A SOURDOUGH toastie loaf has earned a Dales bakery an Innovation of the Year award.

Seasons Bakery, in Ingleton, received the accolade during an online ceremony in January, hosted by TV and radio celebrity Alexander Armstrong.

Bakery owner Dan Nemeth and Seasons were also runners up in the Baker of the Year and Bakery Manufacturer of the Year categories.

Dan said he and his staff were overjoyed: “We created the Sourdough Toastie Loaf for a toasted sandwich business which requested the health benefits of a sourdough with the creamy softness and size consistency of a conventional loaf. As we perfected the process, I had a hunch it would win awards.”

Sourdough is made using a culture of live yeasts and beneficial bacteria rather than baker’s yeast. It can be higher in fibre, vitamins and minerals, which help digestion and gut health. Seasons sells around 200 Sourdough Toastie Loaves every week to 14 trade customers, and through its shops in Ingleton, and in Denton, Greater Manchester.

Judges said Seasons’ loaf met ‘the criteria of sourdough in a convenient, practical format, as well as an easier, more versatile sandwich shape that didn’t lose any of the great flavours’.

Dan said: “The award is a great reflection on the devotion of the bakery staff, who have worked above and beyond the call of duty over the last year, not only on this but also on a great number of projects due to the coronavirus pandemic. They’re more like an extended family than employees. They are all passionate about what they do.”

Dan established Seasons in Kirkby Lonsdale in 2007, and uses many recipes learned from his grandmother when he was a child. As it grew, Seasons moved to Ingleton village’s iCentre, where it now produces more than 10,000 award-winning sourdough loaves every week, along with up to 4,000 croissants, and a wide range of pies, pasties and cakes for trade clients and for sale in the bakery’s shops.

The latest win is added to the bakery’s growing list of awards.