The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Two documentaries about bread on BBC4 this week...

GaryJ's picture

Two documentaries about bread on BBC4 this week...

Just a quick heads-up for any UK fresh loafers... BBC4 are showing two hour long documentaries about bread this week.

The first is 'Bread: A Loaf Affair' on Wednesday 24th March at 9pm (

then, 'In Search of the Perfect Loaf' on Thursday 25th March at 9pm (

I'm sure they will be on the BBC iPlayer if you miss the broadcast though.



Zeb's picture

Hi Gary

Thanks for pointing those out.  They both look like they might be interesting. Particularly the first one, I think bread history is really interesting.  I have been trying to find out how bread was baked on board ships. Big ships like the SS Great Britain had proper ovens and if you go round it today you can see mocked up breads on display in the kitchen. I reckon they must have used an old dough starter to make all these raised breads on a long trip, they didn't have a fridge, carried live cows for milk,  but no one so far has come up with an answer. My OH volunteers on the boat and no one there knows the answer.

kind regards, Zeb

GaryJ's picture

Hi Zeb,

I have a fascination with bread history too. My wife is sometimes a little concerned at the frequency with which she finds me thumbing through the pages of my well worn copy of 'English Bread and Yeast Cookery' by Elizabeth David.

I think it is great that there are two full length documentaries solely about bread on though. The (fairly) recent River Cottage and Hairy Bakers stuff on bread has been insubstantial to say the least. Hopefully these two will go a little deeper.

Good luck with finding out more info on bread making on the SS Great Britain and other big ships. I would be interested to know more about it if you do find out.



ClaireC's picture

I enjoyed both - and inflicted both on my long-suffering husband as well, so he would have more of a clue what I talk about half the time!

I was fascinated by the Iron Age bread which was leavened with yeast from elderberries.  I've jotted down how it was done, though the details were only rough, so that I can have a go in the autumn.   Has anyone ever tried anything similar??

Raymond Blanc is doing a program looking at bread on BBC2 next Monday.  I think it was at 8.30pm, which I also thought might be worth a look.

Is the BBC doing a special season on bread, or is this all coincidence?  It's good, either way.

Martyn's picture

That's right Claire, Raymond Blanc, BBC2 at 20:30 on monday.

Legendary chef Raymond Blanc welcomes the cameras into his kitchen to share his cooking secrets. Filmed in the lively surroundings of his Oxfordshire restaurant kitchen, this programme features a range of achievable and inspirational recipes for cooks of all abilities.

Raymond focuses on bread and the miracle of yeast. His first recipe is a French classic, brioche, a buttery bread using eggs that is the easiest of bread recipes. Using this as a base, he makes a celebratory gateau a la creme brioche filled with a lemony creme fraiche. To follow, we get down to basics with a French country bread recipe essential to any bakers' repertoire, that is formed into beer-topped rolls, a basket-shaped loaf and an olive-and-tomato-topped fougasse. To finish, there's a delicate yet spectacular dessert of apple croustade made from the thinnest pastry baked until crisp and golden.

Along the way, Raymond visits one of the UK's oldest flourmills, Shipton Mill in Gloucestershire, to experiment making bread with gluten-free flour.