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Sunday, 20 April 2014

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Broughton bakers rise to challenge of national TV competition

TWELVE months ago Shaun and Chrissi Bryant’s only baking experience was a few loaves of bread in their spare time.

Now, having taken over the mantle at Broughton Village Bakery in October 2011, they are set to star in ITV1’s Britain’s Best Bakery series.

Competing in the Lake District region category, the bakery will go up against 35 other contenders from across the country for the ‘best bakery’ crown.

Mrs Bryant said: “We got a phone call in June to say we’d been nominated to be on the show. They did a phone interview with us and couldn’t quite believe that we’d only been baking for about six months, and that we’d never done anything like it before.”

Relocating to Broughton from Kendal, the former prison officer and school worker turned their hand to running the village bakery and adjoining restaurant after a chance phone call.

Having bought produce from the bakery’s previous owners, the couple were surprised to be offered the chance to take over the reins.

Mrs Bryant said: “One day we got a phone call from them out of the blue, saying they wanted to move back to Australia and asked if we would be interested in buying the bakery.”

From their beginnings baking a few items at home, they now bake up to 60 loaves a day, 100 bread rolls and as many as 300 cakes.

After they made it on to the shortlist for the TV series, the production crew returned in the summer to film a series of challenges at the Princess Street bakery.

As well as their signature cinnamon and raisin scrolls, the Bryants also had to bake a mystery cake from scratch, in a bid to wow the judging panel – the results of which can be seen when the programme airs in December.

While averaging 16-hour days, and the inevitable challenges of starting out in business, the Bryants and their staff had the added pressure of accommodating a film crew.

Mrs Bryant said: “It was hard work and extra pressure as it was our first summer in charge of the business. Sometimes we would be filmed from the early hours of one morning until the early hours of the next day.”

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