Knots & Crosses Bakery - The Independent Tees Collective

20 Feb 2021

Source: Knot & Crosses Bakery

For today's Independent Tees Collective post, we're taking it back to lockdown. It was a time that was a bit uncertain and chaotic, but there were so many incredible small businesses that were born out of furlough, redundancy or simply the fact that people were home a lot more. One of those was the fabulous bakery that I'm going to be talking about today!

I discovered Knots & Crosses Bakery right at the start of her business journey in 2020, and it's been a total joy and so amazing to see how far she's come. Specialising in soft baked pretzels, this is a business that has really taken Teesside by storm and is quickly becoming a bit of a household name. Make sure you take a read of this post to learn more about their knots and the boss behind the biz.

Hello! Let's start with a bit of an introduction. Who are you and what is your business all about?

Hello! I'm Beth, and I'm the creator and owner of Knots & Crosses Bakery, Teesside's only gourmet pretzel bakery. As well as the classic soft pretzel, I make a variety of sweet and savourity flavours too, such as pizza, Biscoff and Bakewell! As a rule, the menu offers a minimum of 10 flavours at any time, so there's hopefully something to suit all tastes!

Source: Knots & Crosses Bakery

Where did the inspiration for Knots & Crosses come from? What made you start up the business?

I was forced to play my hand when starting the business, as I lost my job of 10 years in April 2020. Being in the height of lockdown, and having two young children and a husband working full time, it was difficult to find a job to fit around childcare, so working for myself seemed like a natural solution.

I’ve always loved cooking and baking - food has always been the one thing I’ve had a natural talent for and enjoyed doing, so it seemed fitting to do something with that. I toyed with a few ideas, but knew I needed to come up with something niche in order to stand out and not get lost in the crowd.

If you search for cake or brownie makers in Teesside, you have so many to choose from - there’s no way I’d be able to make myself known. So that’s how I landed on pretzels - between Leeds and Gateshead, there was nowhere (bar supermarkets) that you can get a soft pretzel!

What is your favourite flavour of pretzel that you've created and why?

That’s a tricky one as it’s like picking a favourite kid but either the Lemon & Poppyseed knot or the Apple & Cinnamon Crumble knot. I enjoy flavours that I have to put the most work into, and make most of it myself. Nutella, for example, is always a crowd pleaser, but I obviously don’t make the Nutella filling.

I made my own lemon curd for the Lemon & Poppyseed. For the Apple Crumble, I make the stewed apple filling and my own crumble topping, so it allows me to be a little more creative!

Source: Knots & Crosses Bakery

What do you enjoy most about running Knots & Crosses Bakery?

I love getting feedback from my customers and hearing how much people enjoy what I create. I have ALWAYS been a feeder - I love to make people happy by making them food and seeing them enjoy my creations, and this just takes it to the next level!

There’s also such a sense of satisfaction to working for myself and being in charge of what I do, too. I daren’t think how low my hourly wage would be if I worked it out, but because I work all these hours for myself, and to make my business succeed, it’s absolutely worth it.

What has been Knots & Crosses' biggest achievement so far?

My first major achievement was doing my first market. Nearly all of my orders are for doorstep deliveries, but I’m now a regular as the Ingleby Barwick Community Market. When I stepped back and saw my stall set up and ready to go for the first time, with my product ready for people to buy, I got such a sense of pride!

My other biggest achievement was when I released my Christmas menu, and bookings for dates over Christmas week. I sold out the three dates within an hour, and to think that something I’ve created was so in demand is just a bit mind blowing and overwhelming!

Source: Knots & Crosses Bakery

What do you love about the Teesside independent scene?

There’s a great sense of community across the independent scene in Teesside. We’re there to pick each other up or give words of encouragement if we’ve had a bad day or a set back, and sing each other’s praises too.

There’s also such TALENT across Teesside. I get some of my customers asking if I know anywhere good that does this, that or the other, and I can confidently recommend other small businesses knowing how good they are.

What's next for the future of Knots & Crosses Bakery?

I hope to sustain the level of success I’ve had since starting once lockdown eases. I tailored my business to suit lockdown with my doorstep deliveries, as that’s when I’ve started up. As the world starts to go back to normal, I know I need to adapt my business to change with the needs of my customers.

I’m also so excited to release new flavours. I have so, so many I want to try, I could probably fill three menus with just new ideas! 

Source: Knots & Crosses Bakery

And finally, recommend one other Teesside independent to us!

tr:Eat holds a soft spot for me. Chris was my first paying customer when I did a birthday order for his wife Aimee, before I’d even officially started. He started up his business at pretty much the same time as me, and I’ve loved seeing his journey and how well he’s progressed, and of course his chocolates are to die for!

Has this post got you hankering for doughy, knotted goodness? Me too! Make sure you head over to check out Knots & Crosses Bakery on Facebook and Instagram. I'm looking forward to all the new flavours that Beth is going to bringing out this year and seeing her at all the markets! I've got a feeling it's going to be a good 2021 for her.

Make sure you check back next week for another incredible Tees independent!

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