Bread is Heaven

Warren Carr set up his Highs & Loaves breadmaking classes to share his passion for real bread and to show people how easy it is to bake fresh nutritious loaves at home. He runs beginners’ classes all year round, and during October, November and December also offers special classes making hearty winter loaves, a Christmas stollen and festive decorations made out of bread dough, ideal for personalised gifts.

Of all the foods we think about for the Christmas table, bread has to be the one that is often overlooked. 

Sadly, as our lives have got busier, bread has been relegated to an unthinking grab of a sliced loaf in the supermarket, and virtually ignored when it’s plonked on your table in a restaurant.

But thousands of years of breadmaking can’t be wrong. Home-made bread is wonderfully tasty, versatile and easy to make – all things which 21st century man and woman seem to have forgotten in the rush of life.

Many years ago as a student, I left the land of the sliced white loaf and lived in Europe for a while. There my taste buds were introduced to real bread – freshly made crusty baguettes; soft and tasty brioche buns; breads flavoured with herbs, seeds and spices; rich, dense loaves made with beer, stout, malt and treacle and packing a huge flavour punch.

Ever since, I have had a love affair with bread and began making it in earnest about 15 years ago.

Because once you’ve got your head around it, it’s easy! Bread can be made with as little as 10 minutes’ effort and with flours and ingredients that are easily obtainable in your local shops, from your store cupboard or online. 

Home-baked bread is also far healthier than shop-bought loaves which have been in the news recently tagged as an ultra-processed food high in additives and preservatives. Check out the ingredients on the back of a packet of processed bread next time you’re out shopping – you’ll be astounded at the amount of preservatives and emulsifiers. 

There’s also the personal satisfaction of producing an artisan product in your own kitchen using just your own hands. It’s such a mindful exercise and has a huge positive impact on your mental wellbeing.

So this Christmas, when we traditionally sit back, take stock and reflect, how about re-thinking your relationship with the humble loaf? Maybe it’s time to decide that it’s well worth putting 10 minutes aside every few days to make fresh, flavoursome bread – I bet even now you can smell the aromas of it baking in your oven …… !

Happy Christmas – and #respectthebread!