Local life - Food for Thought Bakery, Haslington

Food For Thought Bakery and the Bakery Cafe; Georgina Griffiths, Judy McNeill and Jennifer Slicher

Food For Thought Bakery and the Bakery Cafe; Georgina Griffiths, Judy McNeill and Jennifer Slicher - Credit: Archant

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Judy McNeill has been baking up a storm in Haslington since the year 2000, impressing locals with her bread, cakes and pies.

But like the name of her shop suggests she has also been giving her customers food for thought as all her baking is additive-free.

‘We basically went back to our roots,’ says Judy.

‘All our bread, rolls, cakes and sausage rolls are made on the premises. We use no enzymes or improvers, just basic raw, top class ingredients. We also use locally sourced ingredients wherever possible.’

All bread made at Food for Thought is hand-made in a truly artisan way, which means it takes longer, although a high tech piece of equipment called a retarder prover ensures that they don’t have to bake throughout the night.

The machine, basically, holds the dough at zero degrees then over six hours brings it up to the temperature it needs to start rising again, ready for the ovens when they start baking at 5.30am.

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‘Because we do it the proper way everything takes time,’ says Judy.

‘For example if we run out of bread, it takes us two-three hours to make a new batch. You really have to know what you’re doing.’

Judy decided to go back to basics 18 years ago after realising that quite often, things didn’t taste as good as they should and, in fact, didn’t make her feel very healthy.

Of course, the artisan bread business is now booming but 18 years ago that was not the case.

‘We’re old hat now,’ she laughs.

‘The main thing is that it tastes great. I think people had forgotten what real bread is.’

Customers can also pop into their bakery cafe next door which sells bread and cakes as well as serving drinks and breakfasts.

‘Having customers come in saying nice things about us makes our job really enjoyable,’ adds Judy. u