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Bread and schools

In a recent study by Imperial college London, research showed that 75% of Britain’s school food is ultra processed with bread, alongside sugary drinks and desserts, being one of the main sources .

Quick facts: (in bullet points because who doesn’t love a bullet point)

  • In the UK, school age children consume an average of 2.2 slices of bread a day. (Source)

  •  Over 80% of the bread we consume is ultra processed. (Source)

  • A growing body of new scientific evidence links Ultra processed food with heart, kidney and liver disease, obesity, cancer, depression and even early death. (source)

However this is not an article about ultra processed food and it’s harms. This is an article about the extraordinary role bread can play in our children’s education and nutrition.

Since Jan 2022 we have worked with over 80 schools, donating over 15,000, just add water bread kits for children to make both at school and at home. The kits are just three ingredients (flour, salt and yeast), require no kneading or even an oven in some cases (never underestimate a good flatbread).

We call this program Breaducation.

Through our Breaducation program, we’ve seen both first hand and through feedback just what an impact baking bread can make. There were many benefits we predicted but many we didn’t and a few we could have only dreamed of.

Here are a few of the most crucial and brilliant benefits we’ve seen:

Creativity and focus

Each kit makes a loaf of bread but can also make so much more, pizza, bagels, baguettes we’ve seen schools make it all. Some teachers and children have taken it to a whole other level, forming their dough into hedgehogs, snakes or recently Tom’s class at Hackney school of food who made bread mermaids, dragons and turtles. Other schools such as Watlington primary, have incorporate ingredients from the school allotment to make focaccia with tomatoes, rosemary and onions.

 

Food awareness and education

By making their own bread from scratch and not only seeing but smelling their bread being baked, children are able to experience how real bread is made and what it should taste like. Following our lesson plan, we encourage teachers to explain what simple ingredients are needed to make bread and why. It usually comes to a great shock for most kids that neither eggs, milk or baking powder go into bread (to be honest I think I only learnt this when I was already in my teens).

 

Nutrition

This one is an obvious one but it really is so important. Not only do our kits contain whole nutritious ingredients but the process in which they are used and taught is heavily reliant on a long fermentation which is both versatile for teachers schedules (once mixed they have anywhere from 4 to 24 hours to bake the dough) and creates a dough teaming with prebiotics great for gut health.

 

Cost efficient

For a school to make enough bread for 400 students it can cost as little as £6. How? We set up a little project called focaccia Friday in our local primary, where 5 students and either a teacher or parent make three tubs of dough using our no knead method they then bake it into three big focaccias. Each focaccia is cut into chunks and served to the children over lunch. There is always enough and it has become a weekly routine.

 

Food miles and waste

Baking bread from scratch reduces countless food miles and excessive plastic wrapping. Homemade bread is not only more nutritious but is also far more delicious leading to less stale crusts left on places and therefore rubbish bins.

 

Empowerment and community

After receiving kits at school many children take them home and make them with their family. This not only brings their community closer, but many parents and teachers have reported children continuing to experiment with food and bread baking over the following months and ongoing.

 

Bread is the one food which nearly everyone eats (even the picky eaters) which is why ...

Why bread is the perfect vehicle for improving school food culture

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We all need good bread
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