About Real Bread

Real Bread has nothing to hide. It is made with simple, natural ingredients and NO additives. Simple, eh?

What is Real Bread?

Everyone has his or her own idea of what Real Bread is. Here's the Real Bread Campaign's basic definition:

Made without the use of so-called processing aids or any other additives*

In fact, we believe this should be a key criterion in the legal definition of bread full stop.

Why should bakers who make bread in a time-honoured, natural way have to qualify it with 'real', 'artisan', 'craft' and the like? We say let's reclaim the name bread and leave it to the industrial loaf fabricators to come up with a new name for their additive-laden products.

Amongst the additives not used in Real Bread making are: Baking powder and other chemical leavening; ascorbic acid; xanthan gum; added enzymes or any other so-called 'processing aids' - that exclusion applies to any addtives in the flour or mix you use.

...and by bread, we mean any additive-free crusty bap, bagel, bialy, injera, wrap, khobez, baguette, chleb, naan, chapatti, roti, stottie cake, lavash, ruisleipä, ciabatta, bara brith, Staffordshire oatcake,  tortilla, paratha, porotta, pitta, pida… the list goes on.

NB All genuine sourdough is Real Bread but not all Real Bread has to be sourdough.

*The only exceptions we make are the four so-called 'fortificants' added to most UK milled flour by law.


The Campaign's definition of bread above allows any other natural ingredients, from salt and baker's yeast to seeds, nuts, cheese, milk, malt extract, herbs, oils, fats and dried fruits... as long as they themselves contain no artificial additives.

What Real Bread isn't

The Real Bread Campaign believes that any product made using any additive should not be called bread.

Gluten-free Real Bread

The Real Bread Campaign celebrates bread made without gluten as much as bread made from cereals. In both cases, our definition of bread is as above.

In our first decade, the passion of the vast majority of Real Bread Campaign supporters has been for bread made from cereals. As such, we are not aware of many recipes for g-free Real Bread, or bakeries selling it.

  • If you bake gluten-free Real Bread for sale, please put yourself on our Real Bread Map.
  • If you have a recipe for any type of gluten-free Real Bread that you’d be happy for us to share on our recipes page please email it (ideally with a 1200x800pixel photo) to realbread@sustainweb.org

Read more

Better bred bread

Not all loaves are created equal!

From our simple 'no additives' starting point, the Real Bread Campaign finds and shares ways to make bread better for us, better for our communities and better for the planet.

These can include using:

  • Longer fermentation, preferably in the presence of sourdough bacteria
  • Wholemeal or other less-refined flours
  • Stoneground flour
  • A single, continuous process (i.e. no part-baking or freezing of the dough)
  • Locally-milled flour
  • Low salt levels (1% or less of final product weight)
  • Certified organic ingredients

Please see our FAQs page for reasons why.

Is Real Bread the same as craft, artisan, fresh, organic etc?

Sometimes but not always.

  • Craft and artisan are terms that have no legal definition. Many bakers who use these words don't use artificial additives...but some do.
  • Many bakers whose loaves are certified organic choose not to use any artificial additives but, unlike our Real Bread definition, organic standards do still allow some to be used.
  • Traditional, natural and finest ingredients are terms with no legal protection. None guarantees a loaf was made without artificial additives.
  • Claims of freshness do not guarantee that additives haven't been used. Despite official guidance, it is also open to being used to market 'bake-off' products: i.e. made elsewhere, chilled or frozen and then re-baked in-store.*

The only way to be sure is to read the ingredients list or (if the baker/retailer doesn't display one) ask a member of staff for it.

Read our call for an Honest Crust Act of better loaf labelling and marketing laws here.


The Real Bread Campaign believes that to be named or marketed using the word sourdough, a bread can only be:

  • Made without any additives (ie the criterion in our basic defintion of bread)
  • Leavened only using a live sourdough culture, without the addition of commercial yeast or other leavening agents, such as baking powder

Read more about sourdough and sourfaux

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