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Amazing bread news for August 2014

Great British Bake Off proves bread is no pushover

So you thought baking the perfect loaf was simple. The Great British Bake Off 2014 is thrilling the nation, but even Britain’s finest amateur bakers had technical issues during bread week.

It’s a chemistry thing. Unless you get the balance of the ingredients exactly right, knead and prove the dough properly, bake it for the right length of time, at the right temperature, you risk soggy-bottomed failure.

On the bright side, the programme is encouraging plenty of novices to give bread a go. The great British public are becoming more and more in tune with proper bread. And as a result, demand for top class products like ours keeps growing. Long live the revolution!

Don’t feed the ducks

Leicester’s duck death tragedy hit the headlines last week as 47 of the birds in the city’s Braunstone Park were found dead, probably killed by avian botulism.

While the disease isn’t transmittable to humans, it is deadly to birds. The city council parks department said the combination of hot weather, stagnant water and rotting bread may have caused the outbreak. They have asked people not to feed the ducks in future, since the birds usually have quite enough natural food without having to resort to grotty old bread.

Baking boot camp supports refugees’ self sufficiency

“Baking is a skill that is replicable and transferable across all these cultures and languages.” So says Alicia Polak, the executive director of The Bread Project. Quite right, too.

The San Francisco-based organisation empowers people who only have access to limited resources towards real self-sufficiency. Their recent joint partnership with the International Rescue Committee saw refugees from several countries including Iran, Afghanistan and Vietnam enrolling on a three week baking boot camp.

At the camp, delegates learn the baking skills needed to become self-sufficient, proving what we already knew – that in many countries across the world, bread really is the staff of life.

Vegan student’s dead fly horror

Ever found a fly in your soup? What about your daily loaf? It’s very unusual to find dead creatures and other alien objects in food these days. Stringent hygiene, health and safety regulations mean bakeries tend to be absolute models of squeaky-cleanness. But vegan student Samuel Backton was less than pleased when a ’50p sized’ fly turned up in his loaf of Kingsmill bread.

Somewhat paranoid, he was convinced it was a cockroach. But Kingsmill confirmed it was actually a humble if particularly large fly. Our commiserations to Samuel. Perhaps he’ll avoid the traditional bland white loaf lie from now on and treat himself to some proper bread instead.