The Real Bread Campaign, part of Sustain: the alliance for better food and farming,
is funded by the Big Lottery's Local Food programme and the Sheepdrove Trust.
If tomorrow morning you want to wake up to a loaf using locally stone ground wholemeal flour, water, yeast and a little salt, with no added fat, sugar or artificial additives a bread maker will let you.
Baking a loaf from scratch allows you to choose when and where your Real Bread is made and to know exactly what has (and importantly, what hasn't) gone into it.
Some people who use a machine will stick to it, which, as long as they're baking Real Bread, is fine by us. Others may say - 'hang on, all it's doing is mixing then baking dough - my hands and oven can do that and give me greater control over the type of loaf I end up with.'
Of course, we're delighted when people roll up their sleeves and delve into the flour to mix, knead and shape by hand but there are many reasons why the Real Bread Campaign also supports the use of machines.
For every challenge we find, the Real Bread Campaign aims to find a range of different answers. There are many reasons that a home might be without Real Bread and for some a bread machine is the best solution.
Then maybe a machine is the answer for you.
When compared to baking in a domestic oven, a bread machine is also a great way to save energy (and therefore reduce carbon emissions) and money. The following average energy consumption and cost figures are taken from a comparison of bread machines carried out by Which? in 2008.
White bread – standard program
Average cost: 5p
Average energy consumption: 0.36 kWh per loaf
Average cycle time: 3 hours 18 minutes
Wholemeal bread – standard program
Average cost: 4p
Average energy consumption: 0.36 kWh per loaf
Average cycle time: 3 hours 54 minutes
The figures quoted are average prices, based on average energy consumption and worked out using the Which? standard unit of electricity cost of 12.48p per kWh.
By comparison, The Energy Saving Trust told the Real Bread Campaign that the energy used in baking a loaf in an electric oven is about 1.6kWh per use and a gas oven typically consumes around 1.5kWh of energy per use.
Adding in the cost of ingredients, even if you use the most expensive flour you can find, the price of your Real Bread will rival that of the cheapest ‘value’ wrapped, sliced loaf – wherever that was made and whatever with.
The Real Bread Campaign doesn't encouraging anyone to go out and buy a brand new bread machine.
According to a 2010 study by Mintel, 36% of people who receive bread machines as presents don't use them, and judging by figures from previous annual surveys by esure, there could be up to 10 million of the things sitting around the country gathering dust next to smoothie makers, foot spas and the like. Either way, there are plenty to go around.
If you have a machine but now get your Real Bread another way – perhaps from your local bakery, at a local farmers’ market, as a member of a veggie box scheme, or baking by hand – then how about passing it on to someone else who could make good use of it?
Want to get hold or rid of a bread machine? Here are a few organisations that will help you to pass it on any time of the year.*
EcoModo enables people to lend and borrow everyday objects, skills and spaces and already have a number of breadmakers for people to borrow and a member willing to teach others how to make Real Bread - and raise money for charity at the same time. Visit www.ecomodo.com
Freecycle helps people who have things they no longer need to give them away to people who do need them and in the process keeps many useful items from filling up our landfill sites. To request or offer a bread maker go to www.freecycle.org and join your local group.
Freegle is an email list hosted on Yahoo! Groups that allows you to give stuff away when you need to get rid of it but don’t want to throw it in the bin. Or save something from landfill by asking for it; perhaps someone has just what you need that they were about to throw away. To see how you can pick up or pass on a bread machine, visit www.ilovefreegle.org
Let's All Share
To find bread machines being offered, simply type 'breadmakers' into the search bar and they will be displayed on a map so you can see the breadmaker nearest to you. If you want to give away or rent out your breadmaker, you just need to set the rules about renting or giving, delivery or collection as required and publish it to the breadmakers category. www.letsallshare.com
On ooffoo you can reuse, recycle, swap, sell, give away, write & blog, vote, debate & discuss their latest hot topic, find recipes & useful eco tips and much more. To add a free classified ad for a machine you want to pass on, visit www.ooffoo.com
Streetbank is a site that helps you share and borrow things from your neighbours. Sign up with your name and postcode, add at least one item (like a bread machine), skill or recommendation and see all the items within one mile radius of your home. www.streetbank.com
If you would like to get your organisation involved in finding new homes for second-hand bread machines, please let us know.
Click here for some more ideas on how to pass it on.
* In all cases, you must seek and take the advice of the service you are using regarding safety when meeting to make an exchange, electrical safety, stolen goods etc. The Real Bread Campaign, Sustain and The Real Food Festival cannot take responsibility for using any of these services or for any consequences of doing so.
...and if you have other suggestions of how and where campaign supporters could find or pass on a bread machine, please let us know.
The buyer's guide in the September 2010 issue of Ethical Consumer magazine featured bread machines. For the, the magazine researches and rates brands against five main criteria: environment, people, animals, politics and sustainability. Though we advocate using a machine that already out there, if you are planning to buy a new one, this guide will give you some food for thought.
To read the guide alongside an article by Real bread Campaign project officer Chris Young on Real Bread in a machine, click here.
Most bread machine recipes call for instant or fast acting yeast. In theory, this is fine within the campaign’s basic definition of Real Bread, though you might struggle to find instant yeast that will keep your loaves within this definition as almost all contain one or more added chemical or enzyme.
See our companions page for a list of additive-free brands that we have found in the UK.
We are on the search for tried and tested recipes that use fresh yeast, dried active yeast or a sourdough (aka wild yeast) starter. If you have one of your own that you’d like to share here, please email us.
Find more links on our companions page here.