According to Chris Young, coordinator of the Real Bread Campaign, the sector experienced a surge last year as the pandemic reminded people of the importance of getting back to their roots. Bonds between bakers and customers were strengthened, and the place of independent bakeries at the hearts of their local communities was reinforced.
This has undoubtedly set the stage for a spiced-up Real Bread Week – to be held from 20-28 February – the annual celebration of baking additive-free loaves and the people behind their rise.
Real Bread Week was created by Sustain, the charity behind the Real Bread Campaign, in 2010, with the aim to root out and share ways to make bread better for us, for our communities and the planet.
“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,” said Young.
What’s doughing on?
Like previous years, a raft of educational sessions and exciting activities have been planned for Real Bread Week, hosted by bakeries, baking schools, mills, grain networks and community groups. The industry is also using the week to dial up their efforts in giving to those in need.
Hen Corner is hosting online classes on How to make bread (22 February) and Microbakery (26 February). For every bakery order and class booking in the week, the London-based bakery will bake an extra loaf for Hounslow Community FoodBox.
For every loaf bought on 26 February, Ma Baker will donate loaves to the Hammersmith and Fulham Foodbank.
Scotland The Bread is inviting consumers to buy Solidarity Bags of heritage wheat flour, which will then be sent to bakeries and community organisations to distribute to local people to craft into ‘real’ bread.
Toast x Hobbs House Bakery is launching Baker’s Witbeer on 25 February. The beer is brewed using surplus slices of organic bread, and is the first beer to carry The Real Bread Loaf mark. Part of Toast’s Rise Up campaign with fellow B Corps, highlighting the negative environmental impact of our food system to galvanise action ahead of COP26 (25th)
Virtuous Bread is hosting free Zoom bake-alongs on 21 and 28 February.
To celebrate Real Bread makers, Balcony Shirts is producing limited edition Ts, aprons and mugs featuring ‘This Is What a Real Bread Baker Looks Like design’. For each item sold, the company will ‘doughnate’ a slice of the proceedings to the Real Bread Campaign.
The Campaign is calling on all Real Bread makers to share #WeAreRealBread selfies of themselves in action. Consumers are not excluded and are invited to post selfies with the #RealBread they’ve purchased. According to Young, last year saw more than 2,000 posts coming in from almost 50 countries.
Support us to support you
The Real Bread Campaign is a not-for-profit platform that relies on contributions from the public – through donations or buying goodies from the Real Break shop – to support its effort to buoy the microbakery sector. Items for sale include:
- Real Bread Ts, mugs and aprons from Balcony Shirts
- A Real Bread dough-scoring UFO lame from Wire Monkey
- Sourdough Slingers Ts and aprons
- The Real Bread baking box from Bakers Love Britain
- ‘Slow Dough: Real Bread’, a collection of healthy slow-rise bread recipes published by Nourish Books
The campaign is also working hard to promote the sector, especially in these unprecedented times, and offers a free-to-download map of over 1,000 bakeries where people can swing by – or order online – to buy real bread. Consumers are also reassured of purchasing 100% additive-free loaves by looking out for The Real Bread Loaf Mark.