What is Slow Bread?
The dimensions used by Slow Food to assess the quality of any food apply equally to bread, i.e. it must:
- Taste good
- Be cleanly produced (which means it will be better for you and the planet)
- Be fairly produced (to encourage the return of craft bakers)
Hand in hand with the quality of the bread comes a regard for our culinary heritage, which is often endangered by so-called progress.
With regard to bread, the word Slow could not be more appropriate since the factor that has done the most damage to our bread since the 1960s is speed. For in 1961 the Chorleywood Bread-making Process was invented, based primarily upon a really fast dough mixer, but also involving more yeast and higher temperatures than conventional bread-making. This enabled the initial “bulk fermentation” period to be cut from three hours to a few minutes.
The vast majority of bread is now made in large factories by the Chorleywood process, with much of it then being transported to supermarkets for baking. At the time it was hailed as a tremendous advance, yet since 1960 our per capita bread consumption has halved. Of course, there may be many reasons for this, but amongst them, a growing number of people are saying that they avoid bread because it makes them feel unwell, bloating being the most frequently reported symptom.
In the past bakers often left their bread to rise in a cool place overnight, then shaped and baked it in the morning. Experiments have shown that most people who have problems with modern bread find that their symptoms either completely disappear or are at least greatly diminished when they eat bread that has been fermented for at least 10 hours. This traditional lengthy period of fermentation also develops a better flavour in the bread.
Through our network of members, including bakers and millers, Slow Food UK aims to:
- Educate the public about the taste and health benefits of Slow Bread.
- Record those bakers who continue to produce our wonderful rich heritage of regional sweet breads and buns.
- In association with other organisations develop and implement solutions that ensure the future of the traditional craft of bread making.
How Can You Help?
FIRST STEP. Download our Slow Bread Survey and complete it. Thank you. (More news and opportunities to be involved later).
For more information (or to join Slow Food) contact Fiona Richmond on 01584 813771 or email firstname.lastname@example.org