Simply Bread: The best bakeries and bagelries

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

Simply Bread: The best bakeries and bagelries

We’ve come a long way from the supermarket sliced white

Left: Tami Isaacs making her signature challah. Right: Bagels and Schmear
Left: Tami Isaacs making her signature challah. Right: Bagels and Schmear

Valentine’s Day may be approaching, but don’t worry if love is not on your radar this year because there is something else more beautiful, more accessible and more satisfying than romance – bread.

Us Jews just can’t get enough of it.

From the humble bagel and the Friday night challah to flavoured artisan sourdoughs commanding upwards of £4 a loaf (Gail’s currant and sour cherry sourdough, anyone?), we all want a slice of the action.

The bread scene has changed over the years. In 2022, it’s all about the sourdough, the spelt and the brioche but, for me, there’s still nowt wrong with a slice of toast dripping with butter from a generic loaf (especially at a hotel breakfast). I thought it was right to let some London bakers have their say about their own delicious bready treats.

Tami Isaacs with her signature challah

It’s no problem sourcing challah and bagels if you reside in north London, but what happens if you live out of the area?

Andrew Lester, who was born into the Nana Fanny’s salt beef and felafel empire, lucky chap, saw that despite having over a quarter of a million residents, Southwark did not have a single bakery where Jewish people could get their bagels and challah.

He approached the powers that be at Borough Market and set up Moishe’s Bagelry and Bakery.

I asked Andrew if he had a good baker’s favourite pop group pun – you know, like Yeast 17 and Bagel City Rollers. He humoured me politely and said no, but when people ask what’s in the rainbow bagels, he replies “real rainbows and the odd unicorn”. (Incidentally, the colours are all derived from natural ingredients.)

Anne Iarchy offers many types of home-baked bread

Getting back to romance, Karma Bread’s Challah Queen, Tami Isaacs, fell in love with baking almost a decade ago, when she took a course at the Hampstead Garden Suburb Institute. Second base was baking out of her home, third base a micro bakery supplying a rapidly expanding (in number and clothes size) client base together with London delis. Finally she raised enough ‘dough’ to open Karma Bread in Hampstead in July 2015.

She bakes onsite and her customers are her market research. Among more established offerings, she practises hybrid baking, “bending and blending traditions”.

Her latest amour is Shokupan, which is a Japanese milk bread. Tami doesn’t just bake for paying customers though; during the first lockdown she and a team of volunteers baked for many of the wards of the nearby Royal Free Hospital.

Favourite band: Frankie Goes to Paul Hollywood.

Gail’s currant and sour cherry sourdough bread

Tami is not the only baker with a social conscience.

The Dusty Knuckle, with branches in Dalson and Haringay, accept referrals from both the community and professional organisations to provide work-based mentorship/support training and employment opportunities to at-risk youth aged 17-29, helping them become financially independent, happy and valuable members of society.

They have just been voted Time Out’s most-loved London café and are famous for their focaccia).

Favourite pop duo: Paul Simon and Artisan Garfunkel.

Read the Food and Travel supplement

If you like some cream cheese on your bagel, or possibly the other way around, do take a trip to Bagels & Schmear at Battlers Green Farm, Radlett.

Owner, baker and all-round superwoman Francesca Goldhill was unable to source a New York bagel (crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside) in the UK, so the spent six months perfecting her own from her mum’s kitchen.

This side hustle turned into a successful business and now she has her own premises in Radlett.

Her mum has finally got her kitchen back and, considering Francesca informed me that each bagel takes 18 hours from start to finish, she’s probably rather pleased about that.

Karma Bread’s challah

The ‘schmears’ are sold separately in a variety of sweet and savoury flavours such as marmite, cinnamon and raisin and olive oil and rosemary.

I can’t wait to visit and have some tasters. Favourite song: All Rise by Blue.

A good, friendly bakery serves as a community hub and this is very much the case with Kossoffs.

Passed down from generation to generation since the 1920s, Aaron Kossoff (great-grandson of founder Wolf) has now opened a branch in Kentish Town, where people come from miles around for the Ottolenghi-trained baker’s delicious loaves.

Favourite song: When I Knead You by Leo Sayer.

Moishe’s rainbow bagels

Anne Iarchy started her baking business from her home in Finchley during the lockdown and posts her healthy and tasty offerings on Instagram as little_home_baker.

Bagels and Schmear

Her love affair with baking began when she ran out of bread flour for challah and got a sourdough starter in her delivery from Bread Ahead.

Her wares now include cakes, bagels and focaccia – customers happy to drive out of their area to procure a home baked, healthy product.

Least favourite singer: Carole Kingsmill.

Something got me Sourdough Started and now I’m off to schmear something on a slice to have with  a cuppa.







Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...


Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.


There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.


In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.


Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more: