Is your bread real? A real-life example of what I mean by real vs. fake food.
I’m doing a series on what I mean by ‘real food’. And making a point of reading the ingredients list before choosing a ‘food item’ to put into your body. I thought yoghurt would be the first off the list. But on a recent flight to Brisbane for work, I was presented with something. It looked like a vegan sandwich, made with gluten-free bread. But it wasn’t. It was something posing as a sandwich. A stand in if you will. The real issue was the bread. When I looked at the list of ingredients, there were 18 in the bread alone. Mostly refined starches, gums and additives.
So I ask: How many ingredients should bread have? In it’s truest form, bread is made with flour, water, sourdough culture (or yeast), salt, and a touch of sweetness (e.g. honey) to activate the yeast if you’ve used the instant variety – that’s it. Take a look here and here for some real bread recipes.
But it’s not only a question of the number of ingredients, but also the quality. What should real bread be made of? Many supermarket brands of bread are made with highly refined flours (and additives). The difference in the quality of flours has to do with the milling process. Good quality bread is made with a stone-ground whole grain flour to keep the germ intact (the germ has B vitamins, some protein, minerals and healthy oils). What supermarket bread tends to do it pull all the good stuff out, so all that’s left is the starchy endosperm (innermost part of the grain). Read here and here for more information on whole grains (there’s a picture too), and supermarket versus boutique bakery bread.
I know gluten-free bread generally needs many more ingredients (to help with binding), but, still, it doesn’t need to be full of rubbish. Unfortunately, though, many gluten-free breads are made with highly processed ingredients. Take a look at some real gluten-free bread recipes here, here, and here. Now compare them to the ingredients that were in the ‘pretend bread’ I was given during the flight:
- potato starch
- white rice flour
- tapioca starch
- psyllium husk
- mineral salt (400, 500)
- emulsifier (475, glycerides of fatty acids-soy 471)
- dextrose (from maize)
- thickener (1442)
- sesame seeds
- vegetable gums (415)
- acidity regulator (575)
- thickener (466)
- yeast extract
- preservative 202
See what I mean? Luckily I had taken my own sandwich made with barley sourdough bread (wheat-free, not gluten-free). The bread was made of 7 ingredients: organic barley flour, filtered water, organic barley bran, organic barley sourdough, sea salt, olive oil. Nothing fake in sight.
Do you read the ingredients list? Next time you buy bread from the supermarket. Take a look. If you see any numbers, or ‘things’ that shouldn’t be in your bread, run away. Fast. To make your own. Or buy it from a real, independent boutique bakery. Your body will thank you for it.
PS: some organic, stone-ground flour bakeries in Victoria that I’ve tried and enjoyed:
- Loafer Bread in Fitzroy North
- Dench in Fitzroy North
- Fatto a mano in Fitzroy
- Red Beard in Trentham, country Victoria
- Lievito in Mornington Peninsula
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