What is in your bag of bread?

What is in your bag of bread?

Posted on 16. May, 2015 by in Bread and conversation

Do you think about the bread that you eat?  Have you read the label?  Is there a label to read?  If not, is there someone at the shop with whom you can discuss your bread?

These are serious questions.  Have a look at the ingredients in a bag of flour:

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You would be forgiven for thinking a bag of flour contained flour.  Well, it does not.  Not in Canada (where this bag is from) and not anywhere except possibly from a small miller and even then national regulations may require them to put in additional ingredients.  How would you know? Talk to the miller.  How do you to that?  Buy from a small milling company where the miller will actually answer your questions.

The stone mill at Gilchesters where Billie will also answer the phone and respond to emails and Andrew is happy to walk you around his fields of heritage grain.

The stone mill at Gilchesters where Billie will answer the phone and respond to emails and Andrew is happy to walk you around his fields of heritage grain.

Michael Stoate. Miller. Picks up the phone, answers e mails and welcomes visitors.

Now, have a look at the ingredients of a bag of industrially made bread:

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Can you pronounce them (yes, yes, they are in Spanish but really chemicals translate pretty easily between one language and another)?  Do you know what they are?  Do you think they are necessary?  Even the High Fructose Corn Syrup?  You know that you only need four ingredients to make bread:  flour, water, salt, and yeast.  You can leave out the salt if you want to (although if you have ever had Tuscan saltless bread you will know that it tastes really boring and is only truly edible when you use it to mop up pasta sauce) and then you have bread with three ingredients.  You certainly don't need 20.

Now think about the bread you buy.  Does it have a label to read?  If not, how do you know what goes into it?  Talk to the baker.  How do you do that?  Don't buy bread from a bakery, buy bread from a baker.

Lucie Steele bakes in a sea container in her garden and loves to talk about bread.

Lucie Steele bakes in a sea container in her garden and loves to talk about bread.

What is so good about rye bread

The German bakery in Windsor displays a treatise about bread on the door!

The consumption of industrially made bread has been declining in the UK, and this is an incredible fact.  Thanks to a myriad of folk, the most important of whom work at the Real Bread Campaign, awareness of the taste and health benefits of properly made bread is growing and will continue to grow.

It's not always easy to buy real bread.  You may not live near a shop or a market where you can buy it. You may not want to buy it in bulk and freeze it.  And if that's the case, you can bake it yourself.  It's easy, it's satisfying and your friends and family will think you are a genius.  A triple win.  So, come along and learn to bake bread.

Real bread is healthy, inexpensive, delicious and does not make you fat.  Here's to real bread.

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2 Responses to “What is in your bag of bread?”

  1. Alan

    19. May, 2015

    Just a heads-up for your readers - not all Canadian flour labels read like the one shown in the photo at the top of this article. They run the gamut, as they do everywhere. The vitamins are legally required by the Federal Government to be in all white flours, as is the folic acid. I have in my bakery, for instance, untreated all purpose flour (great for feeding my sourdough builds), strong bakers and all purpose flours with the enzyme amylase, both stone and roller mill ground whole grain, whole wheat flours and untreated roller milled whole grain rye flour. Different flours for different types of breads, although all of our breads are made from scratch, are themselves or include long-fermented starters, some with sourdough yeasts and some with commercial yeast.
    The type of label shown above is the type of flour usually associated with large, commercial bakeries making industrial/factory/supermarket breads.
    Thank-you for encouraging consumers to read labels or talk to the bakers; education is the key.

  2. virtuousbread

    20. May, 2015

    Thank you for this!!!

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