Bread has been a staple of diets across the world from prehistoric times and still remains to be the most regularly consumed food. The basic ingredients that make up bread are flour, yeast, salt and water, which are then mixed, proved/fermented, baked and then cooled.
There are two ways in which to make bread, the Bulk Fermentation Process and the Chorleywood Bread Process (CBP); the former uses the traditional method where ingredients are mixed and left to prove for up to three hours to form into an elastic dough, whereas the latter uses high speed mixing to develop the dough for proving and baking, along with added ascorbic acid and a little fat or emulsifier, which removes the need for lengthy fermentation and only takes four hours from beginning to end.
For many people, bread remains a regular part of their diets. Wholegrain bread in particular contains fibre, B-vitamins and minerals, so can contribute positively as part of a balanced diet. However, some research suggests that bread made using the CBP may lead to IBS-type symptoms such as bloating as a result of the removal of the traditional fermentation process, whereas breads made traditionally, especially sourdough, were less likely to lead to IBS-type symptoms.
If you are a fan of bread and would like to learn more about the traditional methods used or even where you can buy good quality, traditionally made bread, why not go to the Real Bread Campaign website? The group is run by the Sustain charity, which is an alliance for better food and farming and promote bread made without any processing aids or other additives. You can even search their "Real Bread Map", to see where you can attend baking classes or even buy equipment, flour from independent mills and Real Bread!
This month it is Sourdough September. Sourdough has benefits such as potentially being able to support gut health as the polyphenols it contains (antioxidants) are more bioavailable in addition to this bread being high in fibre. It also has the potential to have less of an impact on blood sugar levels and is easier to digest. Just remember, if you are coeliac or following a gluten-free diet, sourdough made from wheat, rye, barley or other gluten-containing grains must be avoided.
If you enjoy eating bread, why not try some traditionally made sourdough or even make it? A great recipe can be seen here.
Valavanidis (2018) Scientific Reviews [Online]. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/328981665_Bread_Oldest_Man-made_Staple_Food_in_Human_Diet_Bread_intake_is_integral_to_good_health_and_whole_grain_cereals_beneficial_against_chronic_diseases
McGee (2004) On food and cooking - the science and lore of the kitchen.
Federation of Baker [n.d.]. Available from: https://www.fob.uk.com/about-the-bread-industry/how-bread-is-made/production-methods/
Costabile et al. (2014) Effect of Breadmaking Process on In Vitro Gut Microbiota Parameters in Irritable Bowel Syndrome. PLoS One, 9(10): e111225. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0111225
Shubrook (2021) Top 5 health benefits of sourdough [Online]. Available from: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/health-benefits-sourdough