One of my fondest memories growing up was the wonderful smell of freshly baked bread that would whirl from our local bakery as I passed by.
But unfortunately what we have seen over the years is that getting bread from your local bakery is no longer something basic and important leading to the tradition dying out. Nowadays people prefer buying bread in supermarkets or make their own at home. But why is that?
Speaking to the founder of Scrumptious and baker, Jane-Anne Hobbs she says people certainly don’t bake bread as often as their great-grandmothers did, and bread has earned something of a bad rap since low-carb eating became so popular. She says however, the past few years have seen a global resurgence of interest in home bread-making, particularly with regards to ‘artisanal’ sourdough breads made with wild yeast starters.
“I've had a lot of fun making sourdough bread using my own starter (she's called Yvonne and lives in my fridge) but it is a very time-consuming process, which can take up to a week starting from the time you 'wake up' your starter by feeding it with flour and water, to the time the finished, slow-risen loaf lands on the table. That's why I've tinkered with various formulas to come up with a similar 'country loaf' that requires no kneading and is ready in exactly two hours. It’s not as complex as a sourdough loaf, but it’s delicious and very easy to make, provided that you have a heavy, lidded, cast iron pot or Dutch oven”, says Hobbs.
Asked if baking your own bread at home does save money, she says a good loaf of bread requires only flour, water, salt and yeast, so home baking is not necessarily more expensive than shop-bought bread, even when you factor in the costs of electricity.
“The bread you make at home is infinitely better than any plastic-wrapped loaf you'll find on a supermarket shelf - is there any food more glorious than crusty bread hot from the oven?”, says Hobbs.