Breads, Green Living

How To Find Wholesome Healthy Bread

How to find wholesome, healthy bread
Making your own bread from scratch is an easy way to ensure your bread is wholesome and healthy.
The term “You are what you eat” gained new meaning last month when an outspoken food blogger exposed some of the chemicals found in commercial bread.  She honed in on Subway for its use of a bread “conditioner” know as azodicarbonamide , a substance also used in yoga mats and shoe rubber.

The petition gained international attention and Subway has since announced that it will remove the substance from its bread.

No word though from the major grocery store bread brands, whose products contain the same ingredient, along with other conditioners such as monoglycerides, diglycerides, sodium stearoyl lactylate.

Food Babe, the name by which the investigative blogger is known, has also brought to light all sorts of other chemicals common in the grocery store breads, chemicals that have turned the “staff of life” into a nutrition-less substance that we all eat an awful lot of.

Basic bread made from flour, water, yeast and salt shouldn’t last on the counter more than a few days and is best eaten within a day or frozen. Preservatives in commercial bread don’t so much keep it fresh as just keep it from spoiling (which is different), and the fact that standard grocery store bread takes a long time to grow mold isn’t necessarily a good thing.

Genetically modified ingredients (GMOs) are common in commercial bread, in the form of soy lecithin, soybean oil, corn oil, corn starch or soy flour. GMOs are heavily pesticide dependent and that pesticide residue makes its way to your table.

Artificial flavouring and colouring is common in commercial breads, especially “caramel colour” which is not created from any natural food substance.

Highly processed gluten-free breads are no better when it comes to chemicals and preservatives.

Since bread is a staple in most households it’s helpful to know that finding good, wholesome bread is easier than you might think.

Local independent bakeries usually make their bread from scratch, making it easy to avoid preservatives. Many local bakeries also use locally-grown stone-ground flour that is more flavourful and nutritious than commercial white flour. Where I live, Cochran’s, McPhee’s Bakery and Cookie Crumb Bakery all offer fresh-baked bread made from scratch.  In-store bakeries at major grocery chains often bake from mixes so check the ingredient labels before you assume that freshly-baked loaf is wholesome.

There are also some brands of breads available at grocery stores (and some markets) that are free of preservatives, “conditioners” and other chemicals. In the freezer section look for Ezekiel Bread (available as loaves, English muffins and tortilla bread).

Another option is of course to make your own bread. Few things are more satisfying or gratifying than sitting down to a slice of still-warm homemade bread. If you’re new to baking with yeast there are simple recipes that are especially easy to mix up, don’t require proofing the yeast, and make bread baking as simple as baking cookies. 
Here are two of my favourite homemade bread recipes that are easy to make: My mom’s recipe for oatmeal brown bread and a recipe from my brother Erik called Five-Minute bread.

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