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I went to a bread factory recently and saw how machines and 5 humans make 1 million loaves of fluffy sliced bread that stays fresh for a week. This compares to the 30 minutes I spend per week making two loaves of organic sourdough bread.
The factory bread is made using english wheat flour, water, yeast, added gluten, raising agent, sugar and preservative, and takes 1 hour to ‘prove’ from mix to bake (to allow the bread to rise). My bread is made with organic flour and water and takes 10 hours to prove.
The added gluten, raising agent, preservatives and short proving time is not good for us, but given the choice, and lack of knowledge, most consumers want their bread brilliant white, extra fluffy and sliced. The bread company has even carried out a survey about additives and found that their customers don’t want them to change.
My bread is made with white flour that is actually light brown because it has been slowly, stone ground to leave the wheat germ intact. (the factory flour has been bleached and the germ destroyed by fast steel roller mills). The yeast I use is a live culture kept from a previous loaf and the 10 hours proving time allows the yeast to break down the carbohydrates in the flour to make the bread much easier to digest.
No wonder so many people have taken up bread making and buying quality flour.
What I find amazing is that the bread factory could make bread exactly like mine by simply buying better flour, removing the additives and drastically slowing down the proving process.
So I wonder:
Is this ‘bad bread’ causing gluten intolerance and contributing to diabetes and increased NHS cost? Should the government sponsor a campaign about the virtues of quality bread to improve health and reduce NHS cost?
Or the curriculum include bread making and the benefits of real bread?