By Dr Chris Fenn, Nutrition Consultant
Bread is a wonderful food, however not all breads are the same. Since the 1960s more and more of us have been eating mass produced loaves, which can leave a legacy of bloating, lethargy and depleted energy.
Although wheat has been part of our diet for thousands of years, the digestive problems associated with bread have increased rapidly since the 1960s. This coincides neatly with the invention of the Chorley Wood bread making process (CBP) – a triumph of technology which produces over 80% of the “bread” in the shops today.
If you make bread at home, in the traditional way, you need only four ingredients – flour, water, yeast (or natural yeasts in a sourdough bread) and salt. You also need time – to knead the dough and for the bread to prove and rise and bake.
Time is money in the food manufacturing industry and the CBP uses a new strain of wheat, high speed mixing, flour improving additives and enzymes to slice away the production time. The end result is bread without a crust, but with phenomenal volume and lightness, and a soft squishy texture that can last for several weeks before the chemical preservatives can no longer hold back the growth of mould. This is British bread. It is cheap, easy to produce, with a long shelf life – a dream product for the food manufacturers. White sliced, wholemeal or granary – it’s all the same, if it is made by the high speed, automated, process.
In contrast, real bread should appeal to all of your senses – sight, smell, touch, sound and taste. Traditional crusty white bread has a definite flavour and texture. Just spread with butter for a divine combination. Quality wholemeal bread is a good source of fibre and also B vitamins. These vitamins are vital for energy metabolism. They act as a spark to release the energy from the foods you have eaten, and put a spring back into your step.
Thanks to the efforts of The Real Bread Campaign, there are a growing number of artisan bakers producing the real thing. If you want to enjoy eating bread, and not suffer from it, seek out a traditional loaf made by the growing number of artisan bakers across the country. The Campaign website has a map of real bread bakers around the UK, including The Crannach of course.
Stoneground flour, used at The Crannach, is easier to digest compared with “fast flour” produced by milling using steel rollers. Sourdough bread or bread made from an ancient variety of wheat, known as spelt, are traditional foods which can energise your system. These are not gluten or wheat free, but people who suffered from digestive problems and irritable bowel system, often find that they can enjoy this wonderful food again.
I say give it a try, and, if you can’t pick up Crannach bread locally, have a go making it yourself.
Visit Dr Chris Fenn’s website