Did you turn your hand to baking sourdough in 2020? Many people were prompted to by the sight of empty shelves in supermarkets and the desire to master a new skill during lockdown but, though so many tried baking bread, only a few seem to have continued to nurture their starter dough into 2021. The Real Bread Campaign has been promoting the joys of fresh bread before it was cool and #RealBreadWeek is here at the perfect time to bring some renewed enthusiasm to our tables.
The Real Bread Campaign
The campaign began in 2010 to encourage people to support local independent bakeries and bake their own to discover (then never want to give up!) the delights of fresh, homemade bread. This year, the dedicated #RealBreadWeek is running from 20 to 28th February and marks an annual, international celebration designed to spread the word about real bread. Sustain, the charity behind Real Bread Week, aims to promote food and agriculture policies and practices that enhance the health and welfare of people and animals, improve working and living environments, and support equity to enrich society and culture. As the campaign coordinator, Chris Young, says: “We’re working towards a future in which everyone has the chance to choose Real Bread, whether skilfully crafted by a local baker or lovingly made at home.” Aside from efforts in our own kitchens, the campaign is happy to report the surge in popularity extending to buying habits and microbakery start-ups.
Let’s get baking!
If you feel like joining the celebrations this weekend, why not check out the ‘Bake‘ section of their website? As well as the traditional favourites you may have dabbled in, there are also recipes for the more unusual like farinata (a delicious flatbread made with chickpea flour) and pulla (traditional Finnish cardamom buns).
There are some great recipes to help you build confidence when substituting ingredients, tweaking recipes to suit your pantry and offering great alternatives to make your food shop go a little further. Low on flour but don’t want to compromise on flavour? Why not try couscous bread, porridge bread, or rice bread? Do you have a dwindling supply of yeast? Have a go at making overnight white as it only requires a tiny amount of yeast but still produces one large loaf.
Do all these loaves look a little high maintenance? If you’re short on time, or would have difficulty kneading, you can let time and water do the work by trying long fermented no knead bread.
Want a helping hand?
If you’re too busy balancing home schooling and your own work, or are new to baking, then why not try out bread kits or mixes? In our blog post predicting the hottest baking trends of 2021 we saw that the increasing popularity of baking during lockdown has led to a surge in kits that allow you to easily bake and create at home. So, if you’re new to baking and unsure where to start, then you’re in luck! Many are available online and offer a nice way to support independent bakers and small businesses. If you’re unsure where to start, our recent collaboration with Wright’s Baking showed that they not only have flour for delivery but also bread and cake mixes available on their website.
You can use the handy map on the Real Bread Campaign website and choose from over 1,000 stores to locate your local bakeries (and everything from baking classes, to equipment, to independent flour mills) to sample real bread made by the professionals. The campaign normally offers in-person classes with everyone from youth groups to care home residents but this year, as this sadly cannot happen, they are offering virtual classes. On 28th February there will be a free bake-along via Zoom to have some fun and reinforce the place of independent bakeries at the heart of local communities. Fancy trying more bake-alongs? Check out our own Virtual Events to experience an entertaining evening with fellow food lovers and support our mission to keep the community connected and sharing their talents during these unprecedented times.
Last year #WeAreRealBread and #RealBreadWeek saw more than 2,000 posts on social media from at least 37 countries. We’d love to see the loaves you’ve baked or bought, so if you take part don’t forget to tag us @aircook4you on Instagram and @AirCookforYou on Twitter! Baking offers a wonderful way to spend an evening with your family or a new hobby that can yield some seriously impressive (and tasty) results, so whether you’re an avid baker ready to experiment with new flavours or a newbie wanting to have a go, let’s make every week Real Bread Week.