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About six months back, I said to the Hippy Husband, “I need to start making bread by hand because I bet you $10 there are absolutely no nutrients in the over processed sliced bread that we have bought from the grocery store our whole lives.” I knew that at some point soon, I would find the evidence that I needed to truly force myself to make the switch, though I do admit it took me longer than usual to go looking for the proof.
The proof is on the bag, you just have to look for it!
If you go to the bread isle in your local grocery store, you'll see a plethora of “whole grains”, “whole wheat”, “Multi-grains”, and “High in fiber”. The word choices that go into the marketing of foods is genius. These breads claim to be complete in nutrition when actually, the hard facts on the label prove otherwise. When you are looking at labels, there are a few ingredients that you should look for and try to avoid:
- High Fructose Corn Syrup – This stuff has been labeled as “just corn” by the strong media campaign the corn industry has led, but scientific studies have proven to be the complete opposite. HFCS is directly linked to obesity, type 2 diabetes, mercury exposure (it's used in processing and studies have found that it is often loaded with alarmingly high levels of mercury), and recently they have found that it is linked to ADD/ADHD. (Children who were fed a diet that included high amounts of HFCS acted like a diagnosed ADHD child, but when the HFCS was removed from the diet, they're behavior returned to normal.)
- Caramel Color – There are FOUR different kinds of caramel coloring. I always thought that it was made with caramel or like caramel, but in actuality caramel coloring is made by heating sugars with AMMONIA and sulfites to high temperatures. Government studies have proven this to cause thyroid, liver, and lung cancer in mice. This stuff is so scary that even the CSPI (Center for Science in the Public Interest) has appealed to the FDA to eliminate it from our food supply and/or place a warning label on the products that contain it.
- Calcium Propionate – The CSPI says that calcium propinate is used to prevent mold growth in bread products but that there are a few risks associated with ingesting it. It is said to cause stomach ulcers and even has the potential to permanently damage your stomach lining. Livestrong.com says: “A study in the “Journal of Paediatric Child Health” in 2002 reported that although calcium propionate may have little to no side effects on the average person, chronic exposure, especially in children, might induce a myriad of behavioral changes. A controlled group of children fed a strict diet without any food additives was compared to a group that was given traditional bread each day. The clinical trial revealed that “irritability, restlessness, inattention and sleep disturbance in some children may be caused by a preservative in healthy foods consumed daily.” These behavioral changes appear to be reversible when the preservative is removed from the child's diet”
- Azodicarbonamide – A bleaching agent that is banned in most of the UK and Australia, Azodicarbonamide is (of course) deemed safe in the US. The UK's Health and Safety Executive has stated that it is a respiratory sensitizer (a possible cause for asthma) and that they feel that the products containing it should be labeled with “may cause sensitization by inhalation.”
- Sodium – Pretty much everyone knows that too much salt is bad for you, but did you know that some breads have 10% of our recommended daily value…per slice! That's a LOT of salt in our bread!
Say NO! to GMO's
Nearly all store bought breads have corn or soy in them, which means more than likely they contain GMO's (90% of soy and 80% of corn is genetically engineered!!!). Not only that, unless you are buying 100% whole wheat bread, most likely it will contain enriched flour. When they process the flour, they remove the outer husks (bran and germ) which is where all the good for you stuff is, so they try to put nutrients back into the flour by enriching it; but our bodies are not able to process it the same.
Hippy Honey Wheat Bread
This recipe that I have been using to make honey wheat bread, makes 2 loaves of bread using the long loaf pans (12 x 4.5 rather than the standard 9 x 5 loaf pan) that I purchased from Amazon. This bread is far better than any store bought bread I have purchased! In fact, I have trouble eating store bought bread these days because I am so spoiled by the great taste of homemade bread! This bread is fantastic for sandwiches toast, french toast, bread crumbs, and more!!
- 3 cups warm water (make sure this is luke warm. If the water is too hot the yeast will die and if it is too cold it will not activate. I thought that the water in my kurig would be fine, but that was too hot too. 70-80 or room temperature is ideal.))
- 2 tablespoons yeast
- 1/3 cup organic raw unfiltered honey
- 5 cups organic unbleached all-purpose flour (You can substitute either bread flour or use more whole wheat here to your liking.)
- 1/3 cup organic raw unfiltered honey
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 3 tablespoons unrefined coconut oil (or some other vegetable oil)
- 3 1/2 cups organic whole wheat flour (or more all-purpose flour for a honey white bread)
- 1/4 cup ground flax meal (optional)
- 1/4 cup hemp hearts (optional)
- 1/4 cup chia seed (optional)
- In a medium bowl, combine warm water and yeast. Stir until the yeast is dissolved into the water and combine with 1/3 cup honey and 5 cups unbleached all-purpose flour in your Kitchenaid (with a bread hook) or other such mixer. (You can do this by hand without a mixer, but it's much easier on the arms to use a mixer!)
- Mix until combined and then cover and let rise for 30 minutes. It should rise to nearly the top of the bowl. (This was the point that I realized the hot water I had used was too hot. The second time around it rose all the way to the top in 30 minutes.)
- Allow the mixer to beat the dough down for a pulse or two and as it continues to mix, add the honey, salt, oil, flax/chia/hemp, and flour.
- Knead the dough for 8-10 minutes in the mixer. (If you don't have a mixer then you should knead it by hand.)
- Place the kneaded dough in a large oiled bowl and cover. Allow to rise until it has doubled in size. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
- Punch down the dough and then split up between 2 or 3 large (long) oiled bread pans. Allow to rise in the pans for 1 -2 hours (until they have risen high enough to fill the pans and are ready for baking. If you leave to rise for too long they will over flow the pans.)
- Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown on top.
- Rub coconut oil or non-dairy margarine over the tops of the bread if you so choose. Allow loaves to cool on a rack completely and either wrap until using or freeze until you are ready to use them!
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