About Us

Established by our Great, Great, Grandfather James Christmas in 1860, the business started as a bakers, grocers and butchers and since its opening has been run by successive generations of the Christmas family, hence our Bakery’s name!

Today, the business operates just as a bakery and sees the 5th generation of the Christmas family. We have two bakery shops, one in the village of Ash and our original shop in Worplesdon, which still adjoins our bakery. We also have a large wholesale customer base, delivering our range of breads, cakes and pastries to caterers, sandwich shops, tearooms, pubs, golf courses, farm shops, garden centres and local convenience stores across parts of Surrey, Hampshire and Berkshire.

Combining quality ingredients and traditional recipes with our passion for baking is what gives our breads and cakes their unique appearance and flavour. Our experienced bakers, bake day and night with pride and passion to ensure when our shops open and our delivery vans are loaded, they are filled with delicious, fresh products for our customers to enjoy.

For over 155 years, we have specialised in craft baking using traditional methods and original recipes to produce a wide range of daily fresh breads, pastries and cakes. Our heritage of tradition, quality and skill remains and we are proud to have built our reputation for combining good quality traditional baking with good value for money as we strongly believe everyone should enjoy delicious products at affordable prices.

Our History

  
Founded by James Christmas in 1860, the business started as a bakers, butchers and grocers. In 1907, his son Ernest Frank took over and proudly displayed his name above the door. Ernest Frank, (pictured below) had twin sons James and Sid.  At 14, James left school to work as an apprentice baker for the Co-op, before returning to the family business to work with his father.

When Ernest Frank passed away in 1956, his sons James, (pictured to the left) and Sid worked together to run the business until James bought out his brother 3 years later.

With his wife Bertha (pictured below), James continued to run the family business, and when their sons, Anthony and Ray left school to attend Kingston College and gain their baking industry qualification, they too joined the family business J.A Christmas & Sons.

Their go-ahead attitude meant the family bakery began to grow. Instead of door-to-door deliveries, the company went into wholesale supplying businesses with freshly baked bread and cakes in Guildford, Aldershot, Woking, Camberley, Clandon. They also opened more bakery shops in Aldershot, Guildford and Chobham.  To keep up with demand, the bake house had to modernise and in 1976, the original building was extended to make way for the bakery that stands today.

In 1990, James sadly passed away leaving the business to his sons Anthony and Ray. They decided to focus on wholesale and keep retail to just the original shop in Worplesdon. It was here they launched their successful breakfast and lunch food-to-go range alongside their traditional artisan bakery lines to target a new generation of customers. However, when the bakers shop in Ray’s village of Ash Vale closed down, they couldn’t resist but to open another shop.  It was the early 90’s, UK high streets were suffering under economic pressures and supermarkets were dominating the grocery market with their offer of low price, convenience shopping, however the Christmas Bakery in Ash, was a real success and although took some time out after its lease expired, it continues today in its new location at 147 Ash Hill Road.

Tony and Ray worked together for almost 50 years, before Tony retired in December 2012. Ray continued baking full-time until December 2015, and today, although retired he plays a huge part in the business mentoring the fifth generation, Helen, Kevin and Daren.

Today, our heritage of craft baking remains at the core of what we do so we can provide our customers with an extensive range of freshly baked breads, cakes and pastries. The Christmas Bakery continues to deliver a dedicated wholesale fresh bakery service, as well as traditional bakery shops in the Surrey villages of Ash and Worplesdon, and more recently a catering service, offering a variety of freshly prepared cold buffet and sandwich platters.

For a taste of traditional baking with a modern twist, visit the original Christmas Bakery in Worplesdon today and taste your way through our delicious, freshly baked bread and cakes, we guarantee to have a treat to suit every taste!

Below is a picture taken of the bakery and bakers shop in Worplesdon Circ. 1920, and next to it a picture of how it looks today, nearly 100 years on!

 

Baking Timeline

18.00 - Welcome to the Night Shift

It all starts when the office prints off tomorrow's production sheets and leaves for the night bakers, telling them the total numbers for what they need to make ready for the morning sales. From these sheets the baker calculates how many doughs to make and the ingredients required to produce the right amount of products. They then begin weighing down; a term used to measure the ingredients, so an important job that leaves no room for error! During our night shift we weigh down enough ingredients to make 9 or more large doughs, this is done the traditional way, by hand using a set of scales and weights.

19.00 - Bread Beginnings

The first of our many bread doughs is in the large spiral mixer, we use different speeds and timings depending on the dough. Whilst in the mixer the dough is continuously kneaded and when ready, the baker removes the large dough from the bowl and leaves to rest. The dough is then divided into pieces and weighed to ensure we make the right size loaf, this is how you get your small and large loaves. We mould the dough, turning the dough into different styles such as bloomer loaves, which we bake on perforated trays, and sandwich and farmhouse loaves, which are baked in tins.

21.00 - Provers and Ovens

By 21.00 the bakery is alive with activity, all 4 night bakers are in and working full speed with no time for error as everything is on the clock, one small delay could impact the whole shift. The first of the white bread doughs is out of the provers and into our hot ovens. As we produce such large volumes of bread throughout the night we use Provers prior to baking as they help us improve the fermentation process, as the more warmth and humidity the faster the dough will rise! Provers provide this consistent, controlled temperature and humidity and without them we would never get your fresh loaves out on time!

23.00 - Multi-tasking

Almost halfway through the shift and the team's busy mixing, scaling, moulding, proving, multi-tasking is key in this job! The white bread is cooling and now the bakers are working the soft dough to create the many lines of rolls and baps. The bun dough is in the mixer and the first batch of Norfolk Crunch bread is coming out the ovens. The doughnut fryer is on ready for frying and the first of our team of packers arrive to start their shift of bread slicing, wrapping and packing orders, and yet there's still so much more to make and finish... Wholemeal bread, more Norfolk crunch bread, Multi-seed bread, French baguettes, crusty rolls and all our morning buns too.

01.00 - Rolls and Rolls and Rolls

The bakery racks are filling with rolls... white rolls, wholemeal rolls, flour baps, plain baps, seeded baps, large baps, finger rolls, torpedo rolls, cottage rolls, dinner rolls; Everywhere you look there's rolls! During a night shift we produce over 2,500 rolls for our shops and wholesale deliveries and they all need to be wrapped in packs of 2's, 4's and 6's, so it's important they're left to cool before the packers start wrapping. Just before 2am the last of the rolls are out the ovens, these are the famous Christmas Bakery crusty rolls, and once they're out the first of the night bakers heads home.

03.00 - The Sweet Stuff

As we approach the witching hour and you're tucked up in bed sweet dreaming, we're finishing the sweet stuff! The jam doughnuts are jammed, the Chelsea buns, Swiss buns and Danish pastries are iced, the Devon buns and Cream doughnuts are filled and down at the ovens the croissants are lined up ready for their bake. As the second night baker finishes it's the packing team now working at full speed! They're hard at work packing all the customer orders for our wholesale deliveries, with only 1 hour before the first of the delivery vans leaves, they're busy wrapping and packing to ensure all the vans leave on time.

06.00 - Starting Again

At 5am the last two night bakers head home, while the packing team continue to pack the last of our customer orders for the morning deliveries, and as their shift comes to an end another shift starts..... At 6am our day bakers arrive, and all the freshly baked breads, rolls, buns and pastries are then wheeled into the Worplesdon shop ready for opening for you to enjoy! Our team of day bakers then spend their day busy making a range of confectionery, puff pastries, decorating celebration cakes, making tasty savouries including our bacon puffs, pizzas and quiches, before they clean down and set the bakery up ready for that night shift to start all over again...

Our Team

Behind the scenes at Christmas Bakery our dedicated workforce are busy making our bakery great for you! Operating nearly 24 hours a day, 6 days a week our teams work hard to produce, serve and deliver delicious, freshly baked products for you to enjoy. We have a large range of products and continuously strive to develop new lines, giving you more choice every time you visit. Here at Worplesdon, our bakery adjoins our busy bakery shop, so as soon as something is baked and fresh out of the oven, our retail team can display in the shop and serve fresh to you!

Bakery & Confectionery Team

Our team of experienced craft bakers, bake day and night with pride and passion. We run two production shifts; Our team of day bakers make our full range of confectionery, sweet and savoury pastries, our traditional celebration cakes and all our seasonal confectionery. Our team of night bakers produce all our breads, rolls, morning goods and scones. Using scratch recipes and traditional methods, they work to tight deadlines to ensure the products are baked ready for our team of packers to pack for when our shops open and our delivery vans leave.

Retail Team

Our retail teams pride themselves in delivering friendly customer service to every customer that is genuine, knowledgeable and efficient to ensure you have a great experience every time you visit. Look out for daily tasters and specials in both shops and our friendly staff are always happy to make suggestions for you to try.

Catering Team

Our catering team make your daily fresh sandwiches, filled rolls, filled baps and baguettes every morning for our Worplesdon shop. All our fillings are freshly prepared each day, using ingredients from local suppliers and everything we produce is hand made onside. Our catering team are also responsible for making buffet and sandwich platters that me make to order, we can cater for any occasion with a range of delicious cold buffet platters,

Wholesale Team

We deliver to many businesses across parts of Surrey, Hampshire and Berkshire 6 days a week, Monday to Saturday. Our small fleet of vans cover nearly 300 miles every day, starting their deliveries from 4am. Our team of packers work throughout the night and with our drivers to ensure customer orders are packed correctly and our vans leave on time. They pride themselves on their efficiency, consistency and friendly service. Visit our wholesale page and contact Daren for more information about how our wholesale service can work for you and your business.