TABLE TALK: Bread Myth Busters

Serves: 5



I love bread. I mean, I really love it. If I could only choose one kind of food for the rest of my life I think it would be bread! There are so many ways to make it and it can be sweet or savory, soft or hard, light or filling. Like I said, I love it. With that said, picking the best bread at the store or from my recipe box has become quite a challenge. Today we are going to address some myths about bread that should help you find healthier options, help it stay fresh, and maybe just entertain you a little! Enjoy!

MYTH 1: Homemade bread is always healthier than store-bought bread.

False. The nutrition of your bread depends more on what went in to it then who made it. While in general, I believe homemade is better because you have control of it, you still have to make wise choices with ingredients. You can make fantastic, healthy breads at home, but don’t assume that everything cooked at home has the healthiest start! Find good recipes using nutrient-rich ingredients!

MYTH 2: Enriched flour has all the important nutrients added back in. That is why it is called "enriched".
False. This flour is the most commonly used, but it is missing the two most nutricious parts of the seed: the outside bran layer and the germ. It is very stripped down and then nutrients are sprayed back in. This really can’t make up for what is lost during the processing.

MYTH. 3: If it looks brown and has the word "wheat" in the name, it has lots of fiber and whole grain.

False. The first ingredient listed on the ingredient label tells the story. If it’s "wheat flour" or "enriched bleached flour", that tells you white flour was mostly used, not "whole-wheat flour."

MYTH 4: Breads with healthy sounding names like "seven-grain" or "100% natural" are the best choices.

False again! The Truth is that just because the name of the bread on the package sounds super-healthy, it doesn’t mean the bread actually is. Many brands list "enriched wheat flour" as their first ingredient despite claims of healthier ingredients. See how far down the list your whole grains are and that should tell you the whole story! So again, be really choosey and make sure you are getting whole grain. Also watch out for "whole wheat" claims. They are allowed to print this on the packaging if they use whole-wheat flour, but they can use only a small amount and still print it on the label! Watch for 100% Whole Wheat.

MYTH 5: Rye bread is a 100% whole-grain, high-fiber choice.

False. The first ingredient listed on the label of most brand of rye bread is none other than unbleached enriched flour. The second ingredient is usually water, and the third, rye flour. That explains why most rye breads have only 1 gram of fiber per serving. So, rye bread isn’t usually 100% whole grain.

MYTH 6: Bread that is good for you does not taste good!

Not true. There are lots of breads available which have multitudes of nutritional benefits and still taste like you would expect bread to taste. Reading labels will help if you are at the store and if you are baking your own, just make sure you are starting with a recipe full of healthy ingredients.

Myth 7: Put Bread in refrigerator for longer shelf life.

False. Bread actually stales quicker if kept in fridge, due to constant airflow. Also absorbs foreign tastes and odors. So, it may not grow mold as quickly, but it will be stale faster! Bread should be kept in a cool dry place, like a bread box.

Myth 8: All Breads contain preservatives.

Not true. More and more breads are produced without the help of preservatives.

Myth 9: Breads do not freeze well!

False. Due to the high moisture content all breads freeze well. Bread can be kept frozen for up to four months and should thaw at room temperature. It will take approximately 2-3 hours to thaw a loaf of bread. If bread was sliced before freezing you can pop it directly in the toaster from freezing.

Myth 10: Bakers cannot count and therefore 13 gives us a bakers dozen.

Not true. There are multiple explanations to why a bakers dozen contains 13. The most logical one is the one where bakers added the extra product to all orders, assuring the minimum weight requirement was met. Considering fines were rather severe (it is said that Egyptians for example nailed the ear of the baker to the door post of his bakery, in Europe bakers were locked into a cage and dipped into a local river, some of them drowned, if found guilty of selling underweight bread) it is understandable bakers did everything possible to avoid being caught. Who knew the dark history of the bakery industry?

Myth 11: Breads with a darker crust are not good for you.

False. As bread is baked and the crust darkens small amounts of a substance called Acrylamide are produced. It is not clear why Acrylamide is produced, but research shows this to be a natural occurrence and the matter of fact is that especially the crust has a high level of nutritional content.

Now that we have debunked some of the myths about bread we know what to look for! Whether you are buying it at the grocery store or making Grandma’s favorite recipe in your own kitchen the truth is, that what goes in to your bread is what you will get out of it. Start with healthy, wholesome ingredients and you will have delicious, healthy bread to enjoy!

This TABLE TALK: Bread Myth Busters recipe is from the 2011 HomeCook'n Collection Cookbook. Download this Cookbook today.

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