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Have we been eating “FAKE” fresh bread ?

round whole meal bread on dark wooden surface

Like most people, I buy bread on a weekly basis from my local supermarket. I used to believe the rolls and baguettes I bought from the supermarkets bakery section, was freshly made from scratch. I saw them occasionally getting something out of the oven so must be fresh, right? Unfortunately I’ve recently been made aware that in-store bakery loaves can be produced miles away from our local supermarkets and frozen up to a year, before they re-bake to put out for us consumers to buy.

How can in-store baked bread not be fresh?

In 2009/10 the Real Bread Campaign (RBC) has investigated 6 big UK supermarkets with in-store bakeries and has found out that their bread wasn’t actually made from scratch on-site. In fact they get part baked bread, produced miles away from different countries like France and Ireland that arrive frozen according to The Sun research. They then bake the frozen part baked breads before selling it as “freshly baked” bread to you and me!

My thoughts on “fresh” in-store baked bread now

Since I’ve moved to UK, I haven’t bought bread from my local bakery. It was just convenient to buy it at big stores, while doing my food shop. My local bakery on the Isle of Wight is Grace’s Bakery in Ryde. Yasmin’s and my favourite place to get coronation chicken rolls and delicious apple doughnuts, when we are in town. I’ve never thought about buying my bread there, but don’t know why. Maybe it’s because I’m rarely in town. I recently spoke to Sarah from Grace’s Bakery and am lucky to receive some of their products & services as a gift. A massive thanks to Sarah and the Graces Team! I was unaware that they delivered their goods across the Isle of Wight and sell island produce such as IoW milk and butter from Briddlesford farm & jams from The Island Jam Company. 

My honest review of Grace’s Bakery

This review is not a paid review and is based on my own experiences and opinions about Grace’s bakery. As mentioned before I love Grace’s for their coronation chicken rolls and apple doughnuts, but now that I was able to try their online and delivery service as well as products that I have never tried before, I’d like to share my experience.

Ordering online

Grace’s online order service can be accessed here. I find the website very user friendly as it is easy to navigate and look for the products you would like to order. I like how the products are displayed, making it easy to identify what type of bread, cake or other product they are selling without having to actually read the product title. I’ve noticed the ingredients are listed on each item, which is great if you want to check for allergens.  I’ve ordered a white and multi seeded bread off the website. It’s great that you have the option to get your bread sliced or unsliced. Checking out through the cart was also very straightforward. There is a minimum order of £8 to order online, but can be avoided by ordering with a friend or family member to make up the £8.

Day of the delivery

My order was delivered around lunchtime and I was happy to see that Grace’s has their own delivery drivers rather than hiring a big delivery company to deliver their goods across the island. The lady who delivered to us was friendly.

Now to the taste test!

Halloween treats, brown and white bread, oranges and local isle of wight butter and milk from Grace's Bakery.
Goodies from Grace’s Bakery

The sweet treats

Yasmin went straight for the sweet stuff and had to try the Halloween treats first with a cup of warm Isle of Wight milk. It’s a thumb up from Yas for the Zombie Blobby, chocolate sprinkled doughnuts and Halloween cupcakes! She also likes the island milk.

Yasmin The Thrifty Island Girl wearing grey fleece leopard print onesie while eating a halloween red velvet cupcake with purple frosting.
A thumb up from Yasmin

I too had a bite of the Blobby Shortcake,doughnut and the cute red velvet and chocolate Halloween themed cupcakes. I too like the Blobby shortcake. The sponges of the cupcakes are perfect! Not dry and not too moist. The doughnuts are lovely too and are a large size.

Isle of Wight Dairy

When I tasted the IoW milk, I have noticed the milk is slightly creamier than shop bought milk. I also noticed that the milk has not been homogenized a process that is often used to mix milk from different herds of cows, breakdown fat molecules to prevent it from separating and forming a layer of cream on top and suspend the fat evenly in the milk. I have to say I prefer the milk produced from our local farm to the supermarket milk.

grass fed butter vs corn fed butter
Grass fed cows produce deep yellow butter

Ive noticed the butter made locally by Briddlesford farm is more yellow compared to factory farm butter. So me being a scientist by trade, got my research skills to work to find out why. According to Elaine Khosrova the author of the book Butter: A rich history, Butter produced by a local farm is more yellow, because it contains a lot more beta-carotene. This indicates that the cows producing the milk to make this butter are grass fed. The fresh green grass the cow consumes contains beta-carotene, which is then absorbed into the fat. However factory farm cows don’t produce deep yellow butter, because most of them are grain fed cows hence is a lot lighter in colour as you can see from my picture of above.

A study showed that butter from grass fed cows contain 500% more conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) than grain fed butter. Which is great news for me, as I take CLA as a supplement to control my weight.

When it came to taste, I have to say the local butter has won the taste test! It is more creamier and smooth. Looks like I am converting to local dairy products instead of supermarket ones.

Now the bread

I had some white and seeded bread for breakfast with some of the IoW butter and jam. When I got the bread out and smelt both, I have noticed that the bread from Grace’s smell a lot nicer. I compared it with the supermarket bought bread and have noticed the stuff from supermarkets have a slight yeasty smell. Maybe they use a lot more yeast when mass manufacturing bread to decrease the time to produce the bread. I haven’t noticed this smell before, as I haven’t bought bread from the bakers for the past 17 years. Therefore nothing to compare it to. I’ve also noticed the seeded bread from Graces has a lot more seeds in the bread and love the seedy smell. It’s lush! Taste wise also taste better than supermarket bread. Looks like I will be buying my bread from Grace’s from now on too.

The oranges

The oranges looked really good. Yasmin and I tried one and found it a little sour, but that’t not a problem as we can still use them to cook, or make some dried orange slices for christmas. None is wasted. I have never ordered fruit online before. I prefer going to a shop to pick fruits myself, but am happy to order veg online.

My conclusion

It was such an eye opener for me to see how different in quality locally made bread, cakes and dairy is compared to the factory mass manufactured stuff. I have learned that the local stuff tastes a lot better and is more beneficial to health compared to supermarket bread and dairy. I will be from now on buy my bread, butter & milk from Grace’s bakery. Also I will know the bread I will be eating is has been freshly hand made the night before it arrives to me unlike supermarket bread that could be up t o 1 year old! If you haven’t tried your small, local, independent bakery, I recommend you do. By buying some or even all products from your local shop, wherever you are in the world, will support your local businesses!

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If you found this review helpful, have a look at my EcoEgg review here. The EcoEgg could save you £20/year and is eco-friendly.