For those living in Leeds, the Huddersfield canal is a great excursion when a weekend countryside fix is in need.
Villages along the canal are brimming with history, and littered with old mills and factory buildings with soot stained brick.
The Handmade Bakery is located on the canal side in Slaithwaite, which I visited with family who live in the next village a half-hour walk away down the canal, Marsden.
It’s a not-for-profit community bakery, supported by local people which enables the co-operative to operate from the large, open plan space.
When you step into the bakery, you instantly know you’re about to eat some seriously good bread. A celiac’s nemesis, there’s piles of sourdough baskets, a rack of freshly baked bread for customers to pick and choose, and a ‘toast your own’ station with pots of homemade jams. In spirit of supporting the community, the Handmade Bakery also serves coffee roasted by Dark Woods Coffee, based just a 15-minute walk down the canal.
We visited for lunch, the options are basically bread, bread or bread. Not a problem for me. There’s homemade soups, baked beans, and tarts on offer. I chose the homemade stew on the specials menu (£5.95), which today was split pea dal (YES) served with homemade bread, of course.
The whopping bowl of dal was exactly the consistency I like it, some lentils still whole but mostly mushed, with the odd chunk of ginger and chili. The main event is the sourdough bread, I would easily say it’s the best I’ve ever had. A gorgeous, chunky, warm slice with a chewy crust and drizzled with fat (I think melted butter). It really was to die for. You know those simple, basic foods that make you thankful god created taste buds?
Made with lentils, dal is naturally filling, and so I obviously ate a massive slice of sticky, stodgy, moist, Guinness and chocolate cake for dessert. You can’t really not sample the homemade cakes if you’re visiting a bakery, after all.
That night I had one of my favourite evening meals for tea – breakfast. Left over sourdough we took home in a doggy bag, with smashed avocado and balsamic. Heaven.
The Handmade Bakery is an absolute must for anyone finding themselves on the Huddersfield canal. I’ve got a feeling it’s going to become a regular when visiting the family in Marsden from now on.