Peter Cook's Bread

Award-winning bread made with just four ingredients – organic flour, water, yeast (mostly wild) and sea salt. Flavour is developed naturally, with each loaf made slowly by hand over two-three days. This long fermentation provides you with a hearty, nutritious loaf that is easy to digest. Peter Cook's bread and pastries can be found on the shelves of delicatessens, farm shops and butchers across Herefordshire and Worcestershire, including from Broad Bean in Ludlow

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Behind the Scenes Chat with Peter Cook on the Occasion of Winning for the Second Year Winning

Congratulations Peter on winning the Slow Food Best Baker UK Award!

Yes, thank you – what a time it’s been. Our business has changed so much in the last two years. When the first lockdown came, and many of the shops, restaurants and cafes we supply were then closed, we quickly put a home delivery service in place. We’re still doing this, having honed it and honed it. And we’re also using couriers now, so anyone anywhere in the UK can get bread from us. It’s great to see the same people are still ordering from us  and that we’re also getting new people coming along.

What we’re finding now is that we are getting a huge amount of new enquiries and it’s increased since the New Year. I think when people were  making their own bread at home during lockdown – it gave them a taste of what bread could be. Now with people’s tastebuds awakened, cafes and restaurants are having to work harder, they’re looking at their menus and how they can entice people back.

We’re still doing breadmaking workshops once a month. There’s nothing like seeing and touching the dough being made into delicious loaves. It seems to me a lot of people are looking to make a change in their diets and lifestyles.

We’ve had a big increase in sales over this period. The business had to grow and and we had to look at how the management of systems had to change alongside of that. Things that you could get by with when we were smaller, had to be properly sorted. It’s also important that, with that growth, we keep the consistency in the quality of the bread we produce.  We’ve taken on more staff and now have 36 full and part-time in the same premises, which we just manage more efficiently. My wife, Mavis, is now part of the business and it is a huge step forward to have someone to trust alongside..

So, what did winning the Slow Food Award mean to you?

I’ve been involved with Slow Food since its early days – it’s always been part of ethos of our business. Winning the Award, for the second year running now, brings the satisfaction and affirmation that we are doing it right!

We are always developing what we do. Before Xmas we introduced a couple of new loaves to our range – testing them by sending out some tasters for feedback. One is a Bara Brith loaf, which has proved popular and another has been created in conjunction with Willy’s Apple Cider Vinegar. It’s a new balsamic apple cider which we’ve incorporated by soaking the raisins in the vinegar with grated apple. We call it the Kuschty Rye loaf.

Something else we’ve been working on is changing the systems on our website so that people can better see the full range of breads we produce and hopefully try something different.

We’re going to be holding some Meet the Baker sessions for our wholesale customers – inviting them to tastings and explaining the process to help them buy into it more.

Slow Food has meant a lot to us over the last 20 years - being able to stick a Slow Food sticker on the window. I think more and more people are looking much more closely at their food, where it comes from and how it’s produced.

And before we go – we working on the launch of another loaf – a white sourdough made from bio diverse population wheat that we hope will have a bolder sourdough taste.

Well I must go – BBC Radio Hereford have rung and want me to respond to Raymond Blanc’s statement that people should ditch the white pan loaf for proper sourdough bread for their sandwiches!!