Bakery technology manager, Campden BRI

As we all know, this year sees the 50th anniversary of the Chorleywood Bread Process, and this has again opened the debate within the industry about what is the best method of bread-making. Some say it is long fermentation, traditional methods, and others say no-time dough methods are fine. Surely there is room for all types of breads? They all have their place.

I’ve been in the industry for 40 years and, more than anything, I notice the evolution of the industry and an increased consumer choice. This is what we should be shouting about. If you want sourdough bread, then it is available, if you want a cheap sliced loaf, no problem.

Modern methods are not necessarily bad, traditional methods are not necessarily good. What’s new today will be traditional tomorrow. But it is not an option to ’stand still’. We all have to embrace new ideas and technologies, whether we like it or not, even the traditionalists use modern wheat varieties, spiral mixers and travelling ’stone’ soled ovens.

What we as an industry should be doing is combining our forces against the common foe those who say, for whatever reason, bread is bad. For example, there has been a lot in the media recently about bake-off breads being inferior. Why? It gives consumers more choice and tempts them to buy more bread. But like all methods, it must be done properly. Product quality, as perceived by the consumer, is the most important factor; to do this, we need to understand the science and technology of the methods used, which inevitably leads to new ideas.

So let the consumer choose what they want and let’s have less of the "my bread is better than yours"! All bread is good.