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EditorialsFergus Byrne Summer 11 People & Food

Fergus Byrne Summer 11 People & Food

Reading through Simon Ford’s article about bread and the ‘quiet revolution’ that is taking place in the baking industry, reminded me that the Chorleywood Bread Process he mentions – the process that allows large bakeries to speed up breadmaking – will be fifty years old this summer. It’s quite a milestone when you consider what a huge amount of additives and improvers have found their way into what for many youngsters has been a huge part of their daily diet. Even more thought provoking is the fact that most people beyond fifty five are likely to have consumed more than 3,000 loaves of the stuff so far. There is an argument that the human body has the ability to build new defences against much of the alien matter that gets thrown at it by the modern world. But I don’t buy that. It’s not a strong argument and those making it usually have another agenda. The organisers of the ‘Real Bread Campaign’, a group devoted to highlighting and promoting old fashioned breadmaking have recently been running a competition to design a ‘pappy birthday’ card to highlight the Chorleywood Process anniversary and have enlisted the help of Michel Roux Jr as one of their judges. He says ‘The Chorleywood Bread Process is past its sell-by date. It was in part to blame for the loss of the once great British baking industry and the disappearance of our local bakeries, which has been a factor in the sad demise of many a high street.’ It’s good to see organisations like the ‘Real Bread Campaign’ getting support and the ‘quiet revolution’ opening up a market for old fashioned high street bakeries. What’s not so great is the news that the price of wheat has risen to record highs this season. Although that will affect high street prices it apparently hasn’t helped local farmers. According to Justin Lascelles, associate director at rural consultant Savills, farmers could have bought 211 pints of bitter for a tonne of wheat in 1981 – today they could only afford 65 pints. Now that’s serious.

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