The Chorleywood Bread Process ‘CBP’ has almost been the death of traditional breadmaking.
“The Chorleywood process wasn’t introduced until 1961 but by 2009 was used to make 80% of the United Kingdom’s bread. Compared to the older bulk fermentation process, the CBP is able to produce bread in a shorter time period while using lower-protein wheat.”
Source: Wikipedia (edited)
In short, the CBP has allowed the mass producers to use low-quality ingredients to produce cheap bread – something we have all come to rely on over time.
Gluten intolerance is a relatively recent and over-diagnosed phenomenon.
The upshot of CBP has been the increased use of additives and preservatives in our daily bread. This has resulted in an increasing number of people experiencing digestive intolerances.
That is not to say that everybody has suddenly become coeliac (a very serious medical condition) or gluten-intolerant (more common, but not quite as common as some people might believe).
A significant proportion of self-diagnosed ‘gluten intolerants’ found that when they switched from supermarket bread (made under CBP) to artisan bread (made using traditional methods), their symptoms disappeared.
Traditions surrounding bread are among the oldest worldwide.
“Nobody’s bigger than bread”.
– Bulgarian saying
The “bread and salt” tradition is probably one of the most famous Bulgarian traditions. It is a ritual that is performed when a new person is welcomed into the home – a piece of a freshly-baked loaf is offered to the newcomer together with a pinch of salt.
A variation on this is used in Jewish tradition, involving the gift of bread, salt and sugar, usually as a housewarming present to bestow luck and good fortune on the new homeowners:
“Bread, so that you shall never know hunger”,
“Salt, so your life shall always have flavour”,
“And sugar, so your life shall always have sweetness”.
Elsewhere, in Mexico, bread also takes on the role of an offering; however, not to the living… but to the dead. Pan de Muertos (“bread of the dead”) is baked on the 1st and 2nd of November (Day of the Dead – a Mexican holiday) and left as an offering on the graves of loved ones or shared amongst family and friends. It is flavoured with anise or orange flower water, then covered in sugar and decorated with dough-shaped skull and crossbones.
Conclusion: At Bean & Grain, we do love our bread!
Bread was the reason that Bean & Grain was set up in the first place (see About Us – Our Story), it makes sense to apply the same thinking around local, responsibly produced artisan food and drink to the whole sector.