The Real Bread Campaign has a definition of real bread that includes what is and what is not included.
These are the principles that I aim to follow with my baking. I got tired of 50:50 and other pappy shop-bought long-life loaves that cost a fortune. Baking, even with supermarket ingredients is cheaper and tastes better. On this site I’ll try to list all the things I put in my baking and refer to the sources of inspiration and recipes I’ve used.
Currently I source my ingredients from the major supermarkets near where I live, so the choice is usually Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Waitrose, or the Co-op, with occasional forays off-piste into ASDA or Morrison’s, Lidl or Aldi. Dan Lepard says it’s OK to use supermarket flours as the basis for loaves so that’s cool with me, although I have been trying some of the less common flours as part of a loaf.
So, as the RBC says, everyone will have his or her own idea of what constitutes real bread. The Campaign believes that the only essential ingredients of bread are:
- Yeast – cultured or naturally occurring (as in sourdough), though some flatbreads don’t even need yeast
Additional ingredients are great as long as they are natural (e.g. seeds, nuts, cheese, herbs, oils, fats and dried fruits) and contain no artificial additives.
If you add anything but salt to butter, you have to call it something else; if you add anything at all to milk, it’s no longer milk. So why does similar legal protection not apply to that other staple food: bread?
The making of what we call Real Bread does not involve the use of any processing aids, artificial additives, flour ‘improvers’, dough conditioners, preservatives, chemical leavening or, well, artificial anything.
Which is more than can be said for many of the products out there that are marketed as bread.
E481 (sodium stearoyl-2-lactylate), E472e (mono- and diacetyl tartaric acid esters of mono- and diglycerides of fatty acids), E920 (l-cysteine), E282 (calcium propionate), E220 (potassium sorbate), E300 (ascorbic acid), E260 (acetic acid) soya flour, vegetable fat and dextrose are just some of the other things that you might find in an industrial loaf.
What’s more, its production also could have substances including phospholipase, fungal alpha amylase, transglutaminase, xylanase, maltogenic amylase, hemicellulase, oxidase, peptidase and protease but legally, the manufacturer wouldn’t have to declare so on the label.
This could apply to a wrapped/sliced factory loaf or one from a supermarket in-store bakery. The latter does not even have to have an ingredients label to help you make an informed choice.