Today marks the start of Real Bread Week (23 February to 3 March), an initiative by the Real Bread Campaign which seeks to find ways to make this daily staple better for us – and the planet.
According to the RBC, ‘real’ bread comes without any additives or processing aids – this means no ‘fast acting’ or ‘easy bake’ stuff within any of the ingredients. We love the work they do – supporting local bakeries and community projects.
It made us think about what an important and versatile food bread is: whether you start the day with buttery toast, tuck into sandwiches at lunch or dunk chunks of fresh baguette into soup for dinner. That you can enjoy different flours, methods and ingredients like olives or cheese makes this staple really exciting.
And, while it takes practise to perfect, making your own bread isn’t too difficult.
What you’ll pretty much always need for any bread recipe:
Large mixing bowl
A measuring jug
A loaf tin
A tea towel
A wire cooling/cake rack
Yeast (but not ‘instant’ types)
A good place to start bread-making is with Sid Price’s Overnight White, a recipe that’s been going since the 1940s, thanks to its strength, texture and taste. It’s not quick but it sure is easy.
We also rate spelt bread – not least because it is so simple to make; spelt is one of the easiest doughs to knead. This Joan Ransley recipe is a staple when it comes to spelt.
Making sourdough can be quite a challenge but a well-made loaf can be nothing short of inspiring. There are no fewer than 50 different recipes to choose from at The Sourdough School. The trick is to have holes, but not too many holes!
One of the benefits of bread-making is that you’ll save money and always have lovely presents to take to friends.
Last but not least, in the spirit of saving, a tip from the top: grate any stale bread into crumbs and freeze for using on chicken kiev, cauliflower cheese or homemade scotch eggs.