A baker’s dozen – 13 of the best
When I first came to Cambridge over 20 years ago, there was a tiny selection of bakeries selling a rather uninspired selection of breads, namely white, brown & granary, and mainly from chains. There were not too many independent bakers. Of the list below, only Barkers and Newnham bakeries, as well as the famous Fitzbillies, have any great heritage in the city. All three now compete strongly with this welcome band of gate crashers.
The rise of the sourdough
Bread, like so many other things has succumbed to changing trends. With the emphasis on health and taste, as well as our better understanding of widespread intolerance to gluten, sourdough is undoubtedly a popular option in Cambridge. Its slow fermentation makes it easy to digest and offers a distinct aroma and taste. The selection of breads in the city is now deliciously varied.
The bakeries here are selected for their range of breads rather than cakes. Thereby giving me a great excuse for another tasty blog! Like so many independent businesses in Cambridge, successful partnerships are common. And consequently a number of our wonderful independent cafes and restaurants provide important outlets for much of this baked produce.
Our favourite 13 independent bakers in Cambridge
So whether living or visiting Cambridge you are now offered a host of freshly and locally baked bread. And if you can’t get to a bakery; it can always be delivered to you on a bike.
- Norfolk Street Bakery – So good they had to have two. Now on Station Road as well as Norfolk Street, they undoubtedly serve some the best Portuguese custard tarts in the region, but their artisan breads are heavenly.
Best sellers: sourdoughs and white rustic.
- Stir Bakery – Only opened one year ago they are embedded in the Chesterton community and already they supply several local establishments such as Stem + Glory, Hot Numbers and Novi.
Best sellers: sourdough specialists with the best seller a white and whole meal mix, also seasonal, rye, gluten free and vegan breads.
- Maison Clement – beautiful French bakery on Hills Road with fabulous variety of breads, tarts and pastries.
Best sellers: sourdoughs, rye and seeded loaves.
- Zio Mario – high-quality independent artisan bakery and coffee shop next to the station that brings the healthy, affordable and authentic Ligurian street food tradition to Cambridge. Think Italian facaccia and farinata.
- Cambridge Cookery School – offers wonderful classes for budding chefs and as a treat on a Saturday morning when it opens at 9am you can buy a small selection of delicious freshly baked breads.
Best sellers: Swedish rye, sourdough and focaccia.
- Daily Bread – a great source of organic, vegetarian and vegan products in Kings Hedges, also sells fresh bread daily, sourced from Cobs Bakery (recently bought by Fitzbillies) and Dovecote.
Best sellers: sourdoughs, spelt, traditional and continental breads.
- Bread on a Bike – Alison bakes sourdough bread in her home kitchen using a domestic oven; fresh bread is available for individual customers on Thursdays and Fridays.
- Urban Larder – a friendly deli and coffee shop on Mill Road that now sells fresh white sourdough – sourced from Jigsaw Bakery in Linton – on Tuesdays, Wednesday and Fridays with plans to sell on a Thursday soon. Available from 11am onwards – but hurry as they sell out quickly.
- Fitzbillies – one of our old timers, dating from 1920 and famed for its Chelsea buns. It bought Cobs Bakery, saving it from closure in June 2018. Now they get lots of lovely loaves, baguettes and ciabattas to sell and use.
Best sellers: fresh classic English bread and wonderful soft white baps which they use to make their bacon rolls.
- Barkers Bakery – with four branches in the area (Histon, Cottenham, Fenstanston & Chesterton) that sell a wide range of more traditional breads, but to appeal to all their customers they offer sourdough on special request.
Best sellers: fresh bacon rolls and their famous granary loaf.
- Newnham Bakery is family-run bakery and café in the heart of Newnham. They may be 150 years old, but their wide range of completely organic breads bread is as fresh as ever. An important part of the community, they are regular contributors to the local school sourcing delicious breads for events. Their new website is under construction.
Best sellers: sourdoughs especially the Swedish seeded and the multi-seed (locally know as Red Bull); their baguettes are firm favorites.
- Brown Bread – founded in 2007, this family run business uses traditional bread making skills and techniques to bake fresh bread. They have been selling bread in Cambridge Market every day except Tuesdays and Thursdays for nearly five years. You can also order bread online if you want to avoid the wasps that are also eager customers.
Best sellers: sourdough, rye and ciabatta.
- The Earth’s Crust has been trading in Cambridge Market since 2005. Whatever the weather they bring a wide selection of artisan breads, sold to you in the beautiful surroundings overlooking the colleges.
Best Sellers: Pain Al’Ancienne sourdough and their 1000 seed loaf (only an estimate!)
Dawn Giesler, is the founder of Scuseme Cambridge, a recommendation website that helps your family run smoothly. She has lived in Cambridge for over 20 years and offers advise based on her own experiences. For more information please visit: scuseme