The bread rant

This post is all Amie. Bryan could care less. He likes food that can be bought at grocery stores. I would probably be a crazy homesteader if I had less allergies and liked farm animals more. In any case, I make bread.

imageThis is a basic loaf of white bread. I made it with a bread machine. It is for Bryan and my white flour loving children. It’s basically a fluffy white loaf of love.

imageThese are some basic whole wheat loaves. They are hanging out next to their friend, apple crisp. Both were delicious.

imageThis is a loaf of sourdough hearth bread. It made some pretty awesome grilled cheese, and it looks pretty. See?

Because of all this baking, I’ve seen quite a few bread recipes. They all contain flour, water, salt, and yeast. Some contain a sweetener which can be sugar or honey or molasses. Some also contain a fat like butter or oil. Sometimes there’s milk. That’s it. You can have several different types of flour, you can have add ins like oats, seeds, cheese, and flax. But at its core, this is bread which is why it takes me longer to purchase bread at the store than it takes me to pick out new shoes or find the perfect purse.

If I try to buy wheat bread (as opposed to white bread) at the store, the first ingredient or, at the very least, the second ingredient should be whole wheat flour. It’s not, though. The first ingredient, even on a bread labeled “health nut” bread is enriched wheat flour. Why is it called “enriched”? Because it was first un-riched by stripping out a lot of the healthy stuff that’s found in the germ and bran of the bread. When they first did that, they found out a lot of people got sick, so they added some stuff back in, but not all of it because they wanted to keep the flour shelf stable for a long time.

My next problem is that they all use corn syrup or high fructose corn syrup instead of honey, lightly processed sugars, or molasses. They do this because corn syrup is cheap. However, corn syrup is still a highly processed sugar, and it is often one of the first ingredients. Bread does not require that much sugar, especially not white bread which rises nicely without much additional sugar.

My third problem is that they often use vegetable oils or shortening for their source of fats. Again, all in the name of cheapness. Shortening will give you a very soft bread, but shortening is really not an everyday food like bread is. A little butter or high quality oil will also soften your bread, but apparently $3 or $4 a loaf cannot buy you a decent source of fat in your sandwich bread.

My final problem is that it’s full of so many, many other things that I don’t even know what they are. Five or more synthetic, chemical-name ingredients hang out on the labels. What is this stuff? Why is it there? I’m sure it is there to keep the bread fresher longer, but food spoils. It’s what food does. Bread is supposed to get old and stale. That’s how croutons and breadcrumbs are born.

Sometimes I just close my eyes and buy some Texas Toast because it makes my people happy, but most of the time I stand in the aisle and make disgruntled noises until I give up and go home and make my own bread.

Am I the only one who loudly reads food labels in a disgusted voice at the store, embarassing their spouse?

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