Sunday, February 12, 2012

National Loaf...more

Co-op Bakery 1950Co-op Bakery 1950
If you study history you realise it is never complete. To most what happened in the past is cut, dried and pressed into a series of memorable or not so memorable dates. For the historian you always want to know more. So it is when I got distracted by the story of the National Loaf introduced in WW2. This is an update from a previous post called National Loaf....

The real name is the National Wheatmeal Bread (1942-1956), the term National Loaf is one coined after the war. There was also a National Cheese which was rationed, some months at just 2 ounces (56.6 grams) a week. It was processed and homogenised in the cheddar style. Also National Dried Milk which came in large tins introduced in the winter of 1941. Times were tough on the food front...and then you had to make something from dried egg powder.

The M&S Co-op version of that National Wheatmeal Bread was called the Golden Twist loaf and we know it was still being made in 1950 from this trumpted article..." The result is the famous Golden Twist loaf. Its colour a rich nut brown, its crust delectable, its texture perfect. Just try one out on the kiddies, and they will clamour for more."1
Then made at the Manchester and District Co-operative Bakery which was formed after the war as a joint venture by the M&S, Beswick, and the Blackley Co-op Societies who were baking off 1,600 loafs an hour. So brown bread wasn't that unpopular. Some or most of these would have been at the factory on Cakeloaf Street in Ardwick. What a great name, who came up with that? Just off Ardwick Green, around the corner from the M&S head quarters. This co-op transfered its engagements, a phrase much used in co-op business to cease trading because of financial difficulties, to the CWS in 1961.

Still work to be done. Re-create the National's nothing special if you can make your own bread. Not rocket science but just four ingredients, a hot oven and 3,000 years of history.

1. Manchester and Salford Monthly Herald April 1950, page 86

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