We’re currently in Real Bread Week which is gaining a lot of interest nationwide. There’s been a lot of coverage in the press, on TV and online. You might have seen some of the programmes talking about the difference between mass-produced, supermarket-style bread and bread that’s made locally by your local baker.

The campaign stipulates that the you only need four ingredients to make bread: flour, water, salt and yeast. Nothing else is necessary. You might want to add other ingredients for flavour but the core of any real bread are the four basics. Keep it simple. Don’t complicate things.

Look on the back of a loaf of bread sitting on a shelf in a supermarket. Count the ingredients. There will be a lot more than four. Often, they contain soya flour, preservatives, volumisers and the all encompassing ‘bread improvement agent.’ This is a glorious combination of chemicals added to bread to make it bigger, lighter and whiter. It will last longer on the shelf but what on earth will all those extra ingredients do to your gut? Why is it that more and more people find modern bread so hard to digest and are looking for alternatives?

I believe that real bread is the future. We can’t keep on adding chemicals to our foods and hoping everything will be okay. Cheap bread is one of the most processed foods there is. Yet there is something magical about taking flour, water, yeast and salt and turning it into a glorious loaf of bread. It’s a great thing to do and very rewarding.

Of course, the stand-out loaf of the real bread campaign is the sourdough. Here we replace bakers’ yeast with a sourdough starter, a mixture of naturally occurring yeasts and flour and water. Every bakery makes its sourdough slightly differently. It’s the signature dish of any good baker. I’m proud of ours. It makes a fantastic loaf and people seem to appreciate it. If you haven’t tried it yet, you should.

So many big bakeries and supermarkets try and sell you a sourdough that replaces time, energy and care with yet another set of chemicals. It’s rubbish bread. Don’t touch it. Find yourself a good, local baker. There are a few of us about. Great bread takes time and effort.