Bread in America seems to be following in the footsteps of the bright orange, floppy slab of "food" that we call American cheese. This "cheese" looks and feels to be made more from plastic than actual cheese. And so it is with our pre-packaged bread - it contains many unnecessary ingredients and fillers.
Here's an excerpt from a great article by Bethany Econopouly, PhD student and Dr. Stephen Jones, wheat breeder, Professor, and Director of the Washington State University-Mount Vernon Research Center and The Bread Lab. They help us identify the true characteristics of real bread.
What then are the "basic identity" and "nutritional characteristics" of bread? Without a clear definition, just about any additive--questionable or not--can be used as an ingredient.
Bread in its simplest form can be made with ground grain and water. Leavened bread requires a rising agent, originally provided by naturally occurring yeast and bacteria. A small amount of salt enhances flavor and contributes to the functionality of the dough. Variations on these basic formulas--such as pita, challah, bagels, roti, and naan--differ by culture and geography. In the U.S., leavened breads are the most popular type, with the basic formulation of flour, water, leavening, and salt. As has been the case for millennia, these four ingredients alone are all that are needed to transform flour into an edible, appealing, and accessible food.
For the full article, click here.
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