher in Hertfordshire. She developed a deep love of baking and completed a bread baking course at the School of Artisan Food in Nottingham. Enthused and inspired she set up her own business, choosing Southwold as the location because it was the kind of town where she felt she could succeed.

The book contains 80 recipes interspersed with stories about the bakery’s beginnings. Rebecca was always more interested in the teaching and creative side rather than the business end of the operation, she says. 'To be honest, that’s never been me. I haven’t really got an appetite for running a big business, but what I love is sharing the knowledge.' Bakers, she believes, have a natural willingness to pass on knowledge.

Great British Life: Honey, fig and sesame Danish pastries from the Two Magpies Bakery cookbook by Rebecca Bishop. Honey, fig and sesame Danish pastries from the Two Magpies Bakery cookbook by Rebecca Bishop. (Image: India Hobson)

'There’s a huge sharing between bakers - I think because everyone realises it’s quite a tough job. In my experience bakers have always shared with me and I’ve shared with them. It all boils down to love, I think.'

Two Magpies Bakery - stories and recipes from East Anglia is published by Headline Books. Visit for details.

Great British Life: The Two Magpies Bakery cookbook by Rebecca Bishop. The Two Magpies Bakery cookbook by Rebecca Bishop.