Inside the Factory: How Our Favourite Foods Are Made: Bread

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Inside the Factory: How Our Favourite Foods Are Made: Bread

Series 1

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Review

Cherry Healey gapes in astonishment as vast sifting machines jiggle about in a mill. They look like entire rooms on stilts doing the hokey cokey, but inside they’re filled with ground wheat, in the process of being sieved into ever-finer meal, AKA flour.

It’s one of quite a few memorable sights in a devastatingly simple programme about the process of turning wheat into a sliced loaf. This is the sort of TV they made in the 1960s, showing production lines and ovens and pipes, and it could easily be pedestrian but in fact delivers a punchy, informative hit at each stage.

The story of yeast could make a documentary on its own (BBC4 may be working on it) and the mechanics of “four-piecing” and “the Chorleywood process” are explained (they’re modern ways of regulating the texture). We also learn the origins of the phrase “upper crust” and why it is dumb to keep bread in the fridge: it goes stale more quickly, but nine per cent of us do it anyway.

Summary

Gregg Wallace and Cherry Healey find out about the production of three household staples, beginning with bread. Gregg visits one of Britain's largest bakeries, which makes up to one and a half millions loaves each week, where he sees a machine that can bag a loaf in mid-air. Cherry is at a mill to discover the secret of making the perfect flour and historian Ruth Goodman shows the hidden killers that used to lurk within bread.

Cast & Crew

Presenter Gregg Wallace
Presenter Cherry Healey
Contributor Ruth Goodman
Executive Producer Alice Harper
Series Producer Chris Parkin
Documentary Education