We’re all invited to help buy, bake and boost real bread in Real Bread Week 2022 and beyond, as part of the Real Bread campaign from Sustain: The Alliance for Better Food and Farming.
The annual, international celebration of additive-free loaves and the people who make them is running from February 19th – 27th February 2022. Here’s how to get involved as a baker or a buyer of ‘real’ bread.
What makes bread ‘real’, then?
Here’s what the folks at the Real Bread campaign have to say…
Everyone has their own idea of what Real Bread is. Here’s the Real Bread Campaign’s basic definition:
Made without the use of so-called processing aids or any other additives*
Simple, eh? That’s because it is.
In fact, we believe this univerally-inclusive definition should be the key criterion in the legal definition of bread full stop. Why should bakers who make bread in a time-honoured, natural way have to qualify it with ‘real’, ‘artisan’, ‘craft’ and the like? We say let’s reclaim the name bread and leave it to the industrial loaf fabricators to come up with a new name for their additive-laden products.
*The only exceptions we make are the four so-called ‘fortificants‘ added to most UK milled flour by law.
NB All genuine sourdough is Real Bread but not all Real Bread has to be made using a sourdough process. Our definition includes unleavened bread and bread made using baker’s yeast.
Why should I care?
Currently, the majority of UK loaves are produced in large factories, using artificial additives – including some legally undeclared on the label – and perhaps a dollop of fat. Rather than allowing the bread to ferment and ‘ripen’ in its own good time, High-speed mixing, high levels of yeast and perhaps a lacing of enzymes are employed to force the dough to rise quickly. These loaves may then be sprayed with chemicals such as calcium propionate to slow the growth of mould.
In contrast, ‘real’ bread is made with simple, natural ingredients, proven over many centuries to be a beneficial part of the human diet.
Expensive marketing may tempt us with ‘healthier’ factory loaves but these are usually not very different from standard lines, except you will probably be charged a premium for the privilege of a few further additions to the ingredients list.
That’s helpful to know! So, what’s Real Bread Week all about and how can I get involved?
It’s a big year for the Real Bread Week – now officially in its baker’s dozen year! Here are the three main ways you can get involved.
Shop at a local, independent, Real Bread bakery: Look for The Loaf Mark! Here’s is a handy list of places to buy Real Bread and where to learn to make their own.
Support the Real Bread Campaign by sharing photos on social media using #WeAreRealBread, a hashtag launched in 2019 to help encourage greater diversity and inclusion in the world of Real Bread. Social media is awash with photos of bread, so this hashtag is to celebrate the people behind the rise of Real Bread.
Here’s how to share your #RealBread story:
- Buy or bake Real Bread
- Post a photo on social media of yourself making, or with, it using #WeAreRealBread alongside other relevant hashtags
If you run a class or bakery team, see if they’d like to be in the photo, too. The Real Bread campaign team also love to see cereal farmers and millers in action. (Remember, this hashtag is for use with pictures of people, not just bread!)
You can also visit the Real Bread website to find all or any of the following information and opportunities: