This is a story about chemicals used in Factory made breads.. Read on ;-).
This is a story about a little town named “Bread Town”. Far Far away in the middle of somewhere. One of the residents, Factory Fakir had a bread factory just at the outskirts of the town. Rich and Powerful, He was known to produce and ship out breads at the rate of hundreds per hour. His breads were everywhere on the shelf of every market.
On the exact opposite side of the town, Sourdough Suzy had her cute little bakery. Any time you went around there, you were sure to get the faint whiff of a wonderful aroma of baking bread. Outside her bakery was always a line of people waiting patiently to pick up bread.
As time went by, Factory Fakir heard more and more about Sourdough Suzy and her breads. Not the one to be challenged in his business on his own turf, he thought he should take a look. One evening, he went by quietly and as usual saw the line of people snaking out of the bakery. Hmm.. There’s something funny going on here he thought. He took his place in the line and waited. When his turn came, he got into his hands – a warm and wonderful, fresh round boule with a hard crust – a smiley engraved on it.
The aroma was driving him crazy – He went home in a tearing hurry, sliced the bread. What was that ? “So many holes inside ?” he thought.
A layer of butter, a small first bite and he couldn’t stop himself until the last bit of crumb (inclusive of what was fallen on the table too) was finished. Whats this magic ? He thought. Surely – with bread as tasty as that, Sourdough Suzy could make him richer. All he had to do was partner with her, learn the “tricks of the bake” and his breads would be even more famous.
So the next evening, he dropped by the little place and asked if he could meet Sourdough Suzy. Ever gracious, she took Factory Fakir inside.
Factory Fakir was shocked. Such a small cozy place, kneading and shaping out boules by hand, no machinery anywhere to be seen, no bottles of any preservatives or additives around.
Had Sourdough Suzy cleverly hidden away the “stuff” ?
He worked up a nice little conversation about the business of bread with her. But finally he dropped the questions.
FF : “Come on Suzy. We’re both business people. I want to partner with you. You’re hiding things from me. Lets share notes OK ? I add Benzoyl Peroxide and Calcium Peroxide as Bleaching agents in the flour – makes it look nice and super white and fresh – you know.. What do you add ? “
SS : “I add a culture containing wild yeast and bacteria. I don’t want my boules looking white and fresh. I want them to look natural and I work with the locally available flour without any need to bleach them. Moreover Benzoyl Peroxide and Calcium Peroxide destroy the Vitamins in the bread, may cause problems to the liver and affect body weight over the long term”.
Factory Fakir’s mouth hung open in surprise. What Factory Fakir didn’t know yet was Sourdough Suzy had a PhD in Food Chemistry!.
FF : “Oh! So you don’t even use Chlorine and Chlorine gas then for bleaching ?”
SS : “Fakir ! Chlorine should be used for cleaning water in the swimming pools ! Not breads !. Chlorine in bread may cause diabetes !”
Factor Fakir was getting desperate now.
FF : “How about Pottasium Bromate then eh ? How about Azodicarbonamide ?. I use it to get a good dough strength and good rise and elasticity in my breads”
SS : “Ah ! The infamous bromate. You’re causing damage to the kidneys and nervous system my dear friend! Cancer for Gods sake ! Why use chemicals when the natural yeast and bacteria do all the dough strengthening and rising work for you ?”
For Factory Fakir – this conversation was not nearly going in the direction he expected.
FF : “But my bread needs to go around the world! I need to have good shelf life ! I HAVE to add Mono- and Diglycerides & DATEM, Calcium Propionate and Natamycin to my breads so that they don’t turn moldy along the way !”
SS : “Let me just say I don’t want to get into the health hazards caused by those! And that’s why I always say – use local flour, bake fresh and consume fresh. These little wild yeasts and bacteria take care of the shelf life for me. Common sense says – Health over convenience.”
For Factory Fakir that was the last straw. The color drained from his face. His knees went weak and he started shivering.
Sourdough Suzy had a comforting smile on her face. She knew all too well what was going on. She comforted Factory Fakir by saying “Now.. now.. Fakir .. have a slice of my fresh sourdough bread. Everything will be alright.”
Now can you guess how the story ended ?