Haxby Bakehouse and Delicatessen has been supplying traditional artisan bread and pastries to retail and wholesale customers in Haxby and beyond since 2008.
Tina runs the shop and Phil’s the one who’s up all night covered in flour as he and his amazing team prepare each day’s freshly-baked loaves.
Phil always loved cooking and baking but the recipients of his bread were his family and, if he was feeling generous or needed a favour, colleagues at York’s Virgin Megastore. Then daughter Eve’s primary school gave pupils a £1 investment challenge to encourage them to think like entrepreneurs.
Eve commissioned Phil to bake some bread for her, which she then sold to friends’ parents. By then end of the project she’d made a tidy profit – and people who’d bought the bread were clamouring for more.
Around that time, Phil had too much red wine one Sunday night and, boosted by the ecstatic reception his bread had received, he and Tina promised themselves that within a year they would open their own bakery.
Phil took a bread course with baker and food writer Andrew Whitley, a leading authority on organic baking, but is mostly self-taught. That said, he badgers bakers he admires for tips and is always keen to learn.
One thing Phil was clear about from the beginning was that he was going to bake the traditional way, using slow fermentation and no artificial flour improvers, preservatives or emulsifiers. He was aiming to sell his bread at farmers’ markets but then a former health food shop with ovens in the back became available at Ryedale Court, Haxby, in 2008 – and he and Tina took the plunge.
The advantage of starting small and steadily building his reputation and profile is that Phil’s had plenty of time to experiment with different bread and ingredients. His wonderful customers gave him feedback, suggestions – and bartered ingredients from their allotments to inspire some of the many breads still found on the Haxby Bakehouse shelves.
Acclaim started flooding in… in 2013 Haxby Bakehouse’s Yorkshire Mill loaf, made from 100% Yorkshire flour without any additives, saw off fierce countrywide competition to win the Real Bread Award at the Tiptree World Bread Awards. Phil (pictured) also earned a gold standard award in the World Bread category for his pain au levain, a French-style sourdough loaf. In 2014 the Bakehouse was Food Producer of the Year in the Yorkshire Life Food and Drink Awards.
More recognition followed, from admirers including Tommy Banks, chef-owner at The Michelin-starred Black Swan, Oldstead, and Roots, York, who praised Phil’s “amazing bread and pastries, and savoury things too.” Tommy recommended Haxby Bakehouse for a ‘best food you can buy for a fiver’ feature in The Guardian, and confessed that when he picked up Haxby Bread and other Bakehouse products to serve to his diners, “I eat a whole focaccia on the way home.”
Profiles in the Yorkshire Post and York Press have also praised Phil’s dedication to his craft and made him an unofficial spokesman for the region’s traditional artisan bread and pastry producers. Haxby Bread is now stocked in the area’s best cafes, restaurants and shops and is in demand by top catering companies.
Tina and assistant Zoey run the delicatessen and are the backbone of the business. The deli side has also taken off and stocks the best meat products and charcuterie, cheeses and fish, store cupboard supplies and foodie gifts from Yorkshire and beyond. As well as the range of fantastic bread, they also sell focaccia and morning pastries, plus gorgeous cakes, tarts and brownies made on the premises each day.
In 2020, Haxby Bakehouse moved its main baking operation to premises on nearby Clifton Moor, with more ovens to allow Phil and his team to meet the increasing demand. The surroundings may be a bit posher, but they remain committed to the Bakehouse’s founding principles of making no compromise in their quest to bake the finest traditional artisan loaves using seasonal ingredients and natural, organic flour with no preservatives, improvers or emulsifiers.
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