It’s Real Bread Week from 22 February to 1 March, and we are keen supporters. As a bakery that is invested in healthy eating and understanding just what our food is made of, we want to tell you more about the ingredients in your loaf.
What is Real Bread Week all about?
It’s not surprising that this is a bit of a passion for me. At Hunnypot Cottage Bakery we are members of the Real Bread Campaign, run by the charity Sustain. Real bread is simply
"Bread is that made without the use of processing aids or any other artificial additives.”
How is Real Bread different to mass produced loaves?
Sustain focus on healthy alternatives in bread – and that includes the fermentation process. To be counted as real bread your loaf should use fresh or wild yeast and no unnecessary additives.
Mass produced bread not only contains artificial additives, there are plenty of other extras that you might not be aware of. These include baking powder or other chemicals such as dried yeast for a rapid rise, and a quick spray with anti-mould chemicals too.
There is NO need for the dough improvers that commercial companies use. In fact it is these that most people find difficult to digest, or are even allergic to - especially the soya flour and not the gluten as commonly assumed.
But what does a dough improver or a flour treatment agent do? They are used to increase the speed of dough rising and to improve the strength and workability of the dough. The ingredients list may simply state dough improver or flour treatment agent, but if you are really lucky you will get a list of E numbers or the names in full.
Sounds delicious, right? No, not at all. An alternative could be to make your own – but are the ingredients you buy from the supermarket any better?
If you want make your own – and when you are buying for that matter - I always recommend you check the label of ingredients, especially of any mixes you might use to make sure no unnecessary chemicals get into your dough that way. In particular, keep an eye out for flours and mixes that contain ascorbic acid or added enzymes.
What are the ingredients in Real Bread?
Let’s start by looking at flour – and what is permitted? By law in the UK white flour has four fortificants – and so these are begrudgingly accepted by the campaign. These are added to most flour, especially white, ever since the law was first introduced in 1941.
- calcium carbonate (chalk),
- thiamin (vitamin B1) and
- nicotinic acid or nicotinamide
As well as flour, the other simple ingredients in a Real Bread loaf will contain:
That’s all you need for a beautiful white loaf. You can either leave it this simple, or turn it into a meal in itself with the addition of one or two other ingredients.
Compare one of our white bloomers to a supermarket loaf.
(Wheat Flour, Calcium Carbonate, Iron, Niacin, Thiamin),
Wheat Flour (Wheat Flour, Calcium Carbonate, Iron, Niacin, Thiamin)
Vegetable Oils [Rapeseed Oil, Palm Oil]
Preservative (Calcium Propionate)
Emulsifiers (Mono- and Diacetyl Tartaric Acid Esters of Mono- and Diglycerides of Fatty Acids, Mono- and Diglycerides of Fatty Acids) Flour Treatment Agent (Ascorbic Acid).
Do all bakeries list their ingredients?
When you buy direct from a bakery it’s not always easy to find out the ingredients. By law they don’t have to list them, even if they bag up some rolls for sale.
However, if they sell their breads at other outlets and they are bagged then they have to provide a full list . Try asking your local bakery what is in their bread and see what happens.
At Hunnypot Cottage we are currently listing all our ingredients on our website, and always have full labelling on our breads when we are at events – all part of our commitment to being as transparent as possible.
Where to buy Real Bread?
Have we convinced you to avoid those unnecessary chemicals and enjoy a real loaf? Great – but where do you buy real bread from? Hunnypot Cottage Bakery, of course.
We make is as simple as possible – it doesn’t even matter if you are not local as we can post our loaves out to you.
Even better - sign up to our monthly subscription boxes for a regular taste of something fresh and different. And when you have discovered the better taste and healthier digestion you get from a real bread, learn how to make your own on one of our courses.
Support the #RealBread Campaign
You may be lucky enough to have a #RrealBread bakery near you. If so, please do use them and shout their praises. As James Beard (an American cook, author and tv personality) said “Good bread is the most fundamentally satisfying of all foods; and good bread with fresh butter, the greatest of feasts.”