Andrew Whitley is a baker with a mission. He wants to stop the 40 year adulteration of our most basic food.
His astonishing book, Breadmatters looks at the ingredients in the eight million loaves eaten by Britons every day.
And he finds a lot more than the flour, water, salt and yeast you'd expect – including GM ingredients, by-products from animal hair and feathers, even enzymes derived from the pancreas of pigs.
In short modern bagged up bread (and sandwiches, rolls, pizzas and croissants) may not be suitable for vegans, vegetarians or some religious groups – including Muslims and Jews.
There's a whole class of additives that are not even declared on the label.
A long time member of Friends of the Earth and the Soil Association, Andrew is furious at how bread got redesigned in the 1960s.
It is white and light and stays soft for days, but for increasing numbers of people, (eg, the wheat/gluten/yeast intolerant) it is inedible.
Andrew is determined that good quality bread must be available to everyone.
What I'm arguing for is a food industry which admits it's taken a few wrong turnings and says 'How could we make our bread as nutritious as possible - at the growing stage, at the milling stage, and at the baking stage?'
Breadmatters is more than just an exposé of industrial baking. It also shows just how easy it is to create your own loaves at home, however busy your life – and is surprisingly positive about breadmakers.
The bread machine is an unusual meeting point of convenience and quality. You know what's going in…and it's often more convenient than going to the shop. If only people would realise how simple it is – you pour the stuff in and press the button.
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