I had a fabulous day last week making bread. On a visit to Wright’s flour mill I, and 10 editors from publications such as BBC Good Food magazine, met for a breadmaking day organised by the Flour Advisory Bureau. The object of the day was to help the editors appreciate the value and contents of good bread made with excellent flour. It was a great success.
Our demonstrator for the day was celebrity baker Paul Hollywood, whom I desperately hope will move from cable to terrestrial TV soon. Paul is the son of a baker and a great baker and communicator in his own right, who has been baking since the age of 12!
All 10 editors had the choice of making a white loaf or a seeded wholemeal. I chose the wholemeal adding pumpkin, sesame and poppy seeds to experiment. It stayed fresh and delicious for days and little that was left has just disappeared as toast.
So, what constitutes good bread? It is a question that is being asked more and more in the national press. On page 16 several of Andrew Whitley’s key points from his book Bread Matters are put under the spotlight. He is highly critical of plant bread. We give those involved in plant breadmaking the opportunity to answer back. Craft baker Norman Olley agrees with Andrew Whitley, but do you?
Also on the craft front this week we look at a rising star among the next generation of bakers. Apollonia Poilane (pg 22) took over the family business when she was 18 and is baking loaves that sell for around £10. It is a niche business baking beautiful breads, brioches, which has used public relations to its advantage.
Which brings me back to a point made by Paul Hollywood. He believes that if you make good craft bread then you must tell your customers about it face to face.
I believe he is absolutely right! Plants and supermarkets have the money to advertise their brands on a massive scale. But craft bakers can produce leaflets and make sure they speak to their customers. Most of the public do not have a clue about bread; the only way they will ever know is if you tell them.