It's no secret that baking bread is an exact science.
But it's also an incredibly demanding job for those who choose to do it the old-fashioned way. Artisanal baking involves being on your feet for 12 hours at a time, being exposed to intense heat, and having to lift insanely heavy bags of flour all day, all of which can lead to muscle tension, displace vertebrae, and a number of other repetitive strain injuries.
Yet, for all of this toiling away in front of bread ovens, the end product is definitely worth it—at least for consumers.
So when a frozen food behemoth like Iceland Foods decides to make an ad showing a "baker," making "artisanal bread"—inside of a windmill, no less—it's obviously going to draw the ire of the real bakers who push their minds and bodies to the edge to make bread.
According to The Guardian, the ad in question, which has since been taken down, reportedly features an interview with a baker kneading dough and enumerating the handful of "natural" ingredients used by Iceland. "Our stone-baked bread is made from the best wheat, sourdough, water, salt, and an amount of yeast," he tells the camera. "The philosophy is that we only use natural ingredients. Once at home, store the bread in the freezer, bake the bread frozen in the oven."
The problem is that Iceland's baked goods, no matter how great the windmill, are closer to Wonder Bread than to anything that we would call artisanal or homemade. Unlike the scene described in the commercial, their bread is manufactured in huge machines with chemical additives.
Eventually, after a complaint from Real Bread Campaign and another unnamed television viewer, the UK's ad watchdog, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), stepped in and ruled that Iceland Foods had gone too far in their efforts to convince consumers that the bread was made using traditional methods.
In their ruling, the ASA added that the video was overly simplified and called for a ban of the ad. "Because the depiction of the baking process, and claims surrounding it, did not accurately reflect the way in which the products were produced, and suggested they contained fewer ingredients than was the case, we concluded that the ad breached the code."
RECIPE: Focaccia Bread
The baking purists at Real Bread Campaign told The Guardian that they were thrilled about the decision because the ban was a win not only for consumers but for hard-working bakers across the UK. "This ASA decision is great news for shoppers seeking an honest loaf of real bread and for the independent, local bakeries employing genuine artisan bakers who really do make fresh, additive-free loaves by hand," Real Bread Campaign coordinator Chris Young told The Guardian.
In other words, handmade bread continues to be the most delicious way to stick it to the man.