200-year-old family bakery still enjoying sweet smell of success

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Proud baker Steve Jose outside his shop in Brockenhurst

A BROCKENHURST bakery with a history going back 200 years has won the title Best Baker in Hampshire.

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The Bakehouse is still run by the family who established it over two centuries ago when its bread was delivered by horse and cart.

Master Baker Steve Jose (60) now runs the small shop in the centre of the village which is always packed with loyal regulars and holidaymakers delighted to find a traditional proper bakers.

Originally called Jose and Sons, Steve’s family of bakers goes back five generations. He started working in the family business at the age of 10 and 50 years on he still enjoys every minute of his hard but satisfying job.

Steve as a little boy in a bread delivery van

He said he was “absolutely thrilled” at winning the award from British Baker magazine saying: “It’s for everyone at the bakery, we are a great team and this is for all of them”.

Steve was presented with his award at a ceremony held in London on Tuesday night which he attended with his wife Lee. The Bakehouse faced stiff competition in the Best Baker category.

He explained: “Every bakers and supermarket in the county with a bakery could enter. I really thought one of the big guys with deep pockets would win, so when we did I was over the moon.

“It is such a massive accolade and really means so much. It is a great honour, just brilliant.”

The original bakery in Neacroft in 1910

The Bakehouse used to have a shop opposite the A&T before moving to Brockenhurst. Steve revealed: “We used to use the newspaper’s forklift truck to lift pallets off delivery vans. They were the only people who had one in New Milton”.

Steve still uses recipes going back generations for his bread. His white loaves are made using a sour dough starter which has been matured for 30 hours. The bread is then baked in an authentic stone oven for a traditional taste.

In 1967 the bakery opened in Station Road, New Milton, opposite the A&T’s offices

The shop also offers baguettes with fillings sourced using the village butcher’s and fruit and veg store.

Pasties and sausage rolls are freshly made every day with beef and free range pork which also comes from the village butchers.

Cakes are also baked every morning while doughnuts are made from a slow 18 hour method using only natural flavours.

The Bakehouse is still very much a family business with Steve’s children having worked in the business and his son and brother-in-law are currently part of the baking team.

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