History of Favorite American Food White Bread Part 1

About the favorite American food white bread, history and information.


The most important ingredient in bread is flour and in the U.S. the most common flour is wheat, typically red winter wheat grown in the southern Great Plains States. Whole wheat bread is made from the entire grain. For white bread, however, the outer shell (bran) and kernel (germ) are removed in the milling process. The resulting flour is devitalized and then sent to commercial baking plants to undergo further adulteration. In Egypt, where bread-making is said to have begun as a profession, a baker who adulterated his bread would find himself hung by his ears to the doorpost of the bakery. Still, the history of adulterating bread is long. In the Middle Ages refined white bread was used by the Church and the surplus sold to the nobility while the poor people ate dark bread, establishing a tradition of associating white bread (also white rice, white sugar) with wealth and status.

Modern processing of wheat is one of the dubious technological advances of the Industrial Revolution. The wheat is roller-milled, which crushes the grain, thus destroying protein and vitamins. White bread need not be completely useless nutritionally, especially if eggs and butter are used, though this is rarely done with typical commercial white bread. Stone-grinding is the older method of preparation, producing coarser but more nutritious flour than the highly milled and refined white flour.

Most manufacturers remove the germ because the oils present there make rancidity possible. Vitamin E is thereby eliminated and drug companies make a healthy profit selling people back the vitamin E which has been confiscated from their bread. The removal of the germ or embryo, which is the living part of the grain, makes it difficult to claim that bread is the staff of life. The complete complex of B vitamins is found in very few foods other than liver, brewer's yeast, and wheat germ. Remove the germ, and the vitamin-deficient bread that's left does not service the heart, veins and arteries, nervous system, and digestive system. And speaking of the digestive system, manufacturers claim that they remove the bran because it is too rough for many digestive systems. Yet without such roughage we are prone toward diseases of the intestines including cancer of the colon. Since commercial concerns use chemicals to speed up the resting time of the dough, they claim that the bran wouldn't have time to soften and this is further rationale for removing it. Yet potassium bromide, which ages flour artificially, was banned in South Africa after a 1% concentration of it was found to be responsible for over 600 cases of poisoning; and chlorine dioxide, used as both a maturing agent and a bleach to make the flour whiter, is toxic.

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