With the issue of additives in bread now firmly on the radar I thought it would be helpful if I outlined the advice from The Real Bread Campaign (RBC) and their definition of real bread.
- must be made of flour, water, yeast (natural or processed) and salt (optional)
- must not contain ‘improvers’, additives or processing aids (including enzymes) of any kind
- may include other natural food ingredients such as nuts, fruits, vegetables and fats, providing these themselves contain no colourings, flavours, emulsifiers, humectants, stabilisers, fillers or additives of any kind
- must not be made only with refined white flour; stoneground white flour is permissible and higher extraction rate flours are recommended
- must be fermented for a minimum of four hours
- must be mixed, fermented and baked in one continuous operation, i.e. part-baked, bake-off, frozen & re-heated and similar products are not allowed.
While I acknowledge this issue feeds into (no pun intended) the wider debate about the industrialised nature of current food production it appears apparent that industrial baking methods which supplies 95% of the market is environmentally damaging.
The alternative according to the RBC which London Muslim supports is:
bread made with simple ingredients, no additives or
‘processing aids’ (the undeclared enzymes widely used in industrial baking) and appropriately fermented for flavour, digestibility and nutritional quality. This could be called ‘real’ bread, because it contains only what most people would regard as food and it is made with simple processes that rely on integrity, patience and skill, not sleight of hand.