Wild thing, you make my loaf spring

This year the Real Bread Campaign launches Sourdough September, Britain’s first ever national celebration of the original, and many people would say still the best, form of leavened Real Bread.

image001For thirty days, natural leaven loving loafmongers around the land will be sharing their passion, demystifying desem, bigging up backferment and lavishing love on lievito naturale.

New Campaign ambassador Duncan Glendinning of the Thoughtful Bread Company in Bath said: ‘For me, the best Real Bread combines great crust, depth of flavour and fantastic crumb. Sourdough is the only bread capable of delivering all of these and the only type that actually improves with age.’

Campaign coordinator Chris Young added ‘Happily Britain is rediscovering the delicious delights of Real Bread made with just flour, water, salt, time and care. Plain sourdough has the simplest recipe of any loaf and yet, like alchemists, the most skilled bakers can transform these three basic ingredients into a whole world of gold medal Real Breads.’

Bakers, baking schools, mills and food festivals are adding details of their ‘wild yeast’ wingdings to the Real Bread Campaign’s online events calendar up to and throughout September. So far, highlights of sourdough sharing shenanigans organised by Campaign ambassadors and more of the nation’s finest Real Bread bakers include:

· Aidan Chapman’s Phoenix Bakery in Weymouth is shunning baker’s yeast for a whole month, instead using only using sourdough starter for all of his Real Bread

· Andrew Whitley launches fungalnetwork.com on 2nd September to connect people who use and share Bread Matters’ starter (descended from the one given to him in Kostroma in Russia in the 1990s) and holding a two-day Sourdough Special course in the Scottish Borders on the 21stand 22nd

· Roger and Sally Birt’s Red Dog Bakery in north Devon is running a sourdough baking class on the 6th and tasting on the 7th

· The Hornbeam Bakers Collective introduce sourdough in their alternative breads class in Walthamstow on the 8th

· Tom Herbert will cover sourdough as part of his baking masterclass at Hobbs House School in Chipping Sodbury on 11thand 24th

· Carrie Winger shares sourdough techniques in an Allendale Bakery class in Hexham on the 14th

· Robin van Creveld will be Going Wild for two days of dosas, dhokra and other sourdough breads at Lewes Community Kitchen on the 20thand 21st

· Chris and Joanna Brennan will be running sourdough start-up classes on 28thand 29thas part of Aldeburgh Food and Drink Festival’s new Bread Zone

On Twitter, @RealBread is running SourDOH! inviting people to name and shame sourdough shams by posting photos using the #sourdoh hashtag, and joining the #RealBread conversation.

Genuine sourdough bread is leavened only using a live starter culture produced by mixing flour and water to nurture one or more species of yeast and lactic acid bacteria that occur naturally on the surface of cereal grains, and therefore in the flour. As well as developing a greater depth and complexity of flavour, aroma, and texture than commercial baker’s yeast, some studies have found long fermentation using a sourdough starter to have a range of dietary benefits. The Real Bread Campaign calls for more research into these.

People can find details of these and more events, facts and FAQs about sourdough, information on the potential benefits of eating sourdough Real Bread, a list of baking schools, the Real Bread Finder map directory of more than 570 small, local bakeries around the UK, and how to join the Campaign at:www.realbreadcampaign.org

Part of the charity Sustain: The alliance for better food and farming, the Real Bread Campaign finds and shares ways to make bread better for us, better for our communities and better for the planet.

With membership open to everyone who cares about the state of bread in Britain, the Campaign simply defines Real Bread as made without the use of processing aids or any other artificial additives.

Together We Rise!

The Campaign is working to secure funding for 2014 onwards, with a main focus on helping people who, for one reason or another, have a tougher time than most of us to benefit from the therapeutic, employment and social opportunities that making Real Bread by hand offers.

More details of our plans can be found at: http://bit.ly/NVGPoi

Some sourdough facts


· …bread’s origins are unknown. The oldest existing records that appear to show leavened bread making are from Egypt, with estimated dates around 5000 years ago…though nobody’s certain.

· …cultures are easy to start at home in a matter of days using just wholemeal flour (thriving with yeasts and lactic acid bacteria that live all around us, notably on the surface of cereal grains) and water

· …bakers use various terms to refer to their cultures, including starter, chef, levain and mother

· …is not yeast free! Labelling it as such could fall foul of consumer protection laws

· …cultures are all different, some containing Saccharomyces cerevisiae, aka baker’s or brewer’s yeast, the same species (though almost certainly a different strain) as commercial yeast

· …doesn’t have to taste sour. Skilled bakers control the conditions in which their starters are cultured, and doughs are made, to ensure that the levels of sour, vinegary acetic acid produced don’t overwhelm the subtler lactic acid.

· …cultures can evolve over time, so that ‘150 year old’ starter might not contain the same balance or even species of bacteria and yeasts it did even a few years ago.

· …has been shown to reduce the glycaemic index (GI) of bread http://bit.ly/11i1OTc

The Real Bread Campaign’s sourdough page: http://bit.ly/pq5gcn

Some sourdough research: http://bit.ly/xSRZJq

Real Bread Campaign initiatives include…

· Knead to Know: the Real Bread starter The guide to setting up a successful Community Supported Bakery or home-based microbakery has sold more than 2000 copies and is now published by food and drink specialist Grub Street

· The Real Bread Finder The only online directory dedicated to helping people find where to buy Real Bread locally in now used by more than 570 bakeries. Free for bakers to add, and people to seek, local places to buy Real Bread.

· The Real Bread Loaf Mark is helping more than 120 bakers to show, and countless shoppers to see, ‘this is Real Bread!’

· Membership The Campaign’s mutually-supportive national network helps bakers and everyone else who cares about the state of bread in Britain to connect with each other to ask for and share ideas and information to help the rise of Real Bread. Membership fees, at four accessible levels from individuals to large companies, help to fund the Campaign’s work.

SOURDOUGH SEPTEMBER what will YOU be doughing for Britain’s first ever sourdough celebration? http://bit.ly/13CYWCv

KNEAD TO KNOW is back in print! Read about our book and exclusive 33% discount offer at: http://bit.ly/gsZV5z

Source: Sustain