Who’s afraid of the big bad bread, the big bad bread, the big bad bread? *to the tune of ‘Who’s afraid of the big bad wolf’, obviously!*
Bread is my fear food. I’ve noticed many people mention how avocado was once a fear food, due to it’s high fat content. Interestingly that’s never bothered me, but I cannot eat bread and not feel guilty afterwards. In my mind, it’s a nutritionally devoid, highly addictive, over-processed foodstuff. Now, since there are as many types of bread as there are stars in the sky (well, almost… it seems like the bread aisle at the supermarket goes on forever and ever), then that’s clearly not true of all of them.
80% of commercially produced bread in the UK is produced using the Chorleywood Bread Process using low-quality, low-protein wheat. It is made using an excess of yeast to speed up the rising procress, and the fast rise results in a loss of flavour (so fat and salt are added to combat this) and the finished dough also requires stabilisers, emulsifiers and solid fat to keep the texture stable when baking (thanks for the info, The Ecologist). YUCK.
I didn’t actually know all these details until I researched it. But before that, my gut feeling told me bread = bad. Why?
- I can eat a lot of it without feeling satisfied.
- It’s often paired with other less healthy ingredients – butter, cheese, sandwich meats etc.
- It’s bland yet once I’ve taken I bite, I want to eat more.
- Even a quick look at the ingredients tells me it contains E-numbers and additives.
- It lasts an unnaturally long time (thanks to stabilisers and chemical mould inhibitors).
Also, the circumstances in which I eat bread often gave rise to feelings of guilt. As a recovering bulimic, bread is the sort of carby foodstuff that one craves when using food to regulate emotions. While I didn’t often buy bread in loaf form, I ate a lot of bread-based products like pizza and fast food in buns. If it satisfies a need when eating and purging, it’s unlikely to be a healthy choice in a normal diet! Even when eating bread as part of a balanced diet, I find it is SO easy to over-eat, or cave in to bread-products that come loaded with additional fat and calories (20g fat in a Naan bread anyone?). I have also felt negatively about bread in other contexts – despite the additives, it often goes mouldy before I can eat it all, which makes me feel bad for being wasteful. Buying ready-made sandwiches in shops is a complete rip-off (money-wise and nutritionally) – check out Gill’s post over at Snax and The City, which sums up the negatives of ready-made sandwiches.
That said, good bread tastes nice. I can’t deny it, and I don’t want to deny it – bread is something I would like to enjoy as part of a healthy, nutritionally balanced, ‘
everything most things in moderation’ lifestyle.
So what’s a girl to do? Obviously there are healthier choices out there, and I try to stick to them – wholegrain, wholemeal, seeded etc. But supermarket brands almost always contain additives, and I’ve found that staff in local chain bakeries (e.g. Greggs) don’t actually know what go into the products they sell. There is the odd artisan bakery… they’re good, they know it and they charge accordingly!
The answer? BAKE MY OWN.
Combine simple straight-forward ingredients with warm water to activate the yeast, (save the oats & wheat flakes). Mix until combined into a dough.
Check out the amazing one-handed kneading/photo-taking multitasking!
Regard smooth ball of springy dough with satisfaction.
Put dough in lightly oiled bowl, cover with a damp towel. Take one photo but make sure you miss the fact that it’s not in focus before moving on.
Leave until risen to double size, then do the pokey-pokey to make sure it’s ready.
Remove from bowl, punch and flatten to remove the air. Decide you’re making way too much and get half ready to freeze for another occasion.
Follow this video to form into double knot-rolls. Brush the top with beaten egg and sprinkle the oats & wheat flakes. Cover with towel and allow to prove.
Do a rather demented happy dance around the kitchen as everything is going to plan so far. Whack ‘em in the oven. Enjoy the smell of fresh bread wafting through the house!
Do more joyful dancing, interspersed with nibbling warm-from-the-oven-made-from-scratch-guilt-free-very-tasty bread! Spend the rest of the day telling everyone you meet that you baked your own bread for the first time.
I would love to know –
What are your fear foods? Or are all foods there for the chompin’?
Have you ever made your own bread? What are your thoughts on commercial bread?