Alex Vergine is on a roll.
Or rather, a sour dough loaf.
The star baker at the Old Bridge Bakery in Holmfirth has just returned from his very first industry competition with three awards for his experimental work with retro bread.
He’s now looking forward to next year’s Baking Industry Awards – the “baking Oscars” – to further showcase his talents.
Alex, 26, introduced sour dough to the Old Bridge Bakery just six months ago.
After a brief period of uncertainty regular customers embraced the artisan taste, prompting Alex to try his luck at the Craft Bakers Association Awards in Harrogate.
He had no expectations of winning but to his surprise and delight he and fiancée Lucy, 19, walked off with best sour dough, second best scone and best overall bakery.
“The best overall bakery category was judged on one product,” says Alex.
“We won for our sour dough. There were bakers that won multiple first places in all six categories but our sour dough bread outshone them all.
“We were definitely nervous. If we had come third I would have been happy. "
The main judge was Colin Lomax, who is high up in the industry and has been on Bake-Off with Mary Berry. To get a handshake off him was fulfilling.”
Alex, with owners Greg and Mandy Christofi, says the health benefits of sour dough are proven as it is good for people with gluten intolerance, diabetes and general insulin resistance.
He’s now vowing to continue with his experiments, using ancient grains to further develop his flavours.
And after being invited to join the board of the CBA he wants to steer the industry in a new direction.