Carbing Up On Chemical-Laden Breads

Jannine Myers

Growing up, I remember walking to the local dairy (that’s what we call the little corner stores in New Zealand), and buying fresh bread on Sunday mornings. The bread loaves were so fresh that they were stacked – unpackaged – on large aerated baking racks. We had to eat the bread as soon as we bought it, otherwise it would dry out and go stale within a day or two. Nowadays, if you buy bread from a supermarket, you’ll be taking home a loaf that was likely baked at least two days earlier, and baked with ingredients that will preserve the bread’s freshness for several more days.

Have you ever taken a moment to look at the nutrition label on the back of the breads you buy? Take a look for example, at one of the most commonly sold breads in our commissaries here in Okinawa – Wonder Whole Grain White Bread:

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Wonder Whole Grain White Bread has a whopping 78 ingredients listed on it’s nutrition label!

Wheat Flour Enriched ( Flour , Barley Malt , Ferrous Sulfate [ Iron , Iron ] , Vitamin B [ Niacin Vitamin B3 ,Thiamine Mononitrate Vitamin B1 { Thiamin Vitamin B1 ,Thiamin Vitamin B1 } , Riboflavin Vitamin B2 { Riboflavin Vitamin B2 } , Folic Acid Vitamin B9 ] ) , Water , Wheat Flour Whole , Corn Syrup High Fructose , Yeast , Wheat Gluten , Rice Brown Flour , Soy Fiber , Calcium Sulphate ,Contains 22% or less , Soybeans Oil , Salt , Vinegar ,Corn Starch , Wheat Starch , Soy Flour , Honey , Dough Conditioners ( May contain : , Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate ,Datem , Mono and Diglycerides , Mono And Diglycerides Ethoxylated , Dicalcium Phosphate , and/or , Calcium Dioxide ) , Yeast Nutrients ( May contain : , Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate , Datem , Mono and Diglycerides ,Mono And Diglycerides Ethoxylated , Dicalcium Phosphate , and/or , Calcium Dioxide , May contain : ,Ammonium Sulfate , Ammonium Chloride , Monocalcium Phosphate , and/or , Ammonium Phosphate ) , Yeast Nutrients ( May contain : , Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate ,Datem , Mono and Diglycerides , Mono And Diglycerides Ethoxylated , Dicalcium Phosphate , and/or , Calcium Dioxide , May contain : , Ammonium Sulfate , Ammonium Chloride , Monocalcium Phosphate , and/or , Ammonium Phosphate ) , Enrichment ( Vitamin E Acetate , Ferrous Sulfate [ Iron , Iron ] , Zinc Oxide , Calcium Sulphate ,Niacin Vitamin B3 , Vitamin D , Pyridoxine Hydrochloride HCl [ Pyridoxine Vitamin B6 ] , Folic Acid Vitamin B9 ,Thiamine Mononitrate Vitamin B1 [ Thiamin Vitamin B1 ,Thiamin Vitamin B1 ] , Vitamin B12 ) , Enzymes , Whey ,Calcium Propionate , To Retain Freshness , Soy Lecithin

Or, how about Nature’s Own Enriched Honey Wheat Bread:

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Unbleached, Enriched Flour (Wheat Flour, Malted Barley Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamin Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Water, Honey, Sugar, Wheat Gluten, Whole Wheat Flour, Rye Flour, Wheat Bran, Contains 2% or Less of Each of the Following: Yeast, Soy Flour, Salt, Soybean Oil, Dough Conditioners (Contains One or More of the Following: Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Calcium Stearoyl Lactylate, Monoglycerides, Mono- and Diglycerides, Distilled Monoglycerides, Calcium Peroxide, Calcium Iodate, DATEM, Ethoxylated Mono- and Diglycerides, Enzymes, Ascorbic Acid), Cultured Wheat Flour, Vinegar, Calcium Sulfate, Yeast Food (Ammonium Sulfate), Monocalcium Phosphate, Soy Lecithin, Calcium Carbonate.

30+ ingredients! If that doesn’t alarm you, then consider the potential side effects of some food additives that have been linked to specific illnesses and cancers (and these are in several commercially-sold breads), for example:

  • Mono- and diglycerides – these are emulsifiers that are used in bread to help prolong shelf life. They typically contain trans-fats, which we now know raise bad cholesterol levels, and lower good cholesterol. The caveat here, is that food manufacturers do not have to mention that the mono- and diglycerides in their products most likely contain trans-fats.
  • Azodicarbonamide – this is an artificial chemical used to bleach flour. It is banned in Europe and Australia because of it’s link to respiratory issues, allergies, and asthma.
  • Calcium Propionate – this is an antifungal used as a preservative. It’s believed to also cause permanent damage to the stomach lining and cause ulcers.
  • Bromide (listed in some breads as potassium bromate) – it supposedly makes the dough more elastic and able to stand up well to commercial baking tools. Bromate has been linked with several cancers, but especially cancer in the thyroid. It’s often used in fast food rolls and buns, and in pizza dough.

These are just a few of the controversial ingredients used in today’s commercially sold breads. Consider buying instead, organic-labeled breads that tend to have a much shorter and safer ingredient list, or better still, make your own bread.

Here’s a recipe from KingArthurFlour.com; it’s easy to make, and doesn’t involve any kneading. Besides tasting great, it has just eight ingredients:

  • 1 cup lukewarm water
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup melted butter or vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons molasses, maple syrup, dark corn syrup, or brown sugar corn syrup
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1/4 cup Baker’s Special Dry Milk or nonfat dry milk
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 3 cups King Arthur whole wheat flour, white whole wheat preferred

Directions

Heavily grease an 8 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ loaf pan. This loaf tends to stick, so be sure to grease the pan thoroughly with non-stick vegetable oil spray.

Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl. Beat the mixture vigorously for about 3 minutes; an electric mixer set on high speed works well here. You should have a very sticky dough. It won’t be pourable, but neither will it be kneadable. Scoop it into the prepared pan.

Cover the pan with lightly greased plastic wrap, and let it rise for 60 to 90 minutes; it should just about rise to the rim of the pan, perhaps just barely cresting over the rim. While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 350°F.

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Uncover the bread, and bake it for about 40 to 45 minutes, tenting it with aluminum foil after 20 minutes. The bread is done when it’s golden brown on top. Remove it from the oven, and after 5 minutes turn it out onto a rack.

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Cool the bread completely before slicing it.

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References:

Donsky, A., & Tsakos, L. (2013, August 28). Scary Ingredients Used in Bread Manufacturing. Retrieved December 11, 2014.

Weil, M.D., A. (2012, July 16). Q & A Library. Retrieved December 11, 2014, from http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/QAA401144/A-Carcinogen-in-Your-Bread.html

Yoquinto, L. (2012, March 16). The Truth About Potassium Bromate. Retrieved December 11, 2014

The Side Effects of Calcium Propionate. (2011, March 28). Retrieved December 11, 2014, from http://www.livestrong.com/article/314019-the-side-effects-of-calcium-propionate/

Why I Never Eat Commercial Bread. (2012, January 31). Retrieved December 11, 2014, from http://realfoodforager.com/why-i-never-eat-commercial-