Graham wrote:Bread flour : Horribly overpriced in the few places that I found it. ( The boulangers seems to have the flour for bread supplies stitched up.)
Again Aldi & Lidl provided the workaround with breadmixes that I could dilute with non-bread baking flour.
Outside of the UK, bread is baked with almost any flour. No need to buy strong flour, though you may need to use a little more yeast to develop the gluten.
The reason that there is special flour in the UK for bread making is that the climate naturally produces wheat that is relatively low in gluten. So, when the UK was self-sufficient in grains, at least in years when hard wheats didn't grow well, it was normal to add gluten to flour. Without it, the wheat gluten and yeast don't consistently develop the gluten network well. So, British mills have for centuries, increased the amount of gluten in flours to make it easier to bake bread with it. This is 'strong' flour.
Dove's farm have a partial explanation on their page. They import hard wheats instead of adding gluten. https://www.dovesfarm.co.uk/about/types-of-flour/
As for pre-packed porridge... I've bought it a few times. It's been common in the US for years; since I was a child, at least. When I was young, that was sometimes our breakfast. I think that my mum trusted me with a kettle and boiling water before she trusted me to cook porridge
So, I made instant oats for me and my brother before school. I liked the apple and cinnamon flavour, but none of the ones with powdered milk in them. As an adult, I've used them camping and/or touring a few times. They can be made with hot water from any place that has it for tea, such as a petrol station, or a hotel room kettle. So one can have hot porridge without any cooking gear
p.s. the local dairy-free chocolate hazelnut spread is a staple in our house.
“In some ways, it is easier to be a dissident, for then one is without responsibility.”
― Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom