Bertie Matthews and Mark Woodgate at Matthews Cotswold Flour mill

Mark joined us at the mill early in 2018 as our in-house baker, launching his professional career as an artisan baker.  Just six months in and he has won three awards at the 2018 World Bread Awards, the UK’s leading awards celebrating the art of bread making.

Mark’s White Sourdough with Chia Seeds placed silver at the event in London. His other two entries, Cotswold Crunch Sourdough and Spelt Sourdough, were both awarded bronze, an amazing achievement against hundreds of other loaves.

The main ingredient in Mark’s silver award-winning sourdough is our very own Matthews Churchill Strong Bread Flour, ground here at our family mill in Shipton under Wychwood, just a few miles from Mark’s home in Oxfordshire.

Mark’s White Sourdough with Chia Seeds, is not only a winner in taste and texture, but also a healthier option too. Chia seeds are rich in soluble fibre and are an excellent source of Omega-3 fatty acids, iron and calcium.

We are regularly tantalised by the delicious smell of his freshly baked bread wafting from the kitchen as he bakes every day in the mill, supplying customers across the Cotswolds for his business, Mark’s Cotswold Bakery – including visiting dignitaries such as the Sultan of Brunei.

I asked him what’s important about our flour in his bakes:

“When I started making sourdough, I tried a number of different flours. Once I discovered Matthews Churchill Strong Bread Flour, I found it made a massive difference to the quality of the crumb. There are lots of things that affect the quality of a loaf. In the case of Matthews Flour, I find the stoneground process, used and the lack of over processing through excessive machinery, makes a huge difference to my sourdough and is an essential component of my award-winning loaf.

“By handcrafting each loaf myself, I can be sure that I am always providing my customers with the tastiest bread possible.”

Local provenance is at the heart of what we do at Matthews, and this is the same as Mark’s Cotswold Bakery. Where most bakeries flour travels miles, Mark’s flour travels ‘steps’ before it is turned into his award-winning sourdough.

Well done Mark, we can’t wait to see (and taste) the loaves you create for the 2019 awards.

On top of Mark’s impressive win, we are also thrilled to announce that Matthews Cotswold Flour has been awarded ‘Best Artisan Flour Miller 2018’ in the Lux Life Food and Drink Awards – helping to kick-start 2019 on a great high for everyone at Matthews.