Penarth Bakery's Gareth Spray with the the famous hot-cross buns - straight out of the oven

Penarth Bakery’s Gareth Spray with his huge gas-fired ovens and a tray of his famous hot-cross buns.  With the bakery closing on February 18th there will none available in Penarth for Easter this year

Penarth Bakery – the last traditional craft bakery in Penarth –  is to close  on Saturday February 18th – the end of next week.

The 107-year-old Penarth Bakery – run by Gareth Spray – has had a long-established reputation of making the best bread in town and is unique in making traditional bread with no “improvers”, chemicals or artificial preservatives added.

Master Baker Gareth Spray of Penarth Bakery . His children pinned messages on his notice board saying "The Best Daddy Ever" and a coloured drawing of "Dad's Best Bread"

Hard-working master baker  Gareth Spray of Penarth Bakery . His children pinned messages on his notice board saying “The Best Daddy Ever” and a coloured drawing of “Dad’s Best Bread”

Unlike supermarket bread,  Penarth Bakery’s bread is baked not in steam-ovens but in traditional cast-iron triple gas-fired ovens .

Penarth is about to say goodbye to traditional locally baked bread

Penarth is about to say goodbye to traditional locally baked bread

The dough-mix is based on a 150-year-old secret recipe written in a book handed down through four generations to  Jack Williams – the previous owner of the bakery.

Penarth Bakery’s shop is in Cornerswell Road but it has continue to use the original Williams bake-house . What was the Williams bread shop (now Brutons in Glebe St) is no longer associated with the bakery and the  bread it sells is baked out-of-town – leaving Penarth Bakery as the town’s only indigenous baker.

Gareth and John Spray - 80 years of baking experience

Gareth and his father John Spray – almost 100 years of baking experience

Gareth has been baking for 40 years – having learned the trade from his father John who’s been a baker for 55 years – (and still keeps his hand in).

This is has been the pattern of Gareth Spray’s working day:

  • 21:00 Gareth lights up the ovens and goes home for a nap
  • 01:00 Work starts of mixing the dough for bread and the mixes for cakes and buns
  • 02.30 The dough is ready. The ovens are at the right temperature . In go the loaves
  • 04:00 Baking carries on throughout the small hours of the morning .
  • 07:00 Penarth Bakery’s bread van loads up with warm bread and fresh cakes
  • 09:00 Deliveries are completed
  • Gareth takes a snooze before getting up again to call at the Cornerswell Road shop and  then to collect his children from school at 15:00 and lock up.
  • Then it’s back to the bakery to light the ovens at 21:00, home to bed, and back to work at 01.00 am.

Selling like hot cakes: Today and tomorrow demand for real enarth-made hot cross buns will reach their peak

The sales counter of Penarth Bakery at Cornerswell Road, Penarth. World famous opera star – and Penarth resident – Bryn Terfel is amongst its regular customers.

The bakery’s traditional cast iron ovens aren’t cheap to run. The gas bill alone comes to £600 a month ; the bill for ingredients  (they only buy the best)  tops £1,000 a week

The bakery has constantly had to beat off price competition from the big supermarkets , some of which – like Tesco – have their own in-house bakery. Despite the super quality of Gareth’s bread and cakes, he has to cut his retail prices to the bone to compete.

Penarth Bakery's fresh bread and cakes at the GPG Food Festival at the Kymin , Penarth

Penarth Bakery’s fresh bread and cakes on show and for sale at the GPG Food Festival at the Kymin , Penarth. GPG has now discontinued its Festival –  and now Penarth Bakery is to close.

Gareth also went to extraordinary lengths to promote Penarth Bakery’s award-winning products and has been a regular stall-holder at the annual GPG Food Festival – which, like the bakery itself,  is now shutting up shop.

Penarth Bakery will bake its last bread on Saturday February 18th, turn the big ovens off, shut down the bakery and close its shop in Cornerswell Road that same afternoon.

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  1. Pamela & Alan Armstrong says:

    How sad we are to see the bakery close. Fabulous bread and great staff. Thank you for the service you have provided. We will miss you. The best bread in the area.

  2. Taffy says:

    The Bread of Life. Ah well. Thanks for good quality and excellent service

  3. Frank Evans says:

    Penarth is a changing out with the old in with new. Etc etc…..
    Now how about selling off that postage size patch of land to build more flats.

  4. Claire says:

    I love their bread and although I now live in Devon my parents regularly still bring me some as a gift. Is the recipe for sale? I hope somebody in Penarth is still able to continue baking to that recipe.

  5. Paul says:

    Half a loaf is better than none. You cant even get that now…

  6. Frances thomas says:

    When I moved to Penarth 16 years ago the bakery was one of the first places I found.
    The bread and the service have always been wonderful. Nothing stays the same, what
    A shame. I will miss it.

  7. Jeff H says:

    Such a shame to this wonderful tradition dissappear possibly for ever. Our family will miss the fantastic bread & cake from Penarth Bakery. All the best for the future.

  8. Louise says:

    Very sad news for Penarth. I wish Gareth all the best for the future, but it’s such a shame a town like ours will no longer have its very own baker. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if someone else could take this on?

  9. Amy Twining says:

    Very sad news we will miss the best bread in town and the cornerswell road bakery, best of luck for the future Gareth, hope you get to enjoy a few lie ins, the daily routine sounds gruelling!

  10. LauraC says:

    Best bread in Penarth, appreciated their efforts to bake traditionally and keep the recipe chemical free. Such a shame, will be missed!

  11. chris wyatt says:

    Do all these people know why they are closing? I think someone needs to tell them the truth – in for a big shock!

Comments are closed.