These four ingredients make one of the most important foods consumed in the UK, bread. 12 million loaves are sold every day throughout the UK and I, for one, love bread! I buy it, I make it and I eat it every day! Now we all know that a standard white loaf is full of additives to boost flavor and preserve the shelf life of the loaf because we can read this on the packaging and make an informed decision to buy or not buy the loaf. The list of additives in a standard shop bought loaf is pretty scary even though they are on the label. Calcium propionate, amylase, chlorine dioxide and L-cysteine hydrochloride and a giant list of E numbers all to make the standard loaf better, Really?
What about all the lovely fresh bread surrounding the bakeries in most supermarkets? Would you be surprised to know that this bread is just as full of additives as your standard loaf? How would you know? It’s not on the label, wait a minute there isn’t a label! And it is legal not to label it! So are you happy to eat a food item when you have no idea what it contains?
Real bread should only contain flour, water, salt and yeast. Without the use of processing aids or any other artificial additive. Any flavors added such as cheese, seeds, herbs etc. should not contain any artificial additives either.
We all love sourdough loaves as well don’t we, Those tangy chewy loaves made from flour, water, salt and a culture of natural yeasts and bacteria? This takes time so you can guarantee the sourdough loaves in supermarkets are more sourfaux than sourdough and as for sourdough bread mixes, do you really think there is a live culture of natural yeasts and bacteria in those packets? No neither do I, but yet again it is all legal.
The Real Bread Campaign (www.realbreadcampaign.org) is part of the food and farming charity Sustain and is interested in championing additive free bread, full transparency and honesty in the marketing & labelling of all loaves and related products. Alongside these important topics The Real Bread Campaign focuses on the value of a small independent bakery to the local economy and community as local businesses put more money back into local communities than the large corporations ever do. Also a local baker using locally sourced ingredients to make a loaf has a carbon footprint 50% – 66% lower than that of a standard supermarket loaf.
Ask your local baker about The Real Bread Campaign and their loaves, better still visit The Real Bread Campaign website and check their map of Real Bread bakeries in your area. We are very lucky in the York area as we have several bakeries and shops baking loaves within The Real Bread Campaign guidelines. My favorites are The Haxby Bakehouse, The Bluebird Bakery and The Pig and Pastry on Bishopthorpe Road who all bake amazing produce using local ingredients.
Look out for Real Bread Week (6-14 May next year) and support your local real bread baker. You can also support The Real Bread Campaign for £22.50 a year to receive discounts on bakery items and books as well as copies of True loaf magazine throughout the year.
If you feel inspired you could also bake your own bread. There is no greater control of the ingredients than making a loaf yourself and it is great fun! Studies have shown good for your mental health as well.