Bread one of the most important staple foods in the world, perfect food to promote one of the Slow Food principles: support and celebrate the traditional methods, good taste and heritage foods. Wendy Barrie, Slow Food Chef Alliance member, co-created the Scottish Bread Championship, a platform to celebrate good baking methods, and to embrace the old and the new, but without compromising on taste. Here is a summary of how the championship went this year:
Launched in 2017, The Scottish Bread Championships, created by and in association with Scotland The Bread and Scottish Food Guide, is now a fixture at the Royal Highland Show with almost double the entries this year. This Championship exclusively features entries that meet Real Bread Campaign’s Criteria, without the use of processing aids or any other artificial additives.
Frustrated by preponderance of mass produced ‘bread’ on the market, manufactured with processing aids and using ingredients more akin to a scientific manual than a recipe, Wendy Barrie of Scottish Food Guide and Andrew Whitley and Veronica Burke of Bread Matters decided it was time to redress the balance and launch the Scottish Bread Championships. They approached the Royal Highland Show with their proposal and were enthusiastically welcomed. The RHS already host the Scottish Dairy Championships so it is the perfect place to be. After months of preparation it was heart-warming to hear we had created something real breadmakers had been waiting for!
Now in year two, amateur and professional bread makers from across the country arrive with their loaves the Tuesday before the Show opens for judging. With such a range and diversity of breads this year the judges* had a challenging task but there were two clear winners, between them awarded three Gold Awards.
Supreme Champion, for the second year running, went to Jock Sharp of Woodlea Stables in Fife for his Certified Organic Sourdough loaf. Reserve Champion was awarded to Ian Hill of Riddle-Me-Rye for his Five Grain Khorasan Sourdough. An additional Gold Award went to Woodlea for Jock’s Scottish Plain Batched Loaf that judges called an authentic reproduction of a historic loaf! Flours from Mungoswells and Scotland the Bread** both featured in many of the entries including this year’s winners and a special Commended went to Sgoil araich Innis An Uilt Gaelic Nursery School for their sterling effort in this Year of Young People. The organisers, Wendy Barrie and Andrew Whitley are already planning to encourage more bread makers to participate next year!
*This year’s judging panel consisted of Fred Berkmiller, Chef Patron of L’escargot Bleu, L’escargot Blanc and Bar à Vin; Pam Brunton, Inver Restaurant; Gerry Danby, founder and director of Artisan Food Law; Neil Forbes, Chef Director, Cafe St Honoré; Sue Lawrence, BBC’s 1991 MasterChef and cookery writer; Charlotte Maberly, lecturer and co-creator QMU MSc Gastronomy; Professor Jennie Macdiarmid, Professor of Sustainable Nutrition and Health at The Rowett Institute, University of Aberdeen, and Chris Young, Real Bread Campaign coordinator.
**Scotland The Bread’s heritage flours are on Slow Food Ark of Taste
Photo..(left to right) Wendy Barre, Scottish Food Guide, Andrew Whitley Scotland The Bread, Supreme Champion Jock Sharp of Woodlea Stables in Fife, Reserve Champion Ian Hill of Riddle-Me-Rye, Edinburgh