Chris Young, co-ordinator, the Real Bread Campaign
Since my childhood, how things have changed for the better at eateries around the land, where people with passion take real care about not only how food looks and tastes, but the means taken to reach those ends.
Over the past few decades, the wellbeing of people and planet – not to mention animals with fur, feathers or fins – has been recognised and embraced as being as important as the enjoyment of the diner. In many cases, these factors contribute to it.
Though perhaps late to the table, Real Bread is now joining the list of elements of the meal that more and more restaurateurs see bread not just as an afterthought, but a vital part. They understand the value in shunning wholesalers’ part-baked pap to ensure that the quality is equal to the rest of their fare. Heck, in many cases, a slice, roll or hunk of the stuff it the first morsel that diners will experience at the establishment, and we know what’s said about first impressions.
Now momentum is building, the Real Bread Campaign would love to see more eateries:
- Serving what we call Real Bread, by which we simply mean free from artificial additives, which in itself is a great message
- Either buying it from a small, independent, local bakery – and naming it alongside other suppliers on menus, websites etc. or
- or baking Real Bread in-house from scratch
From that simple starting point, opportunities to set yourself apart include:
- Signing up for The Real Bread Loaf Mark scheme
- Adding your loaves to the Real Bread Finder map
- Real Bread made with more flavoursome, higher-fibre flours – great story if those comes from a local, traditional or other independent mill
- Choosing certified organic products
And when better to start than Real Bread Week (7-14 May 2017), the annual celebration of buying and baking additive-free loaves?
In its ninth year, the focus is on fougasse, with the Real Bread Campaign encouraging bakers in its international supporter network to run classes on baking this easy to make Real Bread that lends itself to shape making, from a classic leaf design, to funny faces.
Then, echoing the format of many book and baking clubs, Campaign supporters will host get-togethers for people to try each other’s loaves, compare notes and share baking tips. Even better if this is accompanied by more food and drink from other local, small-batch producers, and perhaps entertainment from local performers. Organisers should add details of their classes and events to the Real Bread Campaign calendar as soon as possible.
Everyone taking part will be welcome to use their own recipe or one shared by Campaign ambassadors Richard Bertinet and Andrew Whitley, or the one in the Campaign’s book Slow Dough: Real Bread.
And if that’s a bit much from your kitchen, then join the budding bakers in sharing photos of baking the fougasse (and other Real Bread you create) on social media using the #realbreadweek hashtag.
Recipes and updates will be posted on the Real Bread Week page of the Campaign’s website.