By now ya’ll know that I love to bake bread. For me it is therapeutic. The act of kneading dough is a great stress reliever and the smell of it baking in the oven is the best aromatherapy ever! It’s relaxing to me, that when I am busy running around and chasing kids that I can go into the kitchen and create something that has been made for thousands of years. In this day of gluten free and paleo diets and the whole low carb craze, bread often gets a bum wrap. However, many people in the past survived on bread. Yes, I believe it was very different from what we have now in many cases, but it was a household staple.
During the 1900s our country commercialized bread. We started ingesting bread that was made by machines and with GMO grains that were chemically bleached and enriched. The bread that was once a healthy staple in our homes quickly became a very unhealthy one. As the obesity epidemic continues in our country I sometimes wonder how. Most people I know eat whole grain breads that they buy from the grocery store. Some restaurants offer whole grain buns and breads instead of white flour. Several people I know eat the low calorie, low carb, whole grain breads on the grocery store shelves. What gives? They still battle their weight and they aren’t all that healthy. My theory- it’s the commercial process of baking bread. Even the “good” breads last way too long on the shelf. I don’t see that as a good sign. When I bake homemade bread I am lucky if it lasts 1 week without spoiling. I have had commercial bread (whole grain, reputable brands) last weeks in the pantry!
When I make sourdough bread at home there are 4 ingredients I starter, Flour, water, and salt. The ingredients in commercial sourdough breads is usually many more. For example here is the ingredient list for a popular brand of sourdough bread taken from that brand’s website :
|ENRICHED WHEAT FLOUR (FLOUR, MALTED BARLEY FLOUR, NIACIN, REDUCED IRON, THIAMIN MONONITRATE, RIBOFLAVIN, FOLIC ACID), WATER, YEAST, HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP, CONTAINS 2% OR LESS OF EACH OF THE FOLLOWING: SALT, SOYBEAN OIL, ACETIC ACID, VINEGAR, SODIUM STEAROYL LACTYLATE, MONOGLYCERIDES, XANTHAN GUM, CELLULOSE, TAPIOCA STARCH, WHEAT STARCH, ENZYME, CALCIUM PROPIONATE AND CITRIC ACID (TO PRESERVE FRESHNESS)|
High Fructose Corn Syrup? Tapioca starch? soybean oil? Why? Because how else would it last through cross country transportation? Gone are the times where there is a neighborhood bakery. Most bakeries in my area specialize in cakes and cupcakes. Beautiful and yummy, but not for everyday consumption.
I have to say that since I have been making my own breads, I have less digestive issues than with commercial breads. Personally I feel it’s because I focus on buying organic flours from reputable companies that don’t contain GMO grains. I don’t have any scientific proof, but believe it is because my body isn’t stressed by processing unnecessary chemicals and toxins on top of the bread. My husband says there is nothing quite like coming home to the smell of fresh baked bread. He says if I could bake bread around the clock for the aroma he would probably never want to leave. I take it as a compliment. Of course he doesn’t mind eating the bread either 🙂 Bread is a labor of love. There is the mixing and the kneading and the waiting for it to rise, but the reward is great. Nice beautiful wholesome bread for a fraction of the cost of store bought.