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Intriguing bread news for January 2015

Phew. The decks have cleared, the festive season is well and truly over and everything’s back to normal. The Christmas dust has settled and we’ve tracked down a small yet fascinating collection of curious and intriguing bread stories for you.

David Cameron in carbohydrates diet fiasco

First, PM David Cameron has caused angst in the bread world by announcing he’s giving bread up in an effort to lose weight. As you can imagine the Prime Minister’s off-the-cuff proclamation was met with strong protests from nutritionists.

Ayela Spiro of the British Nutrition Foundation, for example, says that carbohydrate-rich foods like pasta, bread, potatoes and rice are NOT fattening, despite the recent popularity of faddish carb-free diets. As she says, any food can cause weight gain provided you eat enough of it. And carbohydrates are far from the worst offenders. Like for like they contain less than half the calories of fat, and they’re also a vital source of energy.

So don’t listen to Mr Cameron. He’s obviously as badly informed about healthy eating as many of the rest of us. Unless you suffer from a diagnosed health condition like a wheat allergy or coeliac disease, cutting bread out of your diet won’t deliver any health benefits.

Glovely jubbley?

Good old Greggs. They’re a hugely popular retailer found on more or less every British high street. But even the best of us get it wrong sometimes. Imagine your surprise, when eating a yummy Greggs pasty, to discover a blue plastic glove nestling inside.

3 year old Amber Hodson made the find when she bit into her Greggs cheese and onion pasty. And the incident has caused a furore. The child’s mother says she’ll avoid the retailer from now on, which seems rather harsh. The glove may have presented a choking hazard. Plastic is never a pleasant thing to find in your food. But the retailer did the decent thing.

The customer was sent an email asking her to send the pasty back so Greggs could analyse it. Which seems fair and sensible. But she didn’t think it was ‘good enough’. Like everyone in our sector Greggs makes frequent and rigorous quality control checks. They need to know how it happened so they can prevent a recurrence.  It’s difficult to imagine what else they could do, short of making an even more abject apology and yet more promises that it won’t happen again.

Local Hackney bakery gets into milling

The popular Hackney artisan bakery, E5 Bakehouse, is milling its own flour in an effort to make its products truly unique. They’ve bought a stone mill and they’re so keen to get going they’ve already baked a batch of bread from home-milled flour. All they need now is a farmer prepared to plant wheat for them to mill.

The idea came from Denmark, where bakeries commonly mill their own flour. And the results, according to E5’s General Manager Edward Maltby, have been “amazing” so far, with plenty of positive feedback from the firm’s retail customers.

The bakery currently runs a shop a well as selling 350 – 600 loaves a day, delivering bread by bicycle to local wholesale customers. And they have big plans for the future. They’re looking to use British flour wherever possible and in the long run are planning to harness the loveliness of home-milled flour in around 80% of their loaves.

We’d like to wish E5 the best of luck with their plans, which prove yet again – as if it’s needed – that British is best, local is best and these days, top quality breads made with traceable ingredients are even more desirable than ever.