CONTRARY to popular belief, you don’t have to have a sweet tooth to work in a bakery.

Especially at Somerset Bakehouse who now sell a range of sandwiches, wraps as well as freshly baked breads, and of course the usual cakes, pastries, donuts and so on.

Somerset Bakehouse started just before the 1960s when it began its life as a corn merchant in North Petherton. Gradually, the business started to create baked goods and by the 1970s it was a professional bakery.

We spoke to 24-year-old sales manager, Ella Barrett and 35-year-old baker Stephen Oparowski. Stephen recently won Trainee Champion of the Year 2020 thanks to the Craft Bakers Association and Somerset Bakehouse won Bakery Business of the Year.

Ella said: “I’ve worked for the business for about seven years now. I started as sales assistant at the market at junction 24 and now my role is to visit all the shops as sales manager. We have four shops that are all year round and one in Brean that is seasonal.

“I worked in schools before working here, and in between as well. As soon as I had finished school myself I went and worked at the market at junction 24. Now I am here full time.”

Stephen added: “I’ve been here three years in September and I am one of the bakers. I have always been in catering, I left school and became a chef straight away.”

Somerset Bakehouse now supply roughly 50 other business in Somerset with their food, from caterers to garden centres and even schools. They make anything from bread to donuts, and have a good range of pasties, sandwiches and wraps as food-to-go products. The bread and sweet treats are made in the main bakery, but the rolls, sandwiches and wraps are made fresh daily in each of the shops.

Using local produce is important to Somerset Bakehouse and so they source their meat for the pasties from Pynes, and the baking ingredients and fruit and veg from local suppliers too.

I met the pair in the Taunton Road shop in Bridgwater, just off the M5. This is Somerset Bakehouse’s newest building which opened last October.

It took 12 months to get the place ready from start to finish and now it looks just like a bakery – with baskets of goods as you walk in, a counter displaying the products on offer and tables and chairs for those wishing to enjoy some coffee and cake or a spot of lunch.

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“We like to keep things interesting at Somerset Bakehouse, with new cake lines, speciality breads and with our savoury’s we will look at what could be interesting to change or bring in a as a new product,” explained Ella.

“Our meringues are gluten free and if we look into the ingredients of each product, we will be able to tell someone if the products are vegan, gluten free and so on.

“My favourite baked good is probably anything savoury, especially the sausage, bean and cheese slice. And sweet wise, it is definitely the salted caramel brownie.”

Stephen added: “We are always adapting the food we make and making new products. We brought in fondant fancies this year and Easter is coming soon, so we’ll be making lots of Easter biscuits.

Somerset County Gazette:

“We love what we do and I think that is the key to our successful baking, I am really passionate about it and that makes me take more pride in it I guess. I love it, I’m even looking for more hours!

“I love the people I work with. I love making everything we do, I really believe in good quality baking and that is what we produce every day. My favourite sweet treat is the blackcurrant flapjack.”

Ella explained that working at Somerset Bakehouse is a labour-intensive process for the bakers. Some days products are being baked for 22-hours a day and sometimes 24-hours, with a day and night shift workers.

She added: “I don’t think bakeries can ever be replaced. People enjoy popping in and getting their traditional bakery products such as bread, especially the sourdough, as well as another variety of food-to-go as well.

“I love everything about Somerset Bakehouse, from the shop staff to the bakery staff and meeting the customers. I love visiting the other shops too.”

Somerset Bakehouse have shops in Brean, Bridgwater and Taunton. For more information visit