Is making your own bread really that much better for you? The short answer is yes, but not all breads are created equal and depending on what kind of bread, or more importantly, what your are putting in your bread, is one of the major factors of having a more healthy bread. There are other factors that we’ll get into more as well.
You Are In Control
Bread making does take time (we’ll talk about how this can be a benefit later), but it also allows you to be in control of what goes into your bread. You get to decide which fresh ingredients you want to use. Most store bought breads have an abundance of preservatives and “empty calorie” additives like high fructose corn syrup or dextrose. You can use less of the “bad stuff” and more of the “good stuff,” and you don’t have to worry about all those ingredients you can’t even pronounce. Another benefit is the choice of using unsaturated fats, like olive oil or safflower oil, instead of margarine or vegetable shortening (your heart will thank you later). Oh yeah, don’t forget about sodium. The average slice of store bought bread has around 130 mg of sodium in it. You can easily cut that in half when making your own bread.
Choosing the Best Grains
By far the biggest ingredient, that can have the greatest impact on your health is the quality of flour you use. A growing body of research shows that choosing (or grinding your own- see our Nutrimill grain mills) whole grains and other less-processed, higher-quality sources of carbohydrates, and cutting back on refined grains, improves health in many ways.
For example, a report from the Iowa Women’s Health Study linked whole grain consumption with fewer deaths from inflammatory and infectious causes, excluding cardiac and cancer causes. Examples are rheumatoid arthritis, gout, asthma, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, and neurodegenerative diseases. Compared with women who rarely or never ate whole-grain foods, those who had at least two or more servings a day were 30% less likely to have died from an inflammation-related condition over a 17-year period.
What comes to your mind when you think of cross-contamination? I’m guessing whatever it is, it isn’t good. Cross contamination plays a role if you suffer from any type of food allergies, or could lead to the development of food allergies. When you buy bread at the store, you may think you are being careful to avoid those things you are allergic to, but the truth is, many manufactured breads are produced on equipment that is contaminated with the very thing you are trying to avoid. Making your bread at homes takes care of this problem 100% of the time.
Bread Making Therapy
When you have a bad day at work, come home and make some bread. Research has shown that creating things with your hands enhances our mental health – IT MAKES US HAPPY!
The time it takes making bread is time spent making you a better person. There’s also a good chance it’s going to make others around you happier as well. Think about it, when was the last time someone got upset or angry when given a warm, freshly baked, slice of bread with some melting butter (the real kind) on it. So if you need to decrease stress, relieve some anxiety, or help with some depression, get in that kitchen, put on your favorite apron, and start baking some bread.
If you would like some of our favorite recipes, you can download a free copy of our Homemade Matters Recipe Booklet.
Mmmmm, life is better when baking bread!
Tell us what you think, by leaving a comment below. What are other benefits you’ve received from baking your own bread?