Around two or three years ago, I started baking my own bread. The process and results were so good, I haven't bought bread since, preferring instead to make our own at home. Before making bread I had always assumed it was too much work and effort and that it would not be as good as bread bought from a supermarket or bakery. How wrong I was. As you may know, bread is a simple mixture of flour, yeast, water, salt and a little oil. We choose to use good quality organic materials and we keep it simple.
Have you ever read the ingredients on most packets of bread? Many commercial breads have many ingredients in and I don't know what they are or what they do. The bread lasts a very long time. Food shouldn't really do that unless it's been frozen or dried first. 'Real' bread should go moldy in under a week but I have seen loaves of commercial bread last for two weeks! What is in that bread to enable it to do that. In some regards it is clever but those ingredients have no place in my body.
When I noticed the long list of unpronounceable ingredients and preservatives on the packet of a standard loaf of bread I switched to the organic bread made in-house at the supermarket bakery. There were far fewer ingredients and I could pronounce them all. Then I noticed the ingredient flour treatment agents. Researching online showed me that these ingredients were to help with the baking. Some sources believed them to be completely harmless and others rather harmful. I guess it depends exactly which treatment agent was used in a particular bread. However it was never clear to me because the label said simply flour treatment agent and therefore I was not able to make an informed decision. When it comes to what I put inside and on my body, if in doubt I leave it.
Anyone who bakes bread will agree that baking your own bread is so much better than buying it at the supermarket. The bread we bake at home is wonderful. I bake bread twice each week and my children help with with at least one of those batches. We all enjoy the squeezing, rolling, molding, commonly known as kneading the dough. Even though the children wear aprons, they usually end up with flour all over them and on the floor but it's fun and productive so I don't mind that. I love the smell that fills the house as the bread is baking, it's a delicious, comforting smell like no other and it's obvious the children love it too.
When it's baked we either eat it or wrap it in a cloth and put it in a plastic bag to keep it fresh. I always wrap bread in a clean cloth first to prevent the plastic from leaching into the bread.
Last time we baked bread my eldest child asked me why we knead the dough. I told him that we knead the bread to trap air and help to mix it all up but mostly I knead the dough to squeeze love into it. Then he really got to work, kneading and squeezing. When the loaf came out of the oven I smiled as the love we had kneaded into the bread was rather visible!