Nenu The Artisan Baker

Nenu The Artisan Baker is an eatery place which, located in typical bakery environment, blends traditional Maltese cooking, history, memorabilia and entertainment with interactive participation within a relaxed ambience.

Twentieth Century

The International Dimension of Bread

Gas ovens replaced the wood and coal burning brick ovens, producing much more even results. Large automated baking units significantly increased productivity. The Chorleywood Bread Process, which enabled increased use of home grown wheat, helped produce more bread at a lower price in the UK. Today the wrapped, sliced loaf is a staple in the British diet but fresh ideas and development of new techniques continue to provide a variety of new ethnic and speciality breads. 

Otto Rohwedder started work on a bread slicing machine and after many setbacks produced a machine that sliced bread and wrapped it to keep the moisture in. It took many years for his machine to become accepted.

During the First World War, bread trade was subjected to strict trade regulations. Experiments began to solve problems, like keeping bread fresh for troops in the trenches, the conservation of supplies and the stoppage of waste. Alternatives to wheat, such as mixtures of peas, arrowroot, parsnips, beans, lentils, maize, rice, barley and oats were used in bread experiments.

The French government issued law preventing bakers from working before 4am. This made it impossible to make the traditional loaf in time for customers' breakfasts. The longer, thinner baguette solved the problem because it could be prepared and baked much more rapidly.

Otto Rohwedder's bread slicing machine was first exhibited at a bakery trade fair in America.

Scientists identified the benefits of wholemeal flour and bread but this did not change the nation's overwhelming preference for white bread.

Introduction of commercial bread slicers for use in large bakeries. Sliced bread appeared in Britain in 1930 under the Wonderbread label. 

By 1933 around 80% of bread sold in the US was pre-sliced and wrapped. Americans loved it so much that the expression "the best thing since sliced bread" was coined.

Calcium was added to flour to prevent rickets which had been detected as common in women joining the land army.

The London Wholesale and Multiple Bakers joined with regional organisations to form The Federation of Bakers, to assist in organising the wartime production and distribution of bread.

The 'National Loaf', roughly equivalent to today's brown bread, was introduced due to shortage of shipping space for white flour.

Reintroduction of slicing and wrapping loaves which was prohibited during World War II as an economy measure.

The Baking Industry (Hours of Work) Act, known as the Night Baking Act, came into force. It was the culmination of a long campaign to control night working in bakeries Although the working conditions in bakeries which had prompted the campaign had largely disappeared by the 1950s, the Act lead to the introduction of the National Agreements of the Baking Industry between employers and the Bakers' Union, regulating working conditions in the baking industry. Although the industry has now moved away from national bargaining, the National Agreements still form the basis for working arrangements in most companies. The Night Baking Act was repealed in 1986. 

The National Loaf was abolished. Laws were introduced whereby all flour other than whole-wheat had to be fortified with minimum amounts of calcium, iron, Vitamin B1 (thiamin) and nicotinic acid.
Ever-increasing efficiency of production and distribution systems, as well as the development of the supermarket, began the shift away from bread produced by small master bakers and the emergence of the large wholesale companies.

Nutrition studies indicated white bread may not be the healthiest option and whole-wheat bread became fashionable because of its additional fiber. The long-standing status symbol of white bread  was gradually diminished.

The Bread and Flour Regulations were introduced, governing the composition and additives permitted in bread and flour.

The Chorleywood Bread Process, or no time method, was developed in 1961 by the Flour Milling and Baking Research Association at Chorleywood. This substantially reduced the long fermentation period by introducing high energy mixing for just a few minutes, dramatically reducing the time taken to produce a loaf. The process also permitted a much greater proportion of home grown wheat to be used in the grist.

As the process become widespread and coupled with an increase in the scale of bread production as bakers consolidated, merged or were taken over, coupled with the continuing growth of the supermarket, the ever increasing demand for sliced and wrapped bread maintained its pace.

This reflected the changing nature of British society. Women were going out to work in substantial numbers for the first time, there was a substantial uplift in post war affluence, and it was a decade of technological advancement – sliced and wrapped bread fitted neatly into this cultural shift by providing above all convenience.

Italian Flours were graded by an Italian law. The grading was based on measuring the ash content of the flour (just as for French and German Flours.)

England’s first amendment of Bread and Flour Regulations.

Spillers left the baking market reducing the major players from three to two Allied Bakeries and British Bakeries.

The 1972 Bread and Flour Regulations replaced with an updated version limiting number of permitted additives but allowing ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) in wholemeal bread for the first time. This vastly improved the softness of the wholemeal loaf and lead to an increase in its popularity.

Studies from the Western World indicate how the development of soft grain white bread with greater fibre content led to a reduction of brown bread consumption.

In Canada a government report on The Health of the Nation, led to the formation of the Nutrition Task Force, which recommended that bread consumption be increased by 50%. 

The French Law clearly stated that bread called "pain de tradition française", "pain traditionnel français", "pain traditionnel de France" or some name combining these terms can only be sold if they have not been frozen at any point during their making, do not contain any additives, and are produced from a dough which has specific characteristics.

Bread wrapped in silver packaging sees its introduction on the supermarket shelf. This increased bread shelf life to a maximum of seven days. 


Where is Nenu The Artisan Baker?

The Bakery, 143, St Dominic Street, Valletta, Malta  Tel: 22581535

Tuesday to Saturday [11.00 - 23.00]  Sunday open for lunch