Get stuck in to Real Bread Week

It’s Real Bread Week, 23 February to 3 March 2019, the annual global celebration of buying additive-free loaves from local bakeries and baking your own at home. Real Bread coordinator Chris Young shows how choosing organic supports the campaign.

Get stuck in to Real Bread Week

Chris Young, Read Bread Campaign

The Real Bread Campaign defines Real Bread as made without any artificial additives. Sounds simple but, if you believe industry figures, it rules out 95% or more of what is sold as ‘bread’ in the UK – like those wrapped sliced loaves with ingredients lists as long as your arm.

Back when we launched Real Bread Week in 2010, a key part of our mission was to find ways of removing barriers to people enjoying Real Bread. That’s why the week was originally about digging out one of the nation’s millions of unloved bread machines and using it to bake a loaf at home, or passing it to someone who would. A cheap and very easy way of taking control of what does (and doesn’t) go into your family’s daily bread.

Fast forward to this year’s tenth outing of Real Bread Week and, although the machines took a back seat after the first few years, we’re still all about helping more people choose Real Bread. A big part of our work is encouraging people to support their local, independent bakeries, which help to create more jobs per loaf and keep our high streets alive. We work towards the day when everyone will be within walking distance of being able to buy Real Bread.

Another large slice of what we do is encouraging people to bake their own. As well as one of the simplest (but most delicious) things you can bring to the table, bread making can be a therapeutic activity. It can also be something to share with other people, both the baking process and what comes out of it.

The Real Bread Campaign’s mission is finding and sharing ways to make bread better for us, better for our communities and better for the planet. This echoes people’s reasons for choosing organic food and drink too.

UK organic standards rule out most of the 300 artificial additives that are available to food manufacturers. and although our Real Bread bakers don’t use any of them*, buying organic is a great way to avoid unnecessary ingredients as well as pesticides. You can read more about this in the PAN UK 2014 report that found pesticide residues in most samples they tested of flour and loaves that weren’t certified organic. You can also find out more on how organic bread is helping to change the UK food system for the better, in this article by the Soil Association’s Lee Holdstock.

In the meantime, I hope you enjoy Real Bread Week by visiting a local Real Bread bakery, rolling up your sleeves to bake a loaf, or taking a baking class.

*While the Real Bread Campaign continues to challenge the so-called ‘fortification’ of all (including certified organic) UK-milled wheat flour except wholemeal, it excludes them from its ‘no artificial additives’ rule.

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