Nowadays, with the whole world going into lockdown, people have started baking bread on a large scale.
On the one hand this is great. People start relying on their own skills instead of buying everthing pre-made.
On the other hand, the prevailing shortage of yeast shows that ago-old techniques for baking have been largely forgotten. People seem to think that yeast is required for baking bread. This is a misconception though.
All that it takes is flour, water and salt. This will give you a very good basic bread which is far better digestible than bread that is based on yeast.
Why have these skills been lost?
Many small bakeries went out of business in the past years. They were replaced by baking-factories or bakery-chains which supply their outlets with semi-baked bread that just gets finished in the outlet.
These outlets need to process large quantities of bread to be profitable. This means that the bread can’t rest for the normally required period before it gets baked, but rather needs to be ready within minutes.
This is achieved by adding yeast and lots of chemicals, additives, so-called „flavor enhancers“, etc.
The final product looks and smells like bread. For the body though, it’s much harder to process and to digest than naturally made bread.
Even small bakeries need to use these additives to be able to compete.
After all, baking a proper sourdough bread takes about one week from the first preparations until the dough is ready for baking. Commercial bakeries, even those supplying organic bread, simply don’t have the space to store these quantities of semi-finished dough.
People seem to think that for a self-baked bread to be good it needs to taste similar to a bread you buy at a bakery.
They couldn’t be more wrong.
For a bread to be good, it must be very different from what your bakery sells you.
So, nowadays there is nearly no alternative to baking your own bread if you want something good.
How can you tell if a bread is actually a „proper bread“ or an industrially produced loaf of flour plus heaps of chemicals?
That’s actually easy.
An industrially made bread won’t taste fresh for very long. After two or three days it will have los a lot of its flavor and will probably have started becoming dry.
A proper bread will remain fresh and edible without getting too hard for at least a week, if not longer. It doesn’t need to be wrapped in plastic, etc.
After cutting off a slice you just stand it on the cutting-side so it doesn’t dry out there.
You wouldn’t even need to wrap it in paper if it weren’t for hygienic reasons.
That’s why it’s important to bake your own bread in a different way from how commercial bakeries do it.