Bake Yourself Happy the Organic Way
You find yourself in the baking aisle, surrounded by shelves and shelves of flour. What’s actually inside those packets, beyond the fine, powdery substance that we know as flour, that humble of ingredients that gives us countless delicious baked goods? It is an ingredient that has been part of our culinary history since ancient times with bread alone being older than metal, but how well do we know the ingredient that has formed so much of our ancestry and indeed, how well do we know the flour that we choose today?
Flour probably isn’t the first thing that springs to mind when you think about choosing organic. Before the mass production of flour and the word organic came into existence, our food was as it should be, created without artificial inputs and grown with very little human intervention. Once the crop was sewn, it was nurtured by the soil, wind, rain and sun until it was ready to harvest, and once cut, the grain would be milled into flour without added preservatives or artificial ingredients. Today, organic flour production, and how we produce our organic range at Doves Farm, is influenced by this farming model and aims to work with nature and not against it, to encourage and build our agricultural systems and to produce grain as nature intended and as close to that of our forefathers.
But, what does this really mean for you, when you’re perusing the shelves for your baking ingredients? Why choose organic flour? What does organic even really mean?
Organic farming is a rigorously controlled system. Every part of the farming and production chain is measured, inspected and documented. It means that the flour milled from organic grain has been produced with higher levels of environmental and animal welfare, lower levels of pesticides and no genetically modified ingredients (GM) or artificial fertilisers. When you choose organic flour, you are able to make a decisive choice about the journey your food has made from field to oven.
Choose what you feed your body
Did you know there are up to 300 different additives available for food manufacturers to use in the UK (Real Bread Campaign) and almost 320 pesticides that can be routinely used in non-organic farming and are often present in non-organic food? Organic grain is grown using fewer pesticides - organic farmers are able to use only 15 pesticides, derived from natural ingredients – meaning that when you bake with organic flour, you choose to reduce your exposure to pesticides that can make their way into the food chain.
Glyphosate, one of the most commonly used weed killers in the UK, is one of three pesticides regularly found in routine testing of British bread, appearing in over 60% of wholemeal bread samples tested by the Defra committee on Pesticide Residues in Food, according to the Soil Association. Baking your own bread allows you to control exactly what goes into it and therefore what you put in your body. We love to bake with organic flour because it means that we know what our food contains and that it has been produced with as few artificial inputs as possible. Ultimately, it is a great way of feeding your happy, of knowing what goes into your bakes and what food you’re feeding your family.
Be a guardian of our planet
Organic flour supports a farming system that works to reduce the pollution of our soil and our environment. Organic farmers rely on natural soil fertility to produce their crops, so they use crop rotations to help break cycles of pests and disease and build soil fertility, instead of using numerous pesticides and fertilisers, which can pollute our soil and water systems.
What’s more, with fewer pesticides being used to grow wheat, organic farms are havens for wildlife and provide homes for bees, birds and butterflies. If you care about what our planet looks like today and for generations to come, about what countryside we will get to enjoy and what wildlife we will continue to see, making a simple swap to organic flour all contributes towards this.
Revolutionise your baking
Artisan bakers across the country choose to bake with organic flour and it’s no surprise why. Driven by the desire to make bread as it should be, using premium ingredients of flour, water and yeast, they choose ingredients without additives and organic flour is the cream of the crop. When you’re taking the time to bake, to proudly pull a showstopper out of the oven that you can share with your family, you of course want to use the best ingredients you can get your hands on, including flour.
What’s more, for the sourdough lovers amongst us, organic flour is typically recommended for making a sourdough starter. This is because it contains the natural microbes which allow it to ferment when mixed with water.
Choosing organic flour then is a step in the right direction if we want to minimise our exposure to chemicals, help to safeguard our planet and bake ourselves happy in the process. As the Soil Association, the UK’s leading food and farming charity and organic certification body, have proposed, our shopping choices affect not only our own health, but what our world will like in the future:
“In the face of climate change, rising diet-related ill-health and widespread declines in our wildlife, the need to produce healthy food, cut greenhouse gas emissions, and protect wildlife grows more acute by the year. There is no magic bullet to tackle the challenges that face us, but the buying decisions we make every day are a simple but powerful form of direct action.” – The Soil Association
Why not make one small change and try baking with organic flour yourself?
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