About Real Bread

Real Bread has nothing to hide. It is made with simple ingredients - only flour, water, yeast and salt. It's made without any artificial additives. Simple, eh?


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

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

Amongst the additives not used in Real Bread making are: baking powder and other chemical leavening; ascorbic acid; xanthan gum; any so-called 'processing aids' or other additives in some flour or mixes.

In fact, we believe this should be a key criterion in the legal definition of bread full stop. Why should additive-free bakers have to qualify their bread with 'real', 'artisan', 'craft' and the like? Leave it to the industrial loaf fabricators to come up with a new name for their products...

*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.

By bread, we mean any additive-free crusty baps, sourdough, bagels, bialys, injera, khobez, cottage loaves, baguettes, chleb, naan, chapattis, roti, hard dough, stottie cakes, lavash, ruisleipä, ciabatta, bara brith, Staffordshire oatcakes, bannocks, tortillas, paratha, porotta, pitta, pida… the list goes on.

What Real Bread isn't

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

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 may 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.

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