Breaking Bread

In an age of instant messaging and busy working lives, it is not always easy to spend quality time with the ones you love, but this February we have found the perfect hands-on date for you and your Valentine, or a new hobby to share with friends and family, and it lies in discovering bread. Whether you try out a bread making class, visit a Real Breads bakery or give it a go at home, it’s a great opportunity to get creative while supporting a worthy cause.

The Real Breads Campaign was founded by the charity Sustain – an alliance working for better food and farming – in order to promote additive-free bread and to support those who make it. Their week-long annual celebration, Real Bread Week, will begin on the 22nd of February in 2020, and their informative website shines a light on all of the positive influences that the campaign is spreading across the UK.

Despite professional bread making requiring great artistry, the basics are actually much more accessible than you might think; it’s even suitable for kids! Check out books and online resources to demystify the seemingly daunting task of DIY breads, and you’ll soon see how baking can fit into a busy schedule. Even though the average recipe will take over an hour, more time goes into proving and baking than the steps that actually require input from you, leaving long intervals for spending some quality time with those you love, playing with the kids, getting some exercise, or even ticking off a few chores so that you have a clear head by the time your loaf is ready to eat.

If you can’t have or don’t eat gluten, never fear as there are plenty of gluten-free alternatives available. Start with Naomi Devlin’s gluten-free baguette recipe here: or have a go at Chris Stafferton’s tasty buckwheat and chia bread with this recipe:

There are many benefits of additive-free, locally made bread so we’ve outlined the top three:

  • They are better for us, because these loaves do not contain preservatives or additives and bakeries with the Real Bread stamp of approval stick to nutritional guidelines
  • The Real Bread campaign helps communities through its support for local bakeries, as well as educating people about the therapeutic process of bread making.
  • Real Bread is sustainable, making the planet happy!

The latest addition to Meze’s collection of regional cook books explores the beautiful scenery and exciting food and drink scene in Surrey, and just so happens to contain a recipe from the county’s very own Real Bread Campaign ambassador. Jack Sturgess, whose business is known as Bake with Jack, shares his recipe for a deliciously sweet and savoury apricot, sunflower seed and yoghurt batard in the book. Sign up to our monthly newsletter here for an exclusive first look at the recipe!

Once you have perfected your favourite savoury loaf, why not use a couple of slices to try out the mouth-watering Sausage and Sticky Cider Onion Toastie recipe by catering company The Drunken Mouse which also features in The Surrey Cook Book. Pre-order your copy in our bookshop here.

If you have already ventured into the delights of home bread making, and are interested in learning from professionals, the Real Bread campaign also promotes and supports events such as bread making classes and talks. They even provide a helpful map so that you can find one near you: