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Why is it so bad that the small bakeries disappear more and more... Answered

Everyone loves a good bread roll, a nice and freshly baked bread...
But where does it come from and what is really in it?

When it comes to bread and bread rolls we tend to think all is fresh, especially when you see that your favourite supermarket has a bakery with a real oven.
Our local baker that took over the business from his father not only sees a thread but also is unable to compete with the price.
The consumer only too often selects by price only if look and taste seem to be good.
A bread roll for under 20 cents, a whole bread for just over $2 and I am not talking toast here...
So how is such a price possible or how can a "bakery" provide 30 or more different types of rolls and bread with just one or two small ovens and a tiny kitchen area?

The trick on a small scale is to use ready to go mixes, just add yeast and water and you are set to go.
On a big scale we talk about dough that is frozen, sometimes pre-baked but alsways already in the shape of the finnished product.
Since there is just flour, salt and yeast in it what could the harm?

Like with soft drinks and alcohol not all ingredients are legally required to be listed.
Enzymes, antioxidants, modifiers and more.
The claim is that ingredients that disappear during the baking need not mentioning at all.
If we check how these helping substances are made we get everything from bacteria and fungi over chemical compositions that are lab created and even things that are totally engeneered.
Why use nature if you can made the substance in a lab...
Most countries have authorities that deal with just these things and their use.
So as long as every single ingredient is legal and does not require to be listed it is fair game.
The problem here is that no one really knows what goes into the dough for these ready to bake frozen products.
As we know from our chemistry lessons in school even totally harmless components can combine to a harmful endproduct.
Especially enzymes are used to to modify everything from DNA over meat products to modifying the appearence and shelf life of a product.
For most if not all the secret ingredients used we are assured they are conform with the local law and food regulations but we will never know where they came from or how they could interact with each other.

Every dentist will tell you that cheap, white (so called) bread is pretty much the worst for your teeth.
The usual claim here is that it is too soft, might contain too much sugar but in general the carbohydrates convert to harmful sugars and food for bacteria.
These bacteria then harm your teeth...
This alone however has shown to be a bit of a misjudgement.
If you take the official ingredients on their own then their harm on the teeth is basically non existing.
It is again the enzymes and their remains that do the hard work by providing the base to convert a lot of contents directly to sugars through these bacteria.
If we now go a step further and consider that bacteria do a pretty good in our body to keep a healthy balance and convert nutrients for us we have to wonder...

A thing of our modern time is alleries, same for intolerance to certain foods.
The sources for these are plentyful but apart from shielding ourselfs agains all bacteria, viruses and germs in general food is a common factor.
Regions with limited or no access to processed foods or drinks show little to no signs of our common allergies or common helth conerns like heart disease or obesity.
When it comes to our bread products it is obvious that we consume a lot of it and simply trust the claims on the pack.
Rich in omega 3 added fibres, wholemeal...
A real baker starting shortly after midnight to produce fresh products for his customer will just shake his head.

There are many studies that show us the quality of certain foods, also a lot that show how fast food is bad for you.
But when it comes to investigating the bread we eat every day we only find meaningless informations.
The long term effect of some of the "secret" ingredients in bread are however well studied in animal tests.
Digestive problems, failing to make use of certain basic amino acids, an affected central nervous system and even behaviour abnomalities have been observed.
Of course we can't really compare a rat or pig on totally overdosed tests with what we eat on a daily base.
But if certain enzymes and other ingredients in our frozen bread mixes and also dry mixes can do this then it is safe to asume that some sife effects from long term exposure will happen too.
An enzyme that might just cause a less sticky dough might also affect meat.
Another ingredient that should keep the dough firm enough for production machines could cause your stomach lining to produce far less liquids that help digestion.
And other ingredients that might just try to produce a more uniform expansion of the dough might break down other food products in your intestines so the body can not convert them into as many other building blocks as before.

Sure, we trust the claim that the baking will totall remove all traces of all the things that are not required to be listed.
But lab test will show quite opposite, especially when it comes to soft, fluffy "bread" in sliced form.
Bread is one of the basic food items everyone needs, so if being able to provide it at an "affordable" price is possible than not too many will actually check the product as a whole.
Imagine you buy a premium looking steak and on the pack it states it was made with meat glue - another enzyme.
You would not buy it...
Thankfully most countries banned the use of meat glues after to many cases of related food poisoning happened.
Should have been obvious that cut meat will have more bacteria and that gluing such pieces will result in bacteria to grow inside the meat at fast rates.
So if you now wonder why such things are not fully regulated and checked ask yourself: why do you buy the cheap bread from your supermarket instead going to support your local baker?

Don't trust my words here!
Grab a bread from your supermarket and some bread rolls, then do the same at a real bakery and compare the products.
After that check for the best time and grab a few cold beer to have a nice chat about factory made bread products with the guy who kowns how to make it.
You might be suprised what he will tell you ;)


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1 year ago

I do not worry about what I eat, in the EU most harmful things like bleached flour, hormones in meat and chlorinated chicken are simply not allowed.
My simple rule is "everything that I like is good for me" and it has worked pretty well for over half a century. Just do not eat too much.