Bread’s Not Bad

5th January 2012

When did bread become bad? What I mean by that is how come, after thousands of years of being one of the staples of the human diet, bread is bad. People say it makes me fat or it makes me bloated. Many fad diets recommend you don’t touch it at all. My contention is not that bread is bad but that a lot of what passes for bread in this country is simply bad bread.

I should say, of course, that people with coeliac disease (which affects up to 1% of the population) shouldn’t touch bread with gluten in it at all and those with a medically diagnosed intolerance or allergy to wheat also should pay close attention to what they eat. Yet for the vast proportion of the population, eating tasty bread is one of life’s great pleasures.

I have one friend who can’t touch supermarket white bread because it has a nasty effect on him. Yet he can tuck into our farmhouse white loaf with gusto without any problems. Another friend loves our bread because, for the first time in years, she can tuck into her toast knowing she’s not going to feel bloated and ill afterwards. Part of the problem is the speed of manufacture of modern bread that doesn’t allow the gluten in the bread to form properly. Add to this a whole host of dodgy additives added to the production process and it’s no wonder we’ve seem to have a problem. Gluten, after all, is a naturally occurring protein composite in grains such as wheat and rye. It’s not some evil toxin added later by the nasty bread makers.

The key to ‘good’ bread is this: four simple ingredients (flour, water, a little salt, and yeast) and time for the bread to prove properly.

So don’t give up on bread. Just give up on bad bread.

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