Real Bread Campaign

Treat yourself to Real Bread

Treat yourself to a loaf of real bread. I mean, what is not to love about a that loaf of homemade real bread? It’s not just the taste, it’s the texture and it’s knowing that it doesn’t have anything in it that it doesn’t need. Real Bread Campaign takes place

19-27 February.

By Emma Johnson

It was the memories of the delicious loaves of real bread that my mum made that inspired me to want to learn to make great bread. Every week, I’d come from school to that smell of  freshly baked loaves.  I’d add lashings of butter and real honey and my mouth still waters at the thought! She used real yeast and real flour, bought from the local bakery – long before supermarket bake in store!

From Bricks to Real Bread

Unfortunately, the first loaves of real bread that I made were a complete disaster. Rather than my mum’s light fluffy bread, it would be an understatement to describe them as heavy duty bricks. After my initial disasters, I confess that I gave up because I didn’t understand what I needed to do to get it right. Don’t get me wrong, I tried more than once, but time and time again they didn’t work.

It was long before I bought a bread making machine as I believed this would be the solution. I followed their recipes and hated the sugary taste, yet without the sugar my bread failed again!

Then, I joined a book club and bought Paul Hollywood’s bread making book and gave it a go. Over time, I learnt about getting the consistency right and how to manage the sticky, gooey dough without adding extra unnecessary flour. I loved it. Better still, I discovered his recipe for sourdough. This meant I didn’t even need to buy shop bought yeast.

Finally I had my loaf of unadulterated real natural bread. Sometimes I use the bread machine just to need to the dough but nothing more.

Join the Read Bread Campaign

Back in the 90s, my husband and I regularly cycled all over Cumbria and the Pennines. We discovered some incredible small businesses and makers. Two really stood out for me, the first one was The Village Bakery at Melmerby in Cumbria. You can imagine that after cycling up and down several large hills this was a rather welcome discovery.

Along with the bakery, we stumbled across Larch Cottage Nurseries in Melkinthorpe while in search of water! I’ll never forget their home made cakes and the little birds feeding on our crumbs. They were even featured in a national garden magazine years later. There was also a village owned brewery and pub – true real ale.

In my mind these were and still are the pioneers of keeping food natural and real. It’s over 40 years ago that Andrew Whitely started The Village Bakery. When we came across it we couldn’t believe that this little place could be quite as successful as it was. After all, it was really in the middle of no-where, with no big town to support it. In fact, there were probably more sheep than people! Throughout this time though, he was committed to using wholemeal bread from organic British wheat flour ground at the local watermill. He saw this as a way of supporting rural communities.

For me though, forget everything else, I think this is what reinforced my love of natural, local and additive free foods. The mixture of supporting local communities, the environment and better foods is so important to me. If you want to find out more about The Village Bakery follow the link below.

Real Food and Better Diets

Last summer, in between lockdowns, I listened to Penn Vogler’s talk about the history of food. It shocked me to hear that the food in the UK is cheaper than the food in Europe yet we have more people visiting food banks than ever.  Of course, our housing is more expensive, and I leave you to make up your mind about that!

It is little surprise, that people go for the cheapest and more filling foods when they are short of money. However, this means that these people are likely to be eating more fatty, salty and sugary foods. Despite the traffic light system and requirements to cut the sugar and fat, they are replaced with yet more chemicals to counteract the effects. Not only that, the foods don’t fill, it is a temporary feeling of satisfaction that leaves you hungrier later. Simply put, with record levels of obesity, diabetes and heart disease in this country, surely we must change our approach to eating.

The Real Bread Campaign

The Real Bread Campaign is working to improve bread making and the food we put in our bodies. Better food makes us feel physically and mentally better and it is far more sustainable and good for the environment. You’ll eat fewer slices, yet feel more satisfied far more quickly.

Join the Real Bread Campaign!

To make sour dough starter follow the Paul Hollywood recipe

Buy your products locally:

Flour – My Refill Market, Stony Stratford, Daily Bread, Northampton

Oil (for bread) – The Fruity Farmer, Stoke Goldington

Grapes – Moorgate Farm, Potterspury

If you don’t want to make it yourself buy your bread locally:

Woodstocks Bakery, Stony Stratford

Whittlebury Bakery, Whittlebury