Bread — the Staff of Life…?

Ah, Sunday. The day when the house is clean and there’s leftovers from the weekend.

Bread is a staple in most homes, but we must be very careful what kind of breads we eat. Choosing whole-grain baked goods instead of their white, refined counterparts is well known, but what about the rest of that extensive ingredient list?

Most store-bought breads (yes, even whole grain ones) are loaded up with additives; bulking agents (to make the bread bigger and thereby have to use less actual ingredients per loaf), sticking agents (to hold it together, because it’s been bulked up with non-food ingredients), rising agents (to make it fluffier, because they stuck it together until it’s sticky because they bulked it up with non-food ingredients), and good ol’ preservatives (why they put preservatives in anything is a mystery to me– if it went bad faster, people would have to buy more again sooner and it would increase sales, no?).

One of the worst additives is Potassium Bromate (E-924), a “flour improver” which strengthens the dough and allows it to rise more.

According to an article by the American NIH (National Institute of Health) dated to July of 1990, Potassium Bromate causes cancer.

“…the agent (potassium bromate) is carcinogenic in rats and nephrotoxic in both man and experimental animals when given orally. It has been demonstrated that KBrO3 induces renal cell tumors, mesotheliomas of the peritoneum, and follicular cell tumors of the thyroid. In addition, experiments aimed at elucidating the mode of carcinogenic action have revealed that KBrO3 is a complete carcinogen, possessing both initiating and promoting activities for rat renal tumorigenesis.” (NIH, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1567851/)

Yup, you read that right. They knew it causes cancer over 20 years ago and the FDA still approves it today (apparently because of a legal loophole. I wonder what else they approve because of “legal loopholes”). They have “urged” bakeries to stop using it since 1991.

The worst part is that they hit you with this chemical and don’t even tell you about it. According to the law in the US, potassium bromate is not required to be listed as an ingredient. Potassium Bromate breaks down when it’s baked, so there are (in the best case scenario) only “traces” of the chemical in the food, and thus it doesn’t require labeling. Foods that originate in California are required to be labeled as containing potassium bromate. The EU, Canada, Peru, Brazil, South Korea, Sri Lanka, and even Nigeria and China, have banned the use of potassium bromate in food entirely.

In addition to breads and baked goods, you might find potassium bromate in malt beer that originates in the US.

All things considered, I like to bake my own breads exclusively. That way I know just what’s in them, can alter the taste to my liking, and my kids prefer my whole-wheat bread over any store-bought bread.

Don’t worry, I’m giving you the recipe 🙂

I’d whip some up right now to include pictures, but I’m all out of flour. I’ll put some pics up within the next few days, please G!D.

Whole Wheat Basic Bread

½ tbsp active dry yeast

2 cups warm water (105 to 115 degrees F. Put a drop on the inside of your wrist. If you can barely feel it, it’s the right temperature.)

2/3 cup all-natural apple juice concentrate (or honey, or agave, just something sweet and sticky)

¼ cup canola oil

1 kilo 100% whole wheat flour

1 teaspoon salt

Dissolve yeast in warm water and apple juice concentrate and let it froth (if it doesn’t froth, throw it out and start again, your water was either too hot or too cold and the yeast is dead). Add in oil, salt, and 2 cups of flour. Mix until ingredients are combined, then add the rest of the flour. Knead for 8 minutes on speed 2 (or by hand, until it’s smooth and elastic). Stop kneading, cover the bowl with a towel, and let rise for 1 ¼ hours. Punch down the dough, remove from bowl, divide in half, and place each half into a parchment paper lined loaf pan. Let rise again for 1 hour. Bake on 350 F (180 C) for 30 minutes.

Yields 2 loaves.

Enjoy! This bread really fills you up and keeps you feeling full for a long time.

Stay Tuned — Next Up: Hot Dog of Death

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