Latest news from Big Barn and our producers.

Modern bread v real bread?

I went to a bread factory recently and saw how machines and 5 humans make 1 million loaves of fluffy sliced bread that stays fresh for a week. This compares to the 30 minutes I spend per week making two loaves of organic sourdough bread.

The factory bread is made using english wheat flour, water, yeast, added gluten, raising agent, sugar and preservative, and takes 1 hour to ‘prove’ from mix to bake (to allow the bread to rise). My bread is made with organic flour and water and takes 10 hours to prove.

The added gluten, raising agent, preservatives and short proving time is not good for us, but given the choice, and lack of knowledge, most consumers want their bread brilliant white, extra fluffy and sliced. The bread company has even carried out a survey about additives and found that their customers don’t want them to change.

My bread is made with white flour that is actually light brown because it has been slowly, stone ground to leave the wheat germ intact. (the factory flour has been bleached and the germ destroyed by fast steel roller mills). The yeast I use is a live culture kept from a previous loaf and the 10 hours proving time allows the yeast to break down the carbohydrates in the flour to make the bread much easier to digest.

real bread

My bread is not as fluffy but tastes delicious and for ingredients and cooking costs is 50% cheaper than the supermarket price for the factory bread.

No wonder so many people have taken up bread making and buying quality flour.

What I find amazing is that the bread factory could make bread exactly like mine by simply buying better flour, removing the additives and drastically slowing down the proving process.

So I wonder:

Is this ‘bad bread’ causing gluten intolerance and contributing to diabetes and increased NHS cost? Should the government sponsor a campaign about the virtues of quality bread to improve health and reduce NHS cost?

Or the curriculum include bread making and the benefits of real bread?


  1. Chris says:

    It’s time to join the Real Bread Campaign!

  2. Jim Scott says:

    I have eaten Cranks’ organic bread for years. I slice and freeze it when I buy it but even when not frozen it keeps well in the fridge for toasting. Waitrose sells it, as I’m sure do other supermarkets. Most also sell organic white bread, often baked on the premises that day.

    I guess if you want to make your own you can use a breadmaker though I know several owners who gave up using theirs as too fiddly. IKEA sells a mixture you only have to add water to, but the resultant Swedish rye bread may not be to everyone’s taste.

  3. Anna Haynes says:

    Great article. As a breadmaking teacher I am trying to educate people about this, one person at a time (ok, four). It’s a slow process but an ocean is made up of tiny droplets so we have to keep hoping!

  4. Jon Cook says:

    For a more in depth discussion on this important topic, see Vanessa Kimbell’s post from our website “our digestive systems and the role of microbes”

    For organic stoneground flour – why not take a look at the wind and watermills selling their excellent flours through Bigbarn. Look out for Fosters Mill, Worsbrough Mill or Stoates Flour.

  5. Haynet says:

    We love your blog! Why not come and add your blog at Haynet, a network for equestrians and those who love the countryside and farming. Please visit us at

  6. Dave Heath says:

    Try Hamilton bakery in Rutland. You will not be disappointed. They won the first ever British bakery series on TV.

Post a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *