This week’s Food Programme dissects our national loaf. How is most bread made and what goes into it? And is the time ripe for a new, real bread campaign?
Andrew Whitley, philosopher/baker and author of Bread Matters, invites Sheila into his kitchen as he bakes a batch of his low-yeast, slow fermented bread, and back in the studio Paul Molyneux of the Federation of Bakers responds to concerns about the nutritional value of mass-produced breads.
During 200 years of industrialisation modern bread has evolved to suit the mass scale. Roller milling, invented in the late 19th century, produced the first truly white flour with bran and wheatgerm removed. The British Empire brought bakers high-protein wheats capable of rising and stretching in a way UK lower-protein grains found difficult. And in 1961 a piece of British technical wizardry in the form of the Chorleywood Bread Process finally allowed those UK grown, lower-protein wheats to achieve that same fluffyness through high speed mixing and additives.
For some, the changes have not been without cost both to the flavour of the breads we eat, and their nutritional value.