National Loaf

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National loaf
Type Bread
Place of origin Britain
Main ingredients Wholemeal flour

The National Loaf was a bread made from wholemeal flour with added calcium and vitamins, introduced in Britain during the Second World War.[1] Introduced in 1942, the loaf (similar to today's brown bread) was made from wholemeal flour to combat wartime shortages of white flour. The loaf was abolished in October 1956.[2]

The National Loaf was grey, mushy and unappetising; only one person in seven preferred it to white bread, which became unavailable. The government insisted on it because it saved space in shipping food to Britain[3] and allowed it to better utilize its existing stock of wheat.[4] Eleanor Roosevelt, the American First Lady, visiting Buckingham Palace in 1942, noted that "We were served on gold and silver plates, but our bread was the same kind of war bread every other family had to eat."[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The 1940s House: The Kitchen". Discovery Communications, Inc. 2010. Retrieved 15 March 2012. 
  2. ^ "The 20th Century". Federation of Bakers. 2007. Archived from the original on 2007-07-11. Retrieved 15 March 2012. 
    - Derek J. Oddy (2003). From plain fare to fusion food: British diet from the 1890s to the 1990s. Boydell Press. p. 171. ISBN 978-0-85115-934-8. Retrieved 15 March 2012. 
  3. ^ Richard W. Lacey (1994). Hard to Swallow: A Brief History of Food. Cambridge University Press. pp. 108–9. 
    - Angus Calder, The people's war: Britain 1939-45 (1969) pp 276-77
  4. ^ "Unconventional Ingredients". The Great British Bake Off. Season 4. Episode 8. 8 October 2013. BBC Two. 
  5. ^ Edna Healey (2012). The Queen's House: A Social History of Buckingham Palace. Pegasus Books. p. 275.