At La Gavroche, he puts classic techniques with a lighter touch on the menu. And this week, on SBS, he wants to put real bread on everyone's tables.
In the Great British Food Revival (5:55pm weeknights on SBS – watch the Bread episode on Tuesday 6 March then on SBS On Demand), Roux is on a mission. He wants everyone to discover there’s more to bread than a block that’s been made with production speed and low price points, not nutrition, in mind.
“I strongly believe that for too long we’ve sold bread that is lacking in nutrients and flavour,” he says in the show. He looks at a loaf with 14 ingredients, including vinegar, soy flour, mono diacetyl tartaric esters, diglycerides of fatty acids and palm oil. This, he says is not bread. Instead, he urges everyone to find a great local bakery – or even better, discover how easy it is to make your own: “I’m going to prove to you how simple it is make just an ordinary white loaf.”
If “white sponge” doesn’t suit your tastebuds – or your dietary needs – either, we’ve got good news.
If you want a really delicious white sandwich loaf that anyone can make – even if you’ve never made bread before - we’ve got Michel Roux’s own recipe. If you want to explore making a sourdough bread, we’ve got everything – and we mean everything – you need to know. And we’ve also got some great recipes for those who are gluten or wheat-free, including one of SBS Food’s most popular baking recipes, the life-changing loaf of bread.
1. Roux’s recipe for a reliable, simple sandwich bread
Michel Roux's simple sandwich bread is made with only flour, milk, butter, salt, yeast and a little golden syrup (which helps the yeast to grow and contributes to the lovely texture), and you don't need to be a master baker to make it.
“So simple to make, but the pleasure you get out of that is indescribable,” he says, after slathering a slice with butter. “Mmmm”.
2. Take it slow with sourdough
If you’d like to discover the rewards of making your own sourdough, SBS Food’s Bakeproof columnist, Anneka Manning, has put together the ultimate guide to creating a sourdough starter and baking with it.
Read her step-by-step guide to creating your own sourdough starter; get everything you need to know about how to make and bake your own sourdough bread here; and then bake Anneka’s basic sourdough loaf, seeded wholemeal sourdough loaf and sourdough rolls.
3. The life-changing loaf of bread
That’s what blogger and holistic nutritionist Sarah Britton of My New Roots calls this wheat-free, vegan loaf, which she shared with SBS Food a few years ago. It’s become one of our most popular gluten-free recipes.
“This loaf uses whole grains, nuts, and seeds. It is high in protein. It is incredibly high in fibre and vegan. Everything gets soaked for optimal nutrition and digestion. I will go so far as to say that this bread is good for you,” she says.
One of the other great things about this loaf is how flexible the timing is – it needs to sit for at least 2 hours after everything is mixed, but it can be left all day, or overnight, if that suits your plans better. It also freezes well.
4. A gluten-free loaf inspired by Danish rye bread
London-based Dane Caroline Fleming says that while making traditional rye bread is worth the effort, if you don’t have the time, this nøddebrød (nut bread) is a great gluten-free alternative. “This completely delicious version of Danish rye bread is gluten-free, dairy-free and wheat-free, which I know means a lot to many people. When I make this bread I make a double batch and freeze it in slices, so I always have it handy. It also makes a great alternative to rye bread for the traditional open Danish sandwiches.” The loaf uses almonds and five kinds of seeds, packing in a great range of nutrients.
5. Flat breads for a fast fix
Not all flatbreads are fast, and being fast isn’t the only thing we love about all the chapatis, parathas, tortillas and other flatbreads of the world. But if you do need to whip up a quick bread to serve with a meal, flatbreads are your friend. Check out SBS Food’s collection of more than 50 flatbread recipes from around the globe here, where you’ll find everything from Pakistani spiced flatbreads to buttery, flaky Malaysian roti.
6. The best of both worlds
Focaccia is for when you want both the springy chewiness of a loaf of homemade bread, but something simpler and quicker to make. A lot of focaccia recipes, like this Ligurian one by Andrew Ursini, have just one rise, putting warm bread on your table in under an hour.
And while a simple drizzle of oil or sprinkle of herbs can create a great focaccia, it’s also the perfect blank canvas, just waiting for whatever topping you like – olives, sliced potato, caramelised onion … it’s totally up to you. One idea: this tomato-topped beauty.
This is the French version of a bread and butter pudding and what’s great is you can use bread that isn’t the freshest - bread that’s stale that would otherwise end up in the bin.
“Inspired by a New York times recipe, this is a wonderfully rustic loaf of bread that requires literally no skills to make. All you need is a cast iron, ceramic or Pyrex dish and some time. The resulting loaf has a serious crust, an open crumb and lovely bite, with a flavour that hints towards a sourdough.” Poh Ling Yeow, Poh & Co. 2
More closely resembling naan than a true flatbread, this has a pillowy, soft texture, thanks to the beaten egg white and baking powder. It’s great for mopping up juices from curries and stews. Let your imagination run free with the flavourings – stirring chopped chives, coriander, parsley, garlic or caramelised onion into the mix – or serve them simply adorned with black nigella (or other) seeds.