See inside the new Sunderland bakery that's providing bread for some of the region's top restaurants and delis

A new small batch bakery, which already provides loaves for some of the region’s most well-respected restaurants and delis, has opened its doors on Sunderland riverside.

Bread& has recently started baking its range of sourdoughs and baked goods at its new premises at North East BIC in Hylton Riverside.

It already kneads loaves for established North East restaurants, such as Träkol and Backyard Bike Shop in Gateshead, Bridge Tavern in Newcastle and The Urban Kitchen in Pallion, and the bakers hope the new larger premises will help them expand their offering and forge links with other hospitality venues.

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The business is operated by East Durham family Steve Welch, wife Jennifer and son Rory and all have decades of experience between them.

The new Bread& Bakery at North East BIC

Rory is head chef at Träkol at By The River Brew in Gateshead, regarded as one of the North East’s best restaurants which has won praise from the likes of critic Jay Rayner.

The chef’s passion for food was sparked by dad Steve, who is also a chef, and it’s seen Rory win awards such as Young Chef of the Year and North East Chef of the Year, working in the kitchens at restaurants such as 21, The Broad Chare and The Bridge Tavern.

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Speaking about how he got into the food and drink industry, he said: “When I was young I had a milk round, then I started washing pots at Wynyard Hall where was my dad was chef at the time. At school I didn’t know what I wanted to do, but I enjoyed the kitchen craic and it went from there.”

In recent years, there’s been a rise in demand for artisan breads, particularly for sourdough.

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Bread & small batch bakery opens at the BIC Sunderland. Father and son owners Rory and Steve Welch.

"People have a lot more interest in where their food has come from than they once did,” explained Rory. “You can hear people discussing their food at the table, it really brings people together.”

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Steve has been providing the bread for Träkol for some time, where it’s built up its own fan base. He’d been using a converted out house at his home to keep the ovens, but the unit at North East BIC has given them the space to invest in more equipment.

It marks a new chapter for the well-established executive chef, who has headed up kitchens across the region, including Wynyard Hall, Sunderland AFC, Newcastle United and Newcastle Falcons.

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Steve has always worked as a chef, but found a particular passion for the baking side of the profession and set up a small scale bakery within Newcastle United, instead of buying in loaves, which proved successful during his time there.

Some of the Bread& sourdoughs
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"It’s something I’ve always been interested in and I went on a couple of courses to learn about sourdoughs and how to make your own blends. It’s a bit like being a chemist because you can try different blends and see what works,” he explained.

The Bread& sourdoughs, which can make up to 48hours to make, come in a number of varieties including plain white, seeded and five seed, with seasonal options also available.

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Other baked goods made on the premises include cake truffles, chocolate and marshmallow cookies, chocolate tarts, pastries, frangipane and more.

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Bread & small batch bakery opens at the BIC Sunderland. Steve Welch final baking process.

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The bakery also makes sweet treats such as chocolate tarts
Rory Welch checking the breads