Rise to The Occasion and Celebrate National Bread Week
Give us this day our daily bread – and every day this week please! Ireland is celebrating bread for National Bread Week 11th to 17th September.
Bread is the stuff of life, which is why it appears in the Our Father prayer or the Lord’s Prayer as it is known in the Protestant faith. Whether you’re religious or not, all you can ever ask is to be able to break some wholesome fresh bread with friends, which symbolises the continuation of life itself. Bread is a reverent food, celebrating a coming together of friends and family over a loaf that has been baked with love and care.
Or at least that’s how it should be baked. Unfortunately, because of the Chorley Wood Process, originally developed in the UK to utilise poorer quality wheat flours after the war, and still used by many commercial bread makers, loaves can be made, risen and baked in less than an hour, because of the ‘improvers’ and additives that are used to speed things up.
It is this poor quality of bread that some professional traditional bakers blame for the huge rise in wheat and gluten intolerance. They feel intolerance to bread may well be down to lack of quality in the wheat and the additives, rather than an actual serious allergic reaction, in some cases.
Good news is at hand though. The last few years has seen a rise in real bread makers again. Processes like sourdough which rely on natural cultures being developed to rise the bread slowly over a period of hours have made a comeback. Bakers are priding themselves on making real bread in the natural way. Many bread makers, including Declan Ryan of Arbutus Breads, say that some people who have expressed the feeling they have an intolerance to wheat or gluten, are often happily surprised by the fact they can eat a real sourdough loaf without any reaction at all.
Spelt breads are also now on the up, with bakers mastering the art of using this ancient Irish cereal.
National Bread Week Association
National Bread Week is an initiative by Bord Bia, the Flour Confectioners and Bakers Association, and the Irish Bread Bakers Association, in conjunction with Northern Ireland and the Northern Ireland Bakery Council. There’s lots of events and things you can get involved in if you’re a bread lover.
Celebrate Irish Bread
A great round up of Irish loaves and what they are can be found on the National Bread Week website. A small range of loaves from the huge variety now baked by traditional bakers all over Ireland. Get to know your Soda Bread from your Boxty, a Spotted Dog from a Waterford Blaa, with images of each loaf and a little history behind it. The Waterford Blaa now has PGO status as one of Ireland’s recognised heritage foods, driven forward by a handful of traditional bakers of this floury white roll, including Walsh’s Bakehouse in Waterford City and Barron’s Bakery in Cappoquin.
Calling all Breadlovers
National Bread Week is calling on all those who love their daily bread to share their early memories of bread from home. A competition encourages people to enter a happy bread related memory, whether it’s baking bread with granny as a youngster, remembering the smell of fresh baked bread in the kitchen, packing a loaf for a picnic or toasting a slice or two by the fire. The team want to hear all your stories and are running a competition to win a cookery book from Kevin Dundon for the best one.
You can follow National Bread Week on Facebook and Twitter and look out for various promotions in bakeries all over Ireland.
Good Food Ireland Bakers
If you want to know more about Good Food Ireland Bakers, check out their individual profiles here: