Nothing quite beats the smell of freshly-baked bread straight out of the oven.
And Manchester’s hippest neighbourhood, Ancoats, is blessed with three of the best artisan bakeries in the region creating the freshest breads and pastries to tickle those tastebuds.
And conveniently for loaf-lovers, all three are within an easy walk of each other.
So allow us to take you on a carb-crawl of the fabulous bakers of Ancoats…
Companio Bakery is the incredible achievement of one man who bakes all of the artisan sourdough, wholewheat and seeded loaves at his Ancoats bakery entirely on his own.
Russell Goodwin set up his business on Radium Street four years ago as Manchester’s first community-supported bakery. He raised funds from local residents in the form of a loan that would be repaid to them in fresh-made bread!
Since then Russell has grown his reputation for personal service and incredible artisan produce – baking an impressive 120 loaves on Tuesdays and Thursdays, the days the bakery opens. After a full day at his bakery, he cycles through the cobbled streets of Ancoats to Manchester’s Victoria train station where commuters can snap up his wares.
Russell says: “I have focussed on being a small bakery which means I keep the quality high and I can keep the prices down. The temptation is to get bigger, and yes people would like me to be open more, but then the quality might drop and I’m just not willing to compromise on that.”
Companio Bakery, 35 Radium Street, Ancoats, Manchester, M4 6AD
Home of the legendary cruffin (that’s a croissant/muffin hybrid for the uninitiated) and almost as legendary queues – Pollen Bakery is one of Ancoats’ hidden gems in one of the district’s most idyllic locations.
Bankers turned bakers Chris Kelly and Hannah Calvert have had huge word-of-mouth success with Pollen ever since they first started the business in an old railway arch close to Piccadilly two years ago.
They’re now based next to the tranquil waterside of New Islington Marina, where the crowds now flock and are often seen patiently queuing out of the door – particularly on Saturdays, the one day of the week you can get your hand on that oh-so-popular cruffin confection.
Mind you, all of their hand-baked pastries are usually sold out by lunchtime so you need to get there EARLY to be assured of the selection you like.
There’s also a daily changing menu of mouthwatering cakes and, at lunchtime, fresh soups and home-made sandwiches made with that moreish sourdough.
The bakery has a cool, Scandi-chic cafe area with plenty of seating so you can chow down on your pastry with one of their special blend coffees or organic juices.
What can you buy?
The signature 28-hour sourdough and the Pollen rye (£3.70) are among the big hits (£3.70).
There are daily changing cakes – think sour cherry crumble cake (£3) and salted caramel and cocoa nib brownies (£3).
There’s a breakfast menu including Welsh rarebit (£7) and hot smoked salmon with poached eggs (£9), while sandwiches at lunchtime include fillings like brie and piccalilli or smoked tofu with sesame crunchy vegetables (£5).
On Saturdays, everyone wants a cruffin but don’t get your hopes up. You’ll need to get there early. I’ve still not got my hands on one despite a year of trying!
When is it open?
Pollen Bakery opens Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays 8am to 4pm; and on Saturdays and Sundays 10am to 4pm.
Bakery, Cottonfield Wharf, 8 New Union Street, Ancoats, M4 6FQ
Trove became the newest addition to Ancoats’ artisan bakery scene when it opened at the end of last year – but it has been an established name in the bread business since first setting up in Levenshulme back in 2011.
Created by husband and wife team Katy and Marcus Saide, and now nurturing a full team of artisan talents, their aim is to make everything from scratch. Still rightly known for their breads, which they supply to restaurants across the north west and which you can pick up at the Trove cafe on Murray Street.
There’s also a rather fabulous counter packed with pastry creations and pretty-as-a-picture dainty cakes.
You can sit inside the serene cafe or take away your goodies.
What can you buy?
Their signature loaves include a classic sourdough (£3.50), rye and fennel (£3.50) and home-baked bagels.
A range of daily changing cakes and pastries on the counter, like rhubarb and custard kites (£2.50), whoopie pie (£2.50) and lemon tart (£3). You can also see how Trove’s vegan sausage roll (£3) measures up to that infamous Greggs version!
When is it open?
Trove opens Monday to Friday 8am to 6pm, Saturdays 9am to 6pm and Sundays 9am to 4pm.
Trove, 5 Murray Street, Ancoats, M4 6HS