This week (9-15 May 2015) is Real Bread Week in the UK. It’s a week to celebrate and support local independent bakeries and the benefits of baking bread at home. There’s loads of information on the website linked above about the benefits of home baked bread.
The Chorleywood bread process was invented in the 1960s, and produces 80% of the UK’s bread supply, however it is argued that this time saving process really strips out the bread’s goodness that you would get if you baked it at home or in small batches (which I tend to agree with, home-baked/small batch bread is so much tastier than the shop bought stuff). There is currently a programme on BBC iPlayer detailing how bread is made in modern times; Inside the Factory: How our favourite foods are made (available until the end of May 2015) which I’m told is an interesting watch. I haven’t watched the programme yet myself but one of my favourite bread facts is that the colour of the tie that you get on shop bought loaves reflects the day of the week that the loaf was made on. So there you go!
As we don’t eat bread every day, we do still tend to buy a loaf of bread every now and again which we keep in the freezer to use as a backup but I am trying to get away from doing this. I normally make a small loaf of bread weekly which lasts us a couple of days if we both have lunches in the week and also an evening meal with some soup at the weekend.
Since I went on a breadmaking course with Elizabeth earlier in the year, I’ve made mostly wholemeal loaves and foccacias, but seeing as I was recently given a supply of Beremeal by Elizabeth, I thought it was a good opportunity to try something new! I had actually made Beremeal Bannocks before on the course so I did remember roughly how to make them.
Beremeal has been grown in Orkney and the northern Highlands (the only places in the world!) for thousands of years and is also known as ceremeal, or Bygg (the Norwegian name for barley). It tastes completely different to wheat flour breads – much more earthy and malty – which is good seeing as it also can be used for making ale! It’s recommended for non Orcadians (who may not have been raised on pure beremeal) to make bannocks with a mix of beremeal (2/3) with a plain wheat flour (1/3). Traditionally cooked on a girdle, bannocks can also be made in an ungreased heavy based pan.
I used this recipe from the Crofting Connections website to make my bannoks. I’ve also got a recipe for beremeal cheese muffins so they will be next to try on my list!