For me nothing beats a freshly-baked loaf of bread!
The unforgettable aroma as the loaf is taken from the oven; the reassuring sounds of the bread knife carving the loaf; the touch of a freshly carved slice...then that unique and special moment as you savour the wonderful taste.
Known as “the staff of life”, bread has been a staple of our culture for many thousands of years. It has sustained and satisfied our communities and has often been our saviour from hunger. No surprises then that the craft of breadmaking is a time-honoured one that has been perfected over the millennia.
With our sweetened, mostly unhealthy and mass produced bread available in supermarkets, it's also not surprising that breadmaking is now enjoying a revival in the home.
Back to the future?
One of the great benefits of the recent awareness of the danger of over consuming processed foods such as white flour has been the desire to return to a more wholefoods lifestyle.
One as close as possible to that enjoyed by our grandparents.
The result of this movement has seen bread recipes flourish in online social media forums, recipe books and video sharing sites. Breadmaking is also one of the most-discussed subjects of celebrity chef programs such as River Cottage.
Whether you bake in the oven (in the traditional way) or the lazy way (as I do) in a breadmaker, the opportunities to craft your own style and taste in bread are endless.
There are a number of advantages of baking your own bread, aside from the superb taste and smell of a loaf as it emerges straight from the oven.
- One is you can avoid additives and use the best and healthiest ingredients. Modern manufactured bread is, in many cases, chock full of nasty additives and ingredients, not to mention the processed nature of the flour. Have you ever picked up a loaf of supermarket bread and read the label? Reading the list of preservatives, additives and sugar alone is enough to make you sick.
- Baking your own bread means you can experiment with added ingredients and superfoods. For example, have you thought about adding pumpkin seeds to the mix? Or superfoods such as psyllium husks or chia seeds? You may even want to try coconut oil in the dough. Not only will these bring an individual taste to your bread, they also add another source of valuable nutrition.
- You may also think about making your loaves wheat-free if so desired.
Controlling the ingredients and the type of flour means you can now produce traditional-style loaves in your own home that not only will feed and satisfy your family and friends but also be a source of healthy food.
For those with special dietary needs, or just looking for a healthy alternative to the processed bread that now graces our supermarket shelves, Aussie Health Products recommends the fantastic Well and Good Chia, Linseed and Sunflower Bread Mix for that touch of something special. The versatile and delicious bread mix contains a number of added superfoods and is gluten free. Another popular gluten free bread mix is the range of cottage bread mixes from F.G. Roberts.
So why not give breadmaking in the home a go? It's fun and nothing can beat the aroma of baking bread (trust me :). Most of all you can throw out the mass produced supermarket bread and control the ingredients. Finally you'll be connecting with a great tradition, one that has sustained life and health for centuries.
Happy baking folks!