Tag Archives: Andrew Whitley

Speedy spelt loaf recipe – not speedy roads

I am still on real bread, the topic of my last post.

Julia made the loaf in the picture above from a recipe in the Telegraph.

Apart from bread, Julia Guest, filmmaker extraordinaire, also made A Letter to the Prime Minister.

The documentary follows the British peace activist, Jo Wilding, in Iraq before and during the 2003 invasion.

Talking about films, I was round at Julia’s on Sunday to watch Life In The Fast Lane, a documentary she was involved with about the M11 road protest (1995).

The M11 sliced through three East London boroughs and tore apart communities – all for the sake of saving motorists three minutes of time.

The M11 road protest along with similar ones at Twyford and Newbury did not stop the roads being built.

However the cost of evictions – both financially and morally – eventually halted the then-mania for road-building.

This report by the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) shows new roads are not evaluated. And grandiose claims for reducing traffic appear not to have been realised. For instance, according to Countryside Voice, the CPRE magazine (summer 2006), the Newbury town centre peak-hour traffic flows are almost back to pre-bypass levels. And, “the actual damage to protected landscapes is even worse than expected.” [added 2012]

So while we were watching Life In The Fast Lane, we ate Julia’s homemade squash-from-her-allotment soup with the amazing bread. It was delicious – tasty and healthy.

I was blown away by Life In The Fast Lane:

– the local residents who helped patrol the squat including the 93-year-old resident made a squatter in her own childhood home

– the anguished cries of schoolschildren as the 250-year old chestnut tree was torn down by a digger (reminiscent of a scene from Avatar) and despite the protestors’ beautiful tree-top home

– the spectacular London rooftop shots of squatters who locked-on themselves to chimney pots with concrete and handcuffs to stop being evicted.

It was a real insider’s view of a mega-squat resisting the onslaught of so-called progress.

The M11 movie put me in mind of the eviction of the Tesco squatters.

Julia writes: “I make this with fresh yeast from the Better Food Company and less flour. Let it rise for just over an hour in the tin, then bake it.. but no kneading at all. I use a mix of any seeds I fancy…and the quantities vary. I also add a little olive oil to stop it sticking – as well as coating the tin in oil and then a coat of small seeds. Baking only takes about 30 minutes.”

Check out Julia’s inspiration, a spelt recipe by Xanthe Clay in the Telegraph using dried yeast and requiring no kneading or proving, and an earlier one by Rose Prince that ditto is fast.

For further inspiration visit Real Bread campaigner and master baker, Andrew Whitley, and author of much-recommended Bread Matters.

And for my real-life experience of Julia’s recipe see my blog on Easy-to-make spelt loaf – it works!

Surely a quick-to-make loaf is a better use of speed than an unnecessary road?

Our Daily Bread blog competition

Bread is one of the most messed-up foods on the planet. Made from hybridised wheat, grown for quick-machinability (forget taste, nutrition and digestion), modern bread is subjected to chemical processes you know nothing about.

If you want to freak yourself out, read the list of gunk in an ordinary loaf of sliced bread in Bread Matters by baker Andrew Whitley. Classified as non-nutritive processing aids, their job is not to feed you but to add texture, quickly. Hence the additives (including animal or GM-derived enzymes) do not legally need to be listed on the label.

In real food-world, you need four ingredients:  flour, water, a raising agent. The fourth is time. And the result, such as Emma’s bread (see above at Exeter’s farmers’ market), is tasty and sustaining.

Emma is teaching these skills at a breadmaking day at Occombe farm in Devon. If you join the Soil Association the day is free.

Or use a book to learn – I like Warren Lee Cohen’s Baking bread with children. And check the coming campaign for real bread.

Now for the competition. Food bloggers, what’s your favourite real food? Its tastes are enticing but not from a laboratory and it nourishes as nature intended.

The winning blogger (more details below) gets a copy of the new DVD, Our Daily Bread. Released on the 8 September 2008, this award-winning documentary observes without judgement and with an eye for beauty the world of intensive food production. Do we really know how food is made? Our Daily Bread shows what is usually hidden.

Here are the competition guidelines, and good luck, fellow food bloggers.

1. Write a blog on real food (it does not have to be about bread). One ingredient or a dish. Usually factory-made, but you eat the real thing. Baked beans, mashed potato, fresh fish and chicken Kiev come to mind. What’s yours? And extra points for local and organic ingredients.

2. Link it to this blog.

3. Post a comment on this (Our Daily Bread) blog displaying a link to your blog entry.

4. The deadline is October 8 2008 at midnight.

I look forward to hearing from you.