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Andrew Whitely, Britain's leading organic baker, reveals how our staple foodstuff was transformed into an industrial triumph, but a nutritional and culinary disaster.
And, overleaf, he shares essential recipes for making your own slice of homemade heaven Back in the early 1960s, the national loaf was fundamentally redesigned.
I think we should be suspicious of bakery enzymes for four additional reasons: Enzymes can be allergens and should be identified on labels in the same way as the major allergen groups.
Failure to label enzymes prevents people from making informed choices about their diet.
Even yeast (as an added ingredient) is unnecessary with natural leavens or sourdoughs. A loophole classifies them as 'processing aids', which need not be declared on product labels. Not surprisingly, most people have no idea that their bread contains added enzymes.
So it is reasonable to ask: are these ingredients necessary? An enzyme is a protein that speeds up a metabolic reaction, and are extracted from plant, animal, fungal and bacterial sources.
There is a fundamental dishonesty in treating enzymes as though they had no effect on baked bread when this is patently why they are used.
Now, as technology finds ever more ingenious ways to adulterate our bread, so science is revealing the havoc this may be causing to public health.The flour and yeast were changed and a combination of intense energy and additives completely displaced time in the maturing of dough.Almost all our bread has been made this way for nearly half a century. It is made largely with home-grown wheat and it is cheap.'Healthy-eating' brands, adorned with images of nature and vitality, make detailed claims about the virtues of this or that added nutrient.But the big bakers keep quiet about nutrition when pushing their 'standard' loaves, which still account for over half of the market and are sold on price alone.
You might think that keeping prices down would be a good way to increase sales.