Andrew Whitley, organic baker and founder of The Village Bakery, reveals the deplorable state into which modern supermarket bread has fallen, and the secrets behind making good, nutritious bread at home.
All is not well in British baking. Commercial bread is laced with additives to make it look good and stay soft. It uses varieties of wheat that have been bred for high yield and baking performance with little concern for human nutrition. To rush it through the bakery at the lowest possible cost, it’s dosed with four times as much yeast as before. Described as ‘fresh’ when it may have been frozen and re-heated, it’s sold as a loss-leader at knock-down prices which undermine what little respect it may once have commanded.
Even before the Atkins diet frightened people off, there was evidence of a massive growth of intolerance – to gluten, wheat and yeast in particular. Call it coincidence. Dismiss it as hypochondria if you will. But things have come to a pretty pass when people avoid their staple food – the staff of life – in droves.
‘Bread Matters’ offers a solution. Revealing the madness behind this modern adulteration of our most basic food as only an insider can, organic baker Andrew Whitley, founder of The Village Bakery in Melmerby, shows why and how to make real bread at home. Unlike many bread book authors, he has baked for a living for over 25 years. His recipes are fool-proof because he explains what’s really going on, demystifying the science, sharing a practical baker’s craft. Using the skills he deploys on his popular courses, he guides and inspires beginners and seasoned bakers alike. And he brings good news to those who have had to abandon bread because of dietary sensitivity, showing how to bake tasty and nutritious food without yeast, wheat or gluten.
Reviews of Bread Matters: The sorry state of modern bread and a definitive guide to baking your own
- ‘What an important book; passionate and polemical and full of truth. The chapter too on gluten-free baking is original and inspiring.’Bee Wilson, Sunday Telegraph and New Statesman
- ‘This will be the most important book on baking since the publication of Elizabeth David’s “English Bread and Yeast Cookery”.’ Rose Prince
- ‘Makes for interesting reading, and Whitley makes the information accessible by using easy-to-follow tables where appropriate…Throughout the book Whitley has dotted interesting historical footnotes to recipes and practical tips to recover from baking disasters. The book is comprehensive in its span of recipes and its examination of the baking process.’ Caterer and Hotelkeeper
- ‘A superb and necessary new book.’ Bee Wilson, The Sunday Telegraph
- ‘Every bit as feisty as the title implies…a good sense book that includes recipes for sour-dough and gluten-free baking.’ The Independent