Since winning the top baking competition in the country, Seasons Cakes in Ingleton has been stamping its baking style across Europe.

Converging on the bakery in the former middle school, over the last year, have been bakers fromFrance and Germany and from throughout the UK.

They have all been keen to learn how Daniel Nemeth and his business partner, Lesley Nemeth, have perfected their sourdough, used to make bread crowned as best in the country in the Bakers' and Butchers' annual awards last year.

"We're now preparing to defend out title at this year's awards on October 12 at Newark showground in Nottinghamshire where Britain's best loaf will be judged.

"Since winning it, we've gone from strength to strength," said Daniel, who trained as a furniture designer but became a baker to follow his passion for baking.

Part of the reason for their success is the way they develop the sourdough by using it when it is at a young stage and springy and active.

"We've had people from all over the country and Europe coming here to see how we do it and how we have perfected our sourdough," said Daniel.

"The way we do it is, I believe, is more productive. It means we rarely bake at night like a lot of bakers have to do. We can make bread the previous day because it is a slow process.

"It's been ace working with these other bakers - seeing all the different ways of doing it and we've also learned things from them."

Among his closer at home customers are a couple who call regularly on their way to the Lake District and when on their way back. And others also travel from distances throughout the wider area.

Daniel was speaking to the Craven Herald as he prepared 800 loaves which he was planning to take to Lowther Show at Penrith.

The bakery did not confine itself to sourdough and made high grade commercial breads, such as white, brown and wheatmeal, they baked French bread and baguettes using genuine French flour along with a wide variety of cakes, muffins and sponges.

Their meat pies include pork and apple, pork and black pudding, lamb and mint jelly, Three Peaks pork pie - layered pork, chicken and stuffing topped - and even Shepherd's pie topped with fluffy mashed potato.

The bakery employs 16 people, a boost from five when it opened in the converted former school room last April. Previously, the bakery had worked out of Ingleton Industrial Estate.

Sourdough is enjoying its moment as a 'super-food', as a healthier alternative to shop-bought yeast bread. So popular is the bread that Seasons Cakes sells the starter culture for people to have a go at home.