Let’s talk about bread. I’ve been keeping my powder dry on this one, as it were, for a few weeks. Bread, real bread with no nasty additives or preservatives added, is one of the things that The Coffee Kitchen is famous for. We bake bread six days a week.
Baking bread is one of the most therapeutic things you can do. You can get lost in the whole process as you turn water, flour, salt and a bit of yeast into something divine. So how come most of our bread in the UK is mass produced, pumped full of air and has the taste of cardboard?
In 1961, the Chorleywood Process was born. It was (and still remains) a marvel of efficiency and engineering. Over 80% of all bread production in the UK is made this way. It produces a cheap loaf of huge volume and lightness but, unfortunately, of little taste.
I believe that mass-produced, factory bread is one of the reasons why we have such a problem with wheat intolerance in this country. For example, a well know manufacturer of wholemeal bread makes a wholemeal loaf with sixteen ingredients in it. Sixteen! Ours has only four. And that huge number of ingredients doesn’t include the many additives such as enzymes which are used in the baking process and which aren’t declared because they are ‘used up’ in the baking process. And these enzymes can be from various sources – animals as well as GM products. Let me state that again. Bread manufacturers don’t have to tell you that they use these enzymes because they aren’t declared as an ingredient. If you tried to make bread like that in France you would be arrested.
With all those extra ingredients and manufacturing by-products, is it any wonder that some people feel that bread is bad for them? It’s often not bread. It’s the type of bread.
Of course, in this age of austerity, we want food to be well priced. I fully understand that. Yet can we allow ourselves to consume stuff that might, in the end, not be very good for us? Better to choose real bread – you know what you’re getting.