Knead to be healthy

Breaking bread

Knead to be healthy

Bread, whatever kind it may be, has a long history and even today, it remains a valuable food item in our daily lives. Whether it’s spread with peanut butter, jam or Nutella, or the dough is stretched out to make a pizza base, it has become a part of our staple diet. A weekly visit to a bakery or a supermarket seems incomplete if you don’t purchase a loaf of bread for the week. But how healthy are the loaves you buy? 

Making a loaf of bread might seen like an easy task; all you need is some flour, yeast, salt, water and oil. But when you buy it from the store, there is a certain amount of chemicals and preservatives added. This may make the bread taste delicious, but it’s not healthy for your body. So, many bakers in the City are experimenting with flavours and techniques to make their own bread at home.

Jeyadra S, a part-time baker, says, “There’s a timeline for consuming bread — the best time to have it is before four days of making. But by the time it is dispatched to each store, it’s already two days old and when you take it home, it would have expired. People don’t realise that they are having old stock, which is not good for one’s health. When I make it at home, I make sure that there are no added preservatives, which increases the health quotient.”

      She also explains how store bought bread uses milk emulsifiers and other substitutes to make it taste better. “It’s alright to have it once a week, but since we’ve unknowingly made it a habit of consuming it daily, we are damaging our bodies.”

Others are also making it a habit to bake their own bread. Archana Pai, a homemaker, says, “I started kneading my own bread since December. I made ‘whole wheat honey bread’ and it was amazing. The aroma and the flavour that it had was something I never expected.”

       She usually makes her bread for the week by Sunday or Monday, which she says lasts her till the end of the week.

       She adds, “My kids love this and I’m glad that I can make something exciting
for their lunch boxes every day. Because I make bread at home, I know it is hygienic and there aren’t any preservatives.”

Caroline Radhakrishnan, a food blogger, has been making her own bread for over five years. Apart from regular milk loaves and shaped rolls, she also makes bread sticks, pizza bases, no-knead artisan bread and sour doughs.

       She says, “I like creating my own recipes and using unusual ingredients like tomato puree, orange juice and beetroot puree. It’s not right to generalise and say that all store-bought bread is bad, but there are a few stores who claim to sell whole wheat and healthy bread, though they usually colour them with caramel or other agents. When one bakes at home, you have total control of what goes in to the dough and that’s a very comforting thought.”

      But some bakers have problems making soft loaves as they don’t have access to the right kind of ingredients. Caroline says, “We don’t have access to the wide range of flours that one would get abroad — we usually make it out of ‘maida’ and ‘atta’. There are a lot of baking equipment like dough mixers, shaping baskets and over wear that are either not available or highly prices. As many are diving into home baking, it would be great if we could have access to it at affordable prices.” So whether it is to keep yourself healthy or because you loves baking, you are responsible for what you are consuming.

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