Friday, November 14, 2014

We need to get back to baking our own bread

Sourdough loaves
Sourdough loaves (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Why our tummies are revolting!  We can't eat factory made bread because of what food chemistry has done to it to make it rise faster and cheaper.   
Bread has changed. One disturbing possibility is that modern farming and industrial baking produce bread that more and more people cannot and should not eat. The "green revolution" spawned new high-yielding varieties of wheat designed to work with the artificial fertilisers and pesticides used in intensive farming. But recent research suggests that these new wheats have fewer minerals and vitamins than traditional varieties and more of the proteins that cause "leaky gut" type conditions.
The so-called Chorleywood Bread Process (CBP), invented in 1961 and now used to make most industrial bread, has turned out to be a culinary and digestive disaster. Traditionally, most bread was fermented (allowed to rise) for many hours, often overnight. The CBP used high-energy mixers and a slew of chemicals to make a very white loaf in double-quick time.
Only if you let dough ferment for long enough can naturally occurring beneficial bacteria work to make the bread more digestible, nutritious and tasty. Most British bread is made too quickly for these bacteria to have a chance. Fermenting dough for six hours as opposed to 30 minutes removes around 80% of a potentially carcinogenic substance called acrylamide found in bread crusts, and long yeast fermentations conserve the highest levels of B vitamins in dough.
In the 1990s a new breed of enzyme-based "improvers" displaced the suspect chemical additives. You won't know they are there because the law says that as "processing aids" they don't need to be declared on the label. But we would do well to ponder what bread engineered to stay soft for weeks may be doing to our insides.