Bread’s had a bad rep recently. According to the #glutenfree crowd, just one slice is bad for you. But what’s actually in a loaf of bread? We break down the ingredients in your store-bought loaf.
Wheat, flour, yeast, salt
“These are the four mandatory ingredients,” says Suretha De Kock, senior lecturer in food technology at the University of Technology. “Salt isn’t only added for flavour; it plays a major role in developing the gluten, controlling fermentation and, therefore, causing the structure of the bread.”
Derived from fats – like the margarine you’d add to your loaf at home. “Emulsifiers keep bread softer for longer. They improve the gluten structure too and therefore produce a uniform crumb structure,” says De Kock.
READ MORE: Is Bread REALLY The Devil In Your Diet?
A mould inhibitor. “It’s added to help preserve the bread – not necessarily a bad thing because it’s a source of calcium,” says dietician Catherine Day.
“The main ingredient in this is ascorbic acid, which is normal vitamin C. It functions as an oxidising agent, so you get a good structure in the bread,” says De Kock.
It’s a natural enzyme, activated in the proofing stage, that improves the fermentation process, says De Kock.
Added to increase the fibre content of the loaf of bread. This is a good thing, says Day.