The Sad State of Bread


So today we made whole wheat tortillas from scratch. Crazy, right? Why not buy them in the store like a normal person? Well if you buy them at the store, you’ll be consuming: Whole wheat flour, water, vegetable shortening (interesterified soybean oil, hydrogenated soybean oil and/or palm oil), contains 2% or less of: leavening (sodium bicarbonate, sodium aluminum sulfate, corn starch, monocalcium phosphate and/or sodium acid pyrophosphate, calcium sulfate), sugar, salt, preservatives (calcium propionate, sorbic acid and/or citric acid), cellulose gum, distilled monoglycerides, enzymes, wheat starch, calcium carbonate, antioxidants (tocopherols, ascorbic acid), dough conditioners (fumaric acid, sodium metabisulfite and/or mono- and diglycerides).

If you make them from scratch, you’ll be consuming: Whole wheat flour, baking powder, salt, and coconut oil. YOU choose! And yes, the ingredient list above is from a popular tortilla brand (Mission), and no matter what ingredient list I read, I could not find a package of tortillas that didn’t have a lot of extra “stuff” in it.  Only solution: make from scratch. In fact, bread and other baked goods is probably the most difficult thing to find in a whole food/healthy/without-a-lot-of-extra-stuff form. Yes, I understand, a lot of that is necessary for the products to maintain freshness, but you would think, they could have some healthy choices even in the freezer section.

While tortillas have eluded me, it’s no comparison to my search for good bread. I have been on an epic search for “healthy” sandwich bread, and it’s just plain sad! I tried local grocery stores. Even brands like Oro-Wheat that don’t have high fructose corn syrup, still have all kinds of unnecessary ingredients. I went to the bakery at my local Hyvee, and even though the breads are “baked fresh in store” they still have just as many additives as the stuff on the shelves. I tried Panera Bread, and came out with a lovely loaf that they told me was baked fresh in their store. It tasted ok, but there was no ingredient list on it. Yesterday, I went back to Panera for a French Baguette, and this time I asked to see an ingredient list (they have to have these available for customers who have allergies). Guess what?! Just like always, there were all those extra ingredients. I asked the clerk (who was already annoyed with me for making her get the ingredient list binder) “Do you make the dough here or is it shipped to you and then you bake it?” She replied, “It’s shipped here.” Sooo fresh bread isn’t really that “fresh” now is it?

The sad thing is, the only place I could get truly fresh/healthy bread without all the extras was at the Farmer’s Market. A lady was selling loaves for $5 a piece and she had her ingredient lists on the bags. While this is nice, I won’t see this lady again until April 20th, the next time we have Farmer’s Market, so guess what I’m going to do? Make my own bread. Not only is it healthier, but it’s cheaper than spending $5 a loaf.

So my mission is to try each week, or every other week, to make a different baked good from scratch. This week it is tortillas. Next week, it might be bagels or english muffins. We’ll see. It will depend on my menu plan each week. I’ve got some bread stock-piled in the freezer for now, so I don’t have to worry about sandwich bread yet. Maybe a bread machine is in my future, but for now, it’s all going to be done by hand! Another great reason to make your own bread is you can experiment with all kinds of grains! And you’ll have more options for whole grains vs. refined white flour. I am excited to begin my next “from scratch” adventure! And thank you hubby for helping with the tortillas!

Here’s the recipe I used:


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