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Bread made with just these four ingredients was the basis of my bakery business for 25 years.
Even yeast (as an added ingredient) is unnecessary with natural leavens or sourdoughs. A loophole classifies them as 'processing aids', which need not be declared on product labels. Not surprisingly, most people have no idea that their bread contains added enzymes.
In 1961 the British Baking Industries Research Association in Chorleywood, Hertfordshire, devised a bread-making method using lower-protein wheat, an assortment of additives and high-speed mixing.
Over 80 per cent of all UK bread is now made using this method and most of the rest uses a process called 'activated dough development' (ADD), which involves a similar range of additives. From the clammy sides of your chilled wedge sandwich to the flabby roll astride every franchised burger, the stuff is there, with a soft, squishy texture that lasts for many days until the preservatives can hold back the mould no longer.
Flour, yeast, water and salt - a traditional loaf needs only four ingredients.So why are calcium propionate, amylase, chlorine dioxide and L-cysteine hydrochloride now crammed into our daily bread?Andrew Whitely, Britain's leading organic baker, reveals how our staple foodstuff was transformed into an industrial triumph, but a nutritional and culinary disaster.Almost all our bread has been made this way for nearly half a century. It is made largely with home-grown wheat and it is cheap.For increasing numbers of people, however, it is also inedible.