Good Bread: Part 2: The Price of Consistency

Good Bread: Part 2: The Price of Consistency 150 150 Farmerama Radio


Good Bread episode 2, The Price of Consistency, is out on Farmerama Radio and Lecker 

This series by Lucy Dearlove  is in response to the Body Lab, a participatory arts and research project by baker Kimberly Bell  and artist Ruth Levene  which explores the industrial processes of grain testing. Over three episodes, Lucy explores what the body lab is, what the work around it has entailed so far, and what the outcomes might be. 

In part 2 of the series, Lucy explores where the uniformity of many of the loaves that we eat comes from, via a nourishing walk in the wheats at Gothelney Farm in Somerset led by Fred Price  and Rosy Benson.

Fred gives us a sense of what’s at stake for farmers in the current system, and Rosy tells us how being unafraid of failure and letting go of perfectionism is the best way to bake. 

Also hear some of the responses to our Breadline – where we asked our audience what makes good bread to you – which will be woven throughout the series.

Thank you to Fred and Rosy for the time and energy they put into this event and for all the work they do around growing and working with beautiful interesting grains that benefit the land and the people involved in it.


The Body Lab is funded by Farming the Future.  

This episode was made by Lucy Dearlove. Thanks to  the Farmerama team, Abby Rose, Jo Barratt, Dora Taylor, Katie Revell, Olivia Oldham, Annie Landless, Eliza Jenkins and Lucy Fisher. The series music is by Owen Barratt, and the artwork was by Hannah Grace @hannahgraceoc_

Episode Transcript:

[00:00:00] Henrietta: Hi, Farmerama Breadline. It’s Henrietta from Wakelin’s Bakery at Wakelin’s Agroforestry Farm in Suffolk. To me, what makes a good loaf is one that when we eat or physically incorporate, it touches us as humans and appeals to our humanity, at the core of which is love and compassion. That is bread that has been made from dough, treated with hands full of gentleness and respect for the ingredients they are touching and working with.

[00:00:37] Dough made from flour, milled with that gentleness and respect to, through stones, not rollers, which retrain flavour, nutrition and the whole grain. Flour made from grains grown with love, allowed to express themselves, rather than be sprayed with fertilizers to perform and fit into certain specifications.

[00:00:59] Grains grown from seed, which are diverse and beautiful, and again, not bred to fall under D. U. S. criteria, but grown because they have been saved, they have a story of a place and people, or they have been shared amongst friends, they have a history. Bread made with love, to bring more love in the world, and change the world.

[00:01:20] That was what makes good bread. Um, okay. So it’s really a load full of lots of love.

[00:01:36] Lucy Dearlove: This is Good Bread. I’m Lucy Dearlove. This is episode two, The Price of Consistency.

[00:01:58] I’m in a field in Somerset, along with about 30 other people. Fred Price, the farmer at Gothany Farm, who we met in episode one. has organised a walk in the wheats with Rosie Benson, the baker at the farm’s on site field bakery. Gothany also grows peas, oats and barley that they feed to their pigs. But we’ve walked past those and we’ve made it to the main event.

[00:02:23] Fred Price: This is a wheat field, finally we’ve got to a wheat field. Um, and when you’re driving around the country or in a train or cycling, picture this, every sixth field of wheat you drive past It will probably be the same variety. And this year in England it’s a variety called KWS Extase. And the reason is, is that it’s a terrific variety, it’s really high performing.

[00:02:48] And just to give you the scale perspective, every sixth field means 15 percent of the area, that’s a quarter of a million hectares, that’s a pile of grain, two million tonnes of grain, in which every single grain is identified. 

[00:03:02] Lucy Dearlove: The drive for consistency that Chris Hollister from Shipton Mill mentioned at the end of the last episode, the drive that powers the majority of bread production in this country, that drive starts much earlier than the mill.

[00:03:14] It starts in the field, with the farmer sowing a particular variety in order to meet the demand for certain characteristics from the market. But… 

[00:03:24] Fred Price: The problem with that system is that you’ve created a massive selection pressure. The kind of pathogens and the disease… will rapidly evolve to, to kind of sidestep the resistance that that variety has.

[00:03:39] And so these varieties last about two or three years and then you need another one. But there’s another kind of approach to managing um, disease and other kind of pressures of farming and that’s diversity. So this is what we call a population wheat and a population wheat just Basically means diversity, but the diversity is created by crossing different parents together.

[00:04:02] So you could just say, I’m going to take 10 wheats and mix them. That’s a mixture. A population is where you’ve chosen, say, 20 parents, and you cross them every possible way, and that’s 190 crosses. And from every cross, you might get 2, 000 new kinds of wheat. So if you’ve done 190 crosses, that’s potentially 600, 000 different genotypes.

[00:04:25] that could be grown in the same field. One of our friends and colleagues Ed Dickin made this point at a show lately in that farmers in the UK we take livestock breeding is very much like within the farmer’s toolbox. Farmers do their own livestock breeding, they make their own decisions, they do the breeding.

[00:04:40] Why have we got to this point where wheat breeding is done by a global conglomerate? I mean, it’s just bizarre. And that’s the norm. It wasn’t the norm. What I’m trying to say in a very technical, nerdy way is that This is kind of working, a kind of wheat system that’s working with nature and using natural principles to its advantage.

[00:05:01] And the way we were doing wheat before was really like a race to the bottom. 

[00:05:07] Lucy Dearlove: In episode one, we learned how the Body Lab, an ongoing project by baker Kimberley Bell and artist Ruth Levine, was developed in response to quantitative and so called qualitative metrics in industrial milling. I think Fred gives a sense here about what’s at stake for farmers in the current system.

[00:05:25] Growing these huge monocrops like KWS Extase is actually risky in terms of their susceptibility to pests and disease. They’re still seen as the safe option, but at what cost does this consistency come? What’s at stake, and what’s to gain, if we explore alternative systems for both the farmer and the baker?

[00:05:48] Ruth Levene: I think at the heart of this is giving people permission to fail. 

[00:05:52] Lucy Dearlove: Here’s Ruth. 

[00:05:53] Ruth Levene: I think we are quite unaware of how… We can easily be tracked by this need of success and producing things that are kind of somehow already exist. They have their own aesthetic and perfection and everyone thinks they know what’s good and it’s all kind of like in pursuit of…

[00:06:16] creating these, I guess, Instagrammable loaves, in a sense. But I think when you offer people the backstory, what’s, what’s behind the flower, which often doesn’t really get talked about, and I think there’s another disconnection, the flower comes in a bag, it’s there. But it’s not. And when you open that door up to the story of the seed, to the story of the farm, to the story of the environment and the impact and everything on it, the diversity, the taste, the flavour, then you offer loads more kind of tangible hooks for people, well for bakers.

[00:06:55] And for anyone really, but for bakers to kind of have a relationship with and to have these tangible things that they can kind of explore. And when you give them time to have that intention and attention around the sensory experiences of that, then you are giving them a palette of tools and materials to go off.

[00:07:19] And then you give them that time to play and experiment. Then you have a re energized group of bakers with. A desire and a curiosity to make something good, as opposed to reproduce something that already exists that we think is good. 

[00:07:38] Lucy Dearlove: Baker Rosie already reflected in the last episode about the power of aesthetics in bread. So often the white Canadian sourdough with good ears is king, at the expense of all else. But that’s not how she bakes. 

[00:07:52] Rosy Benson: There’s failure along the way, and I think maybe trying to decouple my own Um, thoughts around failure has been really helpful to not see it as a disaster and put me back in baking. And it’s actually quite a humbling process to have failure in baking and start again.

[00:08:10] And adjust one variable, not all of them at the same time, and try to… Take it as a learning process, not as a journey of disasters. Yeah, and honestly, I do think that even if I’m judgmental over the product when it comes out, if it’s not quite perfect looking, I often put it out and sell it because it tastes incredibly good and in comparison to a white fluffy low extraction flour croissant.

[00:08:45] Which has hardly any flavour except the sugar and the salt and things in it. This is like miles better anyway. So, I feel pretty confident that it is a better way of baking. Even if it’s not reached, reached the most perfect Instagrammable product. 

[00:09:05] Lucy Dearlove: For Kim. Being in a position to build real community with the people who buy your bakes is crucial to moving away from this drive for aesthetic consistency and perfection.

[00:09:16] Kimberley Bell: So, one of the great things about being a really small scale bakery is that the customers are our customers. They come to the bakery to buy something, and they’re not going to walk away without buying it. And if my bread’s not very good on a given day, I’m standing in front of them, and they’re going to buy it anyway.

[00:09:34] Because they can see that I’ve done the work for them, and that just because I’ve had a bit of a crap day at work doesn’t… It doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re just going to leave empty handed. And they’re very kind, because they know that we’re trying to work with local grain. They know that we’re trying to break new ground.

[00:09:50] They appreciate it, and that’s why they come to the bakery. So, when the bread is looking a bit flat, or it’s a bit burnt, or, you know, we didn’t have a good fermentation day, so it’s a bit sour. The customers will offer kindnesses in response and, and instead of rejecting us, they’ll say, oh, it all goes down the same way, or it still tastes just as good, or, you know, we’ll just toast it anyway, and we’ll see you next week, you know, and, and they, they’re with you, and, and that’s the difference, is that.

[00:10:20] The bread is no longer a commodity and I’m no longer a commodity and they appreciate that I showed up for them and they don’t want me to feel sad that I failed and that’s really nice. 

[00:10:31] Lucy Dearlove: A reference to the idea of an Instagramble loaf that both Rosie and Ruth mentioned earlier in the episode has come up again and again while I’ve been making this podcast.

[00:10:43] It’s something that Kim has thought about extensively. 

[00:10:46] Kimberley Bell: We are often. doggedly focused on consistency and we aim to achieve something that’s both aesthetic and delicious. But I often feel like the aesthetic gets given priority over delicious, which is a problem. And that is perpetuated by the fetishization of food through social media.

[00:11:12] So, a lot of people consume more food. through media than they do actually consider it through their bodies, through the meals that they eat. You know, there’s such a fascination with watching food be prepared on TV or looking at pictures of bread on Instagram. There’s this kind of like weird bubble of Of like, the perfect loaf has been created visually, which is probably not actually what we want.

[00:11:39] We’re probably more delighted when it tastes good. But when the customer is removed from the maker, from the artisan, they still have to make a judgment based on whether they want a thing. And I think the visual is… is a really powerful motivation for why you might buy one thing over another. So it then transpires that a failed life could be one that doesn’t look very good and that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s not good.

[00:12:10] There’s all sorts of monocultural kind of influence there because we’re in our own like bubbles of self reference and so It’s really common, I think, in artisan bakery to aspire for what most people consider a sourdough. So this is a loaf that’s commonly associated with a bakery in San Francisco called Tartine.

[00:12:32] It’s a loaf that has a certain volume, it has an open crumb, a kind of burnish, shiny, bubbly crust. And this bakery tartine became very famous and published in books about baking. They were extremely complex and inspired a lot of bakers to go quite deep on their sourdough process. But I think in, in turn they’ve created an aesthetic, which is something that people aspire to.

[00:12:55] And then obviously now we’ve got really complex algorithms deciding what we see in terms of the images of food. 

[00:13:02] Lucy Dearlove: The proliferation of this bread aesthetic has an impact on what some bakeries expect from their flours, as we heard in the last episode. Certain metrics, such as the protein level of flour, have become a sort of standard for even artisan bakeries, because they want to produce this certain kind of loaf.

[00:13:20] Kimberley Bell: There’s a belief maybe that having a high protein might help you to aspire to having these perfect loaves that are perhaps perpetuated by food media and the soundbite that comes out of that is you can’t make bread with low protein meat which for me is a bit of a dogma. 

[00:13:36] Rosy Benson: Many artisan bakers can use grain that is lower than 12 percent protein for bread. It actually makes really delicious bread, it’s just not this huge open crumb, sort of West Coast America style tartine bread. Sometimes it’s easier to eat, in fact, because it’s not that strong protein and it’s like, um, a softer crumb, more enjoyable. 

[00:13:59] Lucy Dearlove: And this applies to Hagberg’s falling number too, the measurement referring to the level of amylase activity in the grain. 

[00:14:06] This is an enzymic reaction that can happen when the seeds sprout in the field pre harvest. 

[00:14:11] Rosy Benson: So, you want the number to be above 200. Um, any lower numbers than that, you’ll find hard to bake with. It kind of turns into sloppy, over fermented dough very fast and it doesn’t last. The fermentation length, which you need for long fermentation bread like sourdough process bread.

[00:14:32] Fred Price: Interestingly, we’ve had a harvest here where we didn’t harvest anything over 185. And um, Rosie managed to get through the year. I mean, I’m not going to say it was a stress free year for Rosie. 

[00:14:43] Lucy Dearlove: The point is that skilled human bakers can adapt their processes to deal with variations in the wheat and ultimately the flour, but machines can’t.

[00:14:52] Kimberley Bell: Because the machine can’t tell if the flour is different on a slightly different day, and the bread will just come out wrong. And I was always a bit puzzled by why an artisan baker, someone who works with their hands and should be able to work with natural ingredients, also seemed to want protein at a certain level, and Hagberg at a certain level.

[00:15:11] I’m not saying it’s wrong to want those things, but it seemed to be a sticking point and I couldn’t help but feel that, you know, if organic farmers should be selling their wheat into local small scale milling systems and locally for artisan food production, but there seemed to still be this holding onto these metrics and then the discard of those crops if they didn’t meet those metrics and it felt like a waste to me.

[00:15:34] Rosy Benson: For me, it’s about Learning to work with whatever’s given to me. Being responsive to the dough. Having a strong intention to use that flour. And also like testing it after I’ve made different breads with different wheats and deciding with my kind of own senses what I enjoy eating and what, what I want to then ask to have more of the next year.

[00:16:00] The breads that we, we bake here. Most people want a tinned loaf of sourdough and they enjoy it being not too dark a bake. They have got used to the fact that it’s more whole grainy bread. It’s not 100 percent whole grain. It’s a blend of whole grain and sifted high extraction stone ground flour, all stone ground, all fresh milled and all grown either within the southwest or within our grain network, so directly traded grain.

[00:16:32] Usually. It’s population wheat blended with a bit of heritage wheat and that gives a flavour, interesting flavour, as well as functionality. And yeah, I think people enjoy it and want to eat more of it. And in terms of flavour, like, as well as the genetics of the grain, it’s the fermentation and the milling technique, like fresher flour more flavour than if it’s a flour that’s been Is that in a warehouse for a long time before it’s got to you and also the milling technique is it stone ground or is it roller milled roller milled low extraction flour hardly has any flavor and is what most bakeries will be using most artisan bakeries anyway That’s the bulk of their flour, unless they’re doing something really interesting and trying to use more whole grains or use more stone ground flour.

[00:17:33] That’s where a lot of flavour comes from, using more of the bran and the kind of whole grain and different varieties. 

[00:17:41] Lucy Dearlove: Once you hear Baker’s… talking about the flavour of different flowers. It starts to dawn how unusual it is to hear flower talked about in this way. I remember the first time I heard flower being talked about as a fresh product, it was on the Farmerama series cereal, and it was Kim talking about it.

[00:18:00] And I just never heard it discussed in that way before. Which is wild, right? It’s a food, it’s an ingredient, but so often it’s treated or positioned as a neutral kind of building material without any sort of flavour or characteristics in its own right. 

[00:18:15] Kimberley Bell: One of the things I felt really passionate about bringing to the conversation has been flavour and reminding people that it is food.

[00:18:24] So I found myself often at conferences about farming and about the politics of food. And I’ve, I’ve often found that there’s a missing voice, which I have tried to fill, which is to remind people to taste and to engage their bodies and their everyday with the bigger ideas that we’re talking about. So for example, you know, one of the functions of small food over the last few years has been to attend a national organic conference about where, where grains have been explored as.

[00:18:54] plot trials in the field, and there’s been lots of data around them. And our job as bakers was really just to show up with biscuits made from each of the wheats and remind everyone as they were exploring the plots to taste them. And it was so bizarrely radical, this idea. and some farmers were very like moved by the idea that they could try, they could actually eat the thing that they were talking about from an intellectual or systems focused point of view.

[00:19:21] Lucy Dearlove: Why do you think it was so radical? 

[00:19:24] Kimberley Bell: For me it was an illustration of how disconnected we’ve become, how disconnected we’ve become as humans with mouths and with feelings and sort of all kinds of sensory powers of evaluation from these much bigger systems that Ruth refers to, these kind of invisible infrastructures around why we grow certain crops.

[00:19:48] which varieties we might select, how we grow them, and what sort of farming techniques are deployed. Yeah, the two conversations weren’t coming together, and I think actually we are probably, well, it’s my belief, we’ll see, that if we can reconnect those two sensibilities, our ability to intellectually explore systems thinking and look at things at scale, and our ability to have Real like sensuous knowledge and to think and feel like within our bodies that we might make better Judgments, I think.

[00:20:27] Lucy Dearlove: I was really curious on a practical level for the baker in this scenario How the process of working with different wheats actually works? It’s something that Kim does constantly and so her process has adapted to fit this way of thinking 

[00:20:43] Kimberley Bell: I’ll give you just one tangible example is when I started working with a crop, which is nicknamed YQ.

[00:20:49] It’s a diverse population wheat that I felt was an important tool to support from a farming perspective. I wanted to find a way of working with it. One of the things that surprised me about it, or something I had to vary quite drastically, was the temperature at which I ferment a sourdough bread using that wheat is much lower than the temperature that I would ferment.

[00:21:11] other grains at. It would probably take quite a leap of faith for a baker who’s I’ve never experienced that before to actually try that because it feels like it wouldn’t work and that just comes back to This like, you know what I was saying about there are a lot of dogmas in baking Because we’ve just been treading such a narrow line for so long and pursuing this idea of perfection that it It’s actually very difficult to get people to try things that seem like they’re going to fail right from the outset Because of the things they believe they know to be true I mean in most cases i’ve managed to get the wheat to fit a bread that’s not dissimilar to the one we had the previous year.

[00:21:49] In some cases we’ve had to open up whole new product lines to be able to use a crop because it hasn’t been appropriate for the, for the sort of mainstay bread that we were selling in the bakery. So for example, I’ve done development work with extruded pasta to try to make use of older, much more flavourful varieties of wheat from British traditions that are great tools for farmers to use in the field and also taste amazing.

[00:22:20] But, you know, I actually bought a pasta extruder because I figured out that was the best way to use a crop one year. I’ve also tried to look at Opening my mind in terms of what I want to sell on my counter and instead of just following the trend for sort of high volume viennoiserie, so croissant and pain au chocolat, these kind of French traditions, trying to come back to some of the maybe more old fashioned British baking traditions like scones and tea cakes and things like that that actually are much better wheats.

[00:22:53] that might get discarded for animal feed if bakers weren’t prepared to use them. So it’s about having a really open mind in quite a few directions, I think. And for me, it’s about knowing the farmer in the miller because we’re kind of committed. We’re kind of interdependent. And so I see it as my duty and my job to be a buffer for those systems, so I’m committed to them and that harvest.

[00:23:20] So, and that would have been how it was, you know, that was your harvest and you’ve got to deal with it. But I think it could sound like a hardship, but it really isn’t. It’s been an, you know, going through this journey of discovery has been an amazing upskill for me and any bakers that have worked through me.

[00:23:36] And also like, I think that That what we offer in the bakery, the products, have become better for it. 

[00:23:42] Ruth Levene: And some of the things that we’ve learned is this kind of idea that some of the bakers or people who work in bakeries are kind of very much led by the fear of what they think their customers want. And that kind of seemingly dictating it, so it’s kind of like, you’ve got this kind of cycle and it’s like, well, where does the, who’s responsible for the change, where does the change happen, who’s going to step out, because if there’s all these people, all these nodes along a kind of system, and they’re all kind of dependent on each other.

[00:24:13] then this is just going to keep going. So the idea that the bakers hold a kind of space and a key to re explore, they are the kind of, I guess, the people in the kind of system who can really break out and see things and frame things and then help show that their customers that there’s another way and give a purpose for the farmers to grow more diverse wheat.

[00:24:42] Do you know one thing I was thinking, slightly unrelated, but kind of when you were talking about your customers and the relationship and stuff, and what made me think one of the things that I’ve become really aware of in the BodyLove project is trust. And I think there’s something around trust. across the board in this that has become really important and that’s about trusting our senses or trusting the people you’re in this relationship with.

[00:25:09] And there’s something when you were talking Kim about your customers being forgiving if you’ve had a kind of bad baking day, you know, there’s something kind of inherently cynical about going to a supermarket. distrusting and demanding, and there’s no forgiveness there. It’s just kind of, it’s a faceless kind of enterprise.

[00:25:30] And so even though there is incredible seeming choice, there’s very little choice actually, it doesn’t encourage people to be that experimental somehow, even though there’s a lot of stuff in there. So it’s kind of like, I don’t know, there’s something about Seeing diversity or seeing that things aren’t all the same or seeing things that they change all the time and this, you know, is a kind of learning journey along those.

[00:26:01] I imagine kind of witnessing coming into your bakery each week and seeing the loaves in a slightly different way and then having a conversation about. how and why builds trust in so many ways? 

[00:26:15] Kimberley Bell: It does and we’ve also got the opportunity to offer people tasters and we take our customers to visit farms with us. 

[00:26:25] And we have also invited customers to attend sensory workshops in the past as well where we’ve needed to build some kind of like momentum with a new product range or something like that. When customers have joined us on those sensory sessions to evaluate the bread in depth, they become incredibly attached to it.

[00:26:45] And it often shakes their perception of what they like and don’t like, I mean it does me as well. I used to run regular Friday afternoon drop in tastings and it could just be anything, I’d just pull whatever we got too much of off the counter and I’d sit a group of people down and for free they could just…

[00:27:00] Have a, a bake, you know, it was always advertised as a free tasting workshop with Head Baker Gimpley. And it was just such a funny thing, but people would show up in all seriousness and sit down at the table and they would join in and we’d have really great conversations. But they would bring their attention to our products during that time and they would leave with different intentions and often we’d have children come with their parents as well and that was always most surprising because I observed that the children often liked the bread that A, their parents didn’t think they were going to like, but B was also the bread that I most wanted people to buy.

[00:27:36] So it was usually a wholemeal sourdough from a crop that was really niche or really tasty or really good. And because the children didn’t necessarily have these preconceived sort of fetishized frameworks from social media about what good bread should be, they literally were just following their senses and they would come up with the right answer.

[00:27:57] The people who had attended those workshops would change their shopping behavior after that. And they would be much more engaged in what we were doing and what we were selling, and they’d maybe be more confident to follow their preferences next time they selected something off the counter. 

[00:28:11] Lucy Dearlove: In a way, this is how I felt at Gothany.

[00:28:15] I bought a load of delicious things that Rosie had baked at Field Bakery. A cinnamon bun, a sausage roll with kimchi in, a slice of quiche with crumbly dark pastry, and a filling that tasted so perfectly, so purely of egg, that I felt like I’d never actually eaten quiche before in my life. And I loved eating those things.

[00:28:33] But spending a couple of hours in the fields on the farm, hearing Fred and Rosie talk about what had gone into making them, meant that I came back to the bakery and I looked at everything with slightly different eyes. I felt excited, even more excited, about tasting them now I had this sort of insider knowledge, this investment.

[00:28:54] Fred Price: I wish someone had kind of teleported me here ten years ago when we were still, I was a spray contractor, and we were spraying and fertilizing. Because to me, this feels abundant, productive. Yeah, it makes what I was doing ten years ago look really fun. Um, and obviously not every field looks like this, but it shows the potential and it gives me that little bit of keep on to the next one.

[00:29:23] I’m looking at the last 15 years, you know, and trying to like piece it together myself. So with that caveat in mind, in general terms, the farmers moved from a kind of egocentric type system where I was trying to, as the farmer, impose myself on the system. Um, how does that. kind of link back to grain, we were loading 30, 35 lorries a year with barley, horseweed, rape and wheat.

[00:29:53] And in that system, we were actually pretty disenfranchised as a grower. Fundamentally, because we didn’t control our price and because there was a big disconnect between us and wherever it was going, and therefore there was no way of communicating the nuances or different sort of set of purposes or values like agroecology.

[00:30:15] And so kind of connecting more directly with people, thinking about a smaller food system, local is one word. Small food is another word. Human scale is another word. These kind of things evoke a kind of deep connection between the producer and the consumer, in whichever way that may take. But what that does is it enables you as a farmer to start by saying, How do I want to farm?

[00:30:42] Or have the freedom to feel your way into something rather than be constricted within a… Within two basic parameters, which I was before, which is yield and scale. Yield because you reduce your production cost per ton, scale because you reduce your overheads per acre. So therefore you’re more profitable if you’re high yielding and big.

[00:31:03] That’s the logic that I was pursuing for the first five years of farming. And it leads you down a kind of terrifying path. 

[00:31:09] Kimberley Bell: Unfortunately, it’s led us. In the main, to all be aspiring to bake the same loaf of bread, which I think is a questionable scenario. We should, we, a scenario we should be questioning.

[00:31:22] Because that doesn’t fit with… That doesn’t fit with an idea that we could be better, that we could have a better agriculture through diversity, through principles of diversity. I think one thing I’ve realised is that if we want diversity in agriculture to create resilience and to come up with better solutions in the face of, you know, a climate emergency, then the bakers need to reflect that in their baking practices.

[00:31:51] The danger is that… If bakers become incapacitated by the need to deliver that consistent and very specific aesthetic, then they can’t serve the agriculture that they’re part of. And also, I think it’s really detrimental to their own sense of worth. So there’s lots of motivation for trying to break this trap, I think.

[00:32:15] My kind of way in to the project that we’ve been working on together is, has really been through the food and through the enjoyment of the food and through the ideas of conviviality and it’s been interesting for me as I’ve gone through the journey becoming a baker and engaging with a kind of grain advocacy network in the UK.

[00:32:36] Fred Price: And this week’s particularly special because Kim and Henrietta and I and maybe some others here Um, we visited a guy called Anders Borgen in Denmark last year. And he’s a plant breeder, um, for organic conditions. And this is one of his varieties. And we brought it back from Denmark. So this variety means a lot to me.

[00:32:57] Um, and what’s interesting about it is… Sometimes when you make a change, it, it, it makes you ask the next question, right? So, if you’re not growing a single variety like KWS Extase, and you’re growing a population, how do you say, well, what is this population? What’s its name? What’s its identity? Because if I gave this, this population to a farm in Northumberland, or in Suffolk, or in Denmark, it would evolve in a different direction, so it becomes different.

[00:33:24] So whereas, you know, Cato’s Ecstasy is defined by its uniformity, there’s a big question about how do we define what this is. And you know, the beautiful thing is the way you define it is, is a very like human thing we can all relate to. It’s the people who grow it, the place where it grows. And so it’s, it’s a very much like a human thing.

[00:33:42] And so bringing all these people and there’s, when I stand in this field, that’s what it evokes in me.

[00:33:52] Yeah. So I think what was really interesting about today’s group. Was that it hadn’t been choreographed in any way. Like it wasn’t the Southwest Grain Network, it wasn’t for farmers, or it wasn’t being put on by a particular organisation, or there was no kind of purpose other than connecting people to a field of wheat through Field Bakery or through Goffney Farm.

[00:34:12] And so that was one thing that was really nice, you know, there was a really different bunch of people with all different kind of, um, angles and experiences. I just had a moment on the way round where I looked over my shoulder and then saw this like long stream of people trailing out after two hours of traipsing around Goughney Farm.

[00:34:35] And I was like, wow, that is really different to what it was like 10 years ago here. Like, and then, and it was actually like, I mean, I’m sort of laughing about it, but I mean, that was quite a big, that was, yeah, there was a quite a special moment. Yeah. That’s really cool. 

[00:34:51] Rosy Benson: Yeah, I’ve baked, um, some teslos from this grain which Fred had bought over before it went in the ground.

[00:34:59] They’re whole grain loaves and I’ve got them sliced off the back in the bakery. So, if you want to taste population wheat, then do come and have a taste after. It’s a really delicious flavour and it’s really exciting what this crop could be for the network of bakers. So to be able to access this grain and support the kind of farming that it’s grown in, as well as what it stands for in terms of diversity, is an amazing opportunity for

[00:35:32] us. 

[00:35:32] Lucy Dearlove: On the next episode of Good Bread, Kim and Ruth start to imagine. How the body lab might actually work. Can they reimagine a measurement system for grain that would work for farmers, bakers, millers, and eaters in this different system that we’ve heard about?

[00:36:00] Good Bread is hosted and produced by me, Lucy Dearlove. The body lab is a project by Kimberley Bell and Ruth Levine, funded by Farming the Future. Thanks very much to Shipton Mill. for their time, openness, and generosity in allowing us to explore these ideas. Thanks to everyone at Farmerama who has helped with this series in various ways.

[00:36:24] Jo Barrett, Abby Rose, Dora Taylor, Olivia Oldham, Annie Landless, Eliza Jenkins, and Lucy Fisher. The music is by Owen Barrett. The artwork was by Hannah Grace. If you haven’t already listened to Serial, the Farmerama series about bread made by Katie Rebel, please go away and listen to it. It’s amazing. Thank you to everyone who called in to the breadline that we set up.

[00:36:53] You heard Henrietta at the top of this episode sharing what makes good bread for her. And thanks very much to you for listening.