The first criteria of good bread is the simplest…it must be digestible . And its on this stumbling block that most
bread falls. For a variety of reasons, most regular bread does not pass this
test. I've been listening to complaints about bread for years professionally.
They are legendary. I've heard factory white bread commonly called “white death”
apart from “white tiles”…and that people get bloat and other digestive symptoms
from bread is common.
Even if you haven't noticed it, or habitually ignore body
signals, I'd be surprised if people did not have a reaction to some of the bread
available. And I gained many customers this way.But
there are so many alternatives thriving outside what is regarded as the
conventional bakery industry.
Most of this used to be called “Health
Bread”. Its now more commonly regarded as an approximation of good bread.
Theres been a shift in perceptions. That the category of a “health bread” even
exists is telling in its seeming opposition to “un-health(y) bread".
A major difference between these two
types of bread….and we haven't even got to sourdough yet… is the use of gluten
flour.Most conventional bakers and especially the chains,all use modified
flours and premixes containing gluten increased to at least 13% and in some
cases 20%…or 20g per 100g flour. There is also a long list of additives which
are in the schedule for “bakers flour” which do not have to be declared on the
The new types of bread are made in the
old way, using actual flour, with nothing added, and not premixes. In most
cases, in these breads the yeast is as high, but none of the chemical equations
one reads on bread labels are to be seen. Sometimes the new bread is not ideal, but it is better both
organoleptically and nutritionally than nearly all bread in the conventional
Nutritionally, because its more digestible,
and doesn’t cause some of the common symptoms, which are exacerbated when the
bread is high in residual(unfermented) gluten, as most regular breads are.
The rise of coeliac disease,an allergy to
wheat gluten,has soared in the last 20 years…either from better diagnosis or
more likely, an increased incidence ,and the rise and rise of irritable bowel
disease is observable…and a symptom of this is getting “bloat” from eating
Organoleptically, because most of the
bread that is commonly available, and even top-line conventional bread has no
organoleptic profile. There are no flavours aromas or tastes, and textures are
really poor. It is really rare to find a noteworthy conventional,”regular”
The best of the new breads are the
sourdough breads. Largely because sourdough bread is the most digestible of all
bread…if it is properly made. There are lots of fake sourdoughs, and variants
of the theme, so you have to seek out a genuine one .Sourdough hasn’t really
mainlined as a “health bread” Its largely because of lots of personal
experience that it has become so popular…and re-acquired a therapeutic
reputation. Its digestible, no symptoms but often a desire to eat heaps at a
sitting,and to reject regular (even fancy,or mod ) food, in order to eat
good,especially woodfired sourdough.
And it’s a 5000yr old trend if you think its
“Trendy” Like I said,modern yeast bread
is actually the “trendy” stuff. My experience has been that even some who have
coeliac can eat sourdough, IF it has been made properly and long-fermented
almost to dropping point. This level of fermentation is usually only sustained
as light bread in a woodfired brick baking chamber with its “solid heat”. Hence
its charm and utility. It’s the topline of sourdough…IF properly made.
Gluten is never added in a genuine sourdough,
in fact, the gluten is actually digested by a proper sourdough, and will turn to a liquid if left to ferment because
the gluten will have been completely broken down. That’s what I meant by the
level of fermentation.
This elevates proper woodfired sourdough
bread…..IF the fermentation is suitable. It is very non-allergenic.
Genuine sourdough has NO additives..its
flour and water and salt…and skill to do it correctly and get the coalescence
of flavours/nutrition/texture which hallmark a good sourdough. Some sourdough
bakers add vitamin C to their bread. It’s a virus that one. A sourdough baker who uses it said to me that
it metabolises away to nothing, was met by my stare…yes so u can actually
destroy matter? It is simpleminded to think vitamin C just goes away, and even if
it’s the best brand from Germany
or the republic of deludedstan…it is a chemical additive to make lighter
bread…it’s a deception. I just don’t get it? Ive never used it and am now
wondering if it’s the unnerving undertone flavour I detected in some of the
“best’ bread which I tasted in Melbourne recently.
Coincidentally, I came away from Melbourne thinking the
wood fired baker, who doesn’t use vitamin C made the best bread...Ian Banfield
at Fruition. This was before I even knew some
sourdough bakers were using vitamin C. So it was an experience-based
Still its nothing like the additives in a
There are changes in the public mood
about bread. Some think bread should be a tasteles plate. Others treasure
the goodness and flavours of a well made
sourdough,or the very rare long fermented yeast bread…especially from woodfired
And I know there are some of you who
don’t agree, but the weight of empirical evidence is with me and other makers
“new/old bread”, both organoleptically and in a
nutritional/digestive sense. This is without going into the fact that sourdough,
IF properly made, increases the nutrition of the bread with vitamins… and
minerals are made more bioavailable.
This cannot be said of bread which is
just inflated and not fermented…especially on a population who have a large
degree of digestive hypo acidity…and cant therefore break down many food
complexes….which then cause their “allergies” . Bottom Line: Good Bread has to
be good for us in a nutritional and digestive sense.John DownesThe Natural Tucker Bread Bookby John DownesHyland House Melb. 1983.Consultation inquiries: Artisan Baker Association (ABA)Email. [email protected]Web. www.artisanbaker.com.au