Baking a good, healthy and delicious bread is much more than just mixing water, flour, salt and yeast. It involves a complex process not easy to master that takes years of study and practise through trial and error, disappointments and hard work to transform flour into a nutritious, easy to digest and tasty loaf of wholesome bread.
There are several ways to make bread according to the goals to reach:
Commercial bread: The goal is to make money at consumer’s health expense. Natural bread baking takes much time and space–the two more expensive “ingredients” in bread baking. To shorten the process and reduce the required space for a traditional process of fermentation and proofing some chemical are used. To extend almost indefinitely the bread shelf life in a plastic bag mould inhibitors are added to the dough. To avoid weight loss in the oven, it is baked at a higher temperature and shorter time than traditional bread. The result is a poorly cooked, tasteless imitation of bread that carries excess moisture, is hard to digest and produces fermentation in the intestines. As it is generally cheap in price and available everywhere most people go for it in detriment of their health.
Taste and fashion bread: The goal is to satisfy the misled appetite following the caprice of fashion and tradition rather than to benefit the health of the consumer. Baking this bread is an art, but it is not really healthy at the end of the day. This so-called “Artisanal Bread” is made mostly with white flour and is sour in taste. “San Francisco Sourdough” and French “pain au levain” are examples of this category. They are traditional in France and the South of Europe. Sourness in bread is bad for the body.
Healthy, nutritious artisanal bread: This one is the true sustainer of life. Made with whole grain flours; given all the time needed to ferment and to be thoroughly cooked in the oven, and without the use of any chemical or artificial ingredients, is a really nutritious food, easy to digest and with a non-sour delicious taste. Most of the traditional bread from the north of Europe fall into this category. This is the kind of bread I bake and recommend to my customers.