The contest was organised by the food and farming charity Sustain’s Jellied Eel magazine and Real Bread Campaign as a showcase for the growing number of bakers bringing additive-free loaves to the hearts of local communities around the capital. The award was presented today at the launch of The Real Bread Festival, which runs until Sunday on South Bank.
‘Pretty much perfect bread in all sorts of ways,’ is how competition judge Lucas Hollweg of The Sunday Times Style magazine described the winning maslin (rye and wheat) sourdough loaf. ‘It looks so beautiful that you just have to break it open,’ enthused fellow judge Diana Henry of The Daily Telegraph. Importantly, ‘it delivers on everything its looks promise,’ said The London Evening Standard’s food editor Victoria Stewart.
‘London is lucky to have seen Real Bread boom in recent years,’ said Jellied Eel magazine editor Ben Reynolds. ‘More and more people with a real passion for good, honest food have said “enough of pappy factory loaves” and begun making delicious Real Bread with nothing to hide available to fellow Londoners from high street bakeries and even their own kitchens,’ added Campaign coordinator Chris Young.
Brick House was only launched by Fergus and Sharmin Jackson earlier this year and still only bakes around 400 loaves a week for local shops, cafés and a weekly stall at Herne Hill Market. As well as the glory of having Peckham Rye named The Londoner’s Loaf, the bakery also wins major features in the October issues of The Jellied Eel and the Real Bread Campaign’s True Loaf magazine. Another Real Bread winner in this farinaceous fiesta is one lucky voter picked from the flour jar, who gets a one-day baking class at The Cookery School on Little Portland Street.
The Londoners’ Loaf trail began back in June, when The Jellied Eel magazine and Real Bread Campaign extended an open invitation to all London bakeries to enter the finest of their artificial additive-free loaves for the public vote. During July and August, 1172 Londoners chose between the twenty Real Breads entered. The ten loaves with the most votes (see notes) then went forward to a blind tasting at Borough Market by London-based food writers Diana Henry, Lucas Hollweg and Victoria Stewart.
All of the participating bakers gave their written assurance that the loaves they put forward for the public votes are what the Campaign calls Real Bread, that is: made without the use of any artificial additives or processing aids in the flour or dough.
The Jellied Eel is a quarterly London magazine about ethical food. It is produced by BIG Media and London Food Link, part of the charity Sustain: the alliance for better food and farming. The free magazine is distributed via 150 outlets across London, to a readership of about 50,000. The Jellied Eel was a finalist in the best food magazine category of this year’s Guild of Food Writers Awards.
Also part of Sustain, and funded by the Big Lottery’s Local Food programme, the Real Bread Campaign is helping to bring Real Bread back to the hearts of our local communities. With membership open to everyone who cares about the state of bread in Britain, the Campaign defines Real Bread as made without the use of processing aids or any other artificial additives. From this simple starting point, the Campaign finds ways to make bread better for us, better for our communities and better for the planet. True Loaf is its quarterly members’ magazine.
From twenty loaves entered, the ten finalists decided by the public vote were: