Is homemade bread healthier and cheaper? Yes to both! Should we feel guilty about having a slice of freshly baked, wholesome bread? Yes? No? Well, maybe only a little, and only if you make it at home using the right flour. When we made our very first loaf of bread in the bread maker almost two years ago, for us it was love at first bite! Nothing beats the smell of bread baking in the kitchen and nothing certainly beats the goodness of a homemade loaf of bread.
Our bread-making story began like this. I came across an article online Below the Belt, Below the Breadline. This article talks about tests carried out on a variety of white bread loaves sold in South African supermarkets which contain soy flour. The tests conducted on white bread made and sold by Checkers, Woolworths, Spar, Pick ‘n’ Pay, Blue Ribbon, Albany, Sunbake and Sasko found that soy flour used is of GMO origin in all the white loaves except the Sasko white loaf. While the percentage of soy flour used in these breads is not very high, the soy flour used has a very high GMO content (read the exact figures here) with Checkers white bread in the lead. Woolworths has issued a statement to say that less than 1% of its white loaf contains 85% GMO and Premier has done the same for its Blue Ribbon loaf.
Now, I don’t know how you feel but I wasn’t at all happy to read about any of this. Bread is the second staple food in South Africa and at that point in time, we used to consume on average 2 loaves of store bought mostly sliced white low GI bread a week. With a bit more reading online, I later learnt that about 85% of soya grown in South Africa is GMO and so is 80% of white maze and 55% of yellow maize. The bottom line is, bread is just not what it used to be.
So our only solution was to start making bread at home. Kneading and leaving the loaf to rise, knocking it down then leaving it to rise again before baking is a time consuming process. A bread maker, as an alternative, isn’t cheap by any means but it does save you time. Whether you decide to knead the bread yourself or to use a bread maker is a matter of personal choice, and finance I’m sure, but either way – making your own bread at home is much healthier and it is also cheaper as you will see.
We then had to decide which flour to use. While the wheat grown in South Africa is not GMO the bread flour is just too white and too refined (you can read more about why white flour is bad for you here). Whole wheat flour is healthier but we wanted something even healthier than that. Eureka Mills bread flour, white and brown, is unbleached, stone ground (you can read about why stone ground flour is healthier than mass-produced, refined flour here) and free of GMO as well as preservatives and additives. Although the Eureka Mills unbleached, stone ground bread flour is more expensive than refined bread flours, both white and brown, found in the shops, making bread at home still works out cheaper – see the infographic below. You also won’t be spending money to go to the shops to buy bread, which is an additional saving for you.
While we usually make our homemade loaves using the bread maker, I occasionally like to knead a loaf myself and I still use the Eureka Mills bread flour. I don’t actually feel that guilty after having a slice or two of that lovely bread! Who can resist the aroma of a freshly baked, wholesome loaf of bread? I know I can’t. You can usually find me hovering over the bread maker, waiting impatiently.
This delicious loaf of white bread was made in the bread maker, using the Eureka Mills unbleached, stone ground white bread flour and using the Basic Bread Recipe above.
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