The days of scrabbling around in the supermarket for flour to make sourdough may seem like a strange Covid dream but the appetite for fresh, artisan bread and baked goods continues to boom. 

Newcastle's local high streets are a great place for a wander - from Chillingham Road and Heaton Road in, well Heaton, to West Gate Road in Fenham and Acorn Road in Jesmond - there are many reasons to visit Newcastle's neighbourhoods. Exploring can be hungry work! Let us introduce you to the thriving local and independent bakeries that pepper the high streets. As a testament to the tenacity and creativity of Newcastle's business owners, a handful of the most popular bakeries and cafes were set up during the lockdown which is no small feat. Each bakery has a commitment to the freshest products and provide a meeting point for their local communities; arguably becoming a haven during the lockdown when essential shops were some of the only places to find community. 

Whether you’re a local on the hunt for the crustiest sourdough or biggest stottie, or you’re on your holidays in Newcastle and Gateshead in need of a hearty picnic – why not call in and treat yourselves to the freshest of artisan bakes at these seven bakeries…

FAB Bakery, Fenham

FAB Bakery in Fenham is the passion of founder Shynara Bakisheva who believes that bread is the symbol of hospitality. Selling the freshest of brioche rolls, rye bread, pastries and of course, the obligatory sourdough loaf, FAB Bakery regularly has a long queue of loyal customers waiting to buy their day's bread and treats. The bakery located on Fenham Hall Drive first opened in April 2020 and was considered 'a beacon in the lockdown landscape' supplying local residents with the very best in homemade bread as well as supplying a friendly welcome during difficult times. If you're tempted to branch out from the more classic choice of sourdough, it pays to pop in regularly to FAB Bakery so you don't miss the range of more exotic creations which appear as 'specials' including fougasse (French foccacia-style bread), pastel del nata (Portuguese tarts) or pyrizhky (Ukrainian stuffed buns).

Open Wednesdays to Saturdays, you will need to get in early to pick up a fresh loaf before the shelves are emptied!

Big River Bakery, Shieldfield

Big River Bakery is a small-batch bakery located in Shieldfield, Newcastle and specialises in slow ferment, handmade breads and baked goods, made with locally sourced ingredients. The small and independent bakery is a social enterprise and offers 'pay as you feel' days to ensure the very best in baked goods and hearty lunchtime stotties are available to the whole community. Following their feature in The Hairy Biker's Go North series on BBC One, Big River Bakery saw a well-deserved boom! 

Drop in five days a week to buy your fresh bread and choose from an impressive range of sourdough (including beer sourdough!), stottie sandwiches, varieties of flavoursome flatbreads (including local wild garlic-infused creations) and delicious baked goods. Those who want to know the tricks of the trade can sign up to the regular Big River Bakery stottie and bread-making courses. Big River Bakery is good for the stomach and the soul! 

Mason + Rye at Fenwick Food Hall, Newcastle city centre

Mason + Rye is a high-end, luxury bakery and cafe located in Fenwick Food Hall in Newcastle city centre. Choose from artistic patisseries and cakes as well as fresh sandwiches and artisan bread. A true indulgence, settle in with a hot drink and the finest of patisseries or take away a selection of treats in a stylish yellow box for you to enjoy at home. 

Pink Lane Bakery, Gosforth and Newcastle city centre

One of the OGs of Newcastle independent bakeries, Pink Lane Bakery is an artisan bakery with a small but perfectly formed shop on Pink Lane (obviously!) in the heart of Newcastle as well as a larger base in Gosforth. If you've never been - then you really MUST get in the queue and make sure a legendary, Pink Lane sausage roll is on your shopping list too. Serving handmade, fresh and delicious baked goods for a decade now, Pink Lane Bakery is the perfect place to pick up your daily bread or grab some lunch on the go. Open six days a week (Monday – Saturday, 8am – 4pm) and popping up at food markets including Jesmond Food Market, you'll find a mouth-watering selection of sourdough, cinnamon buns, croissants and Danish pastries as well as Geordie stotties, sweet and savoury pastries, pies and flatbreads. 

Northern Rye, Ouseburn

Northern Rye is another excellent independent bakery with a local feel and the queue which often snakes around the block each morning is enough of a testimonial. Northern Rye is a small batch bakery on the edge of the Ouseburn River and is famed for its sourdough and 'slow fermentation process'. Open five days a week (Tuesday – Saturday), Northern Rye is nestled within the trendy district of Ouseburn which makes it an appealing starting point for those early birds who want to pack a picnic and continue their exploring from Ouseburn onto the Quayside. You will need to get up and at em to get yourself the freshest bake as the shelves are picked clean very quickly, especially on a Saturday. Alongside their popular sourdough and fresh bread range, don't miss the 'cruffins' (what happens when you cross a croissant with a muffin), hefty crossiants and kardemummabullar (Swedish cardamon buns).

See also: Proven Goods Co.

Kennedy & Rhind, Jesmond

Jesmond-based bakery Kennedy & Rhind bakes everything on their shelves fresh each morning in their nearby kitchen. The cafe and bakery is a much-loved feature of Jesmond life and well-known for their crusty sourdough loaves, Portuguese tarts, sweet pastries and savoury pies. Drop in seven days a week for a warm loaf of bread or stay a while and enjoy a hearty brunch or scones with cream at their café. Kennedy & Rhind - which is named for its too master bakers David Kennedy and Murray Rhind - pride themselves on serving the freshest produce and the locals agree, 'Everything is absolutely delicious!' - you can't argue with that!

Dot Bagel, Heaton

Dot Bagel on Chillingham Road in Heaton is a true lockdown success story. The pioneering bagel-based business was set up during the coronavirus pandemic and Dot Bagel has since gone from strength to strength; they now also have a presence within Fenwick Food Hall and a site on Acorn Road in Jesmond. A plethora of fresh bagels are handmade daily on site and can be bought just as they are, or as a sandwich packed with innovative and juicy flavours. Choose from plain bagels, heatwave bagels (cheese and jalapenos) or crispy onion and garlic bagels to name just three... and you will definitely need to wear a bib to enjoy the full, messy experience, you have been warned! 

See also: sister venue Brew & Bite also in Heaton (not a bakery but a coffee shop with a lot of great bakes!).

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