We were invited onto the Frances Finn show at BBC radio Nottingham this morning, where David and I (both bakery students at The School of Artisan Food) were asked to talk about real bread.
See link to the show - you will need to move the cursor to begin our slot at 0:47:31 and ending at 0:1:13 http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/console/p00fmjjk
The key topics that came up were;
1) The supermarkets getting into hot water about selling defrosted/baked off bread as freshly baked
2) Carbohydrate count means dieters say ‘no’ to bread due to bloating
3) Why does it take so long and why does it take a year to learn how to make bread?
4) Challenge for craft bakers (2%market) versus the plant bakers (90%)
1) Supermarkets are selling bread as fresh when actually it has been part-baked and then frozen for months before being defrosted, baked off and sold – without the consumers knowing any different. EU legislation is due to come into play to enforce supermarkets to label those products that have been defrosted for sale. The Sunday Times and The Telegraph both covered this story: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/foodanddrink/8414653/The-truth-about-your-supermarket-loaf.html What’s your view?
2) We explained that there is evidence to show that long fermentation and particularly the sourdough variety breaks down the gluten and allows the body to digest the bread much easier. The entire bread making process is shortened to gain scale and margins and so from starting on the production line to finishing, the loaf only takes 3hrs– without a bakers hand actually touching it! See my Hovis blog: http://tartntoast.blogspot.com/2011/01/hovis-still-as-good-as-they-have-always.html
3) The starter culture for sourdough or ‘mother’ as some call it takes around a week to get started but this can then be replenished every time you want to bake and can be kept for years and years. Hobbs house make their signature spelt sourdough with starter that originated over 40 years ago! We also explained that you need to understand the chemical reactions that are happening at each stage so that you gain the best crust and the perfect crumb depending on the loaf you are making. As David so eloquently put it – We think its magical but its not magical to make.
4) It is a massive challenge for craft bakers to spend time to produce a real loaf when the supermarkets have eroded the value to mere pence! I believe it is a question of priority and getting more people in our communities to try real bread. Hence why we are investing time and money into this course to learn the forgotten skills that we plan to pass on to others. We also talked value for money with an artisan loaf. There is such wastage spent on BOGOF deals and loaves of fresh air that it makes much more economical sense to pay a little more for an artisan loaf that has been lovingly prepared the traditional way with no 'Improvers'. Improvers are added to the ingredients in plant bakeries so that the dough accommodates the machine and process rather than the other way round.
We would have loved to talk more, but there was only so much air time !