Friday, April 10, 2009

The Quest for Good Nutrition - Bread

I took us off store bought bread in January. Yep, the bread we eat is homemade (with the exception of the occasional bagels, tortillas, and pita bread). I have a bread machine so this is not as time consuming a process as it sounds. I have been averaging about 1 loaf every 2 or 3 days so far. There are multiple ideas behind this decision.

1) Expense - The price of bread has gone up significantly and I am unwilling to buy the cheap, tasteless, nutritionless, generic white breads available for just under $2. Even then, the price of the cheap stuff has gone up significantly. You used to be able to get that stuff for under $1. Anyway, in the interest of reducing our grocery expenses I am going homemade. A 5-lb bag of bread flour is about $3.00 and I can 4 to 5 loaves of bread per bag. We already had the bread machine which I only used occasionally prior to this.

2) Variety - I can rotate types of bread more easily this way. Country white, sourdough (I made my own starter), oatmeal, and Hawaiian are favorites and have good texture for sandwiches. The occasional treats, like chocolate bread, are guaranteed to bring a smile to DH's face. The variety keeps things from getting too routine.

3) Nutrition - You just can't beat the nutrition associated with home made. I also experiment with the recipes by substituting some of the bread flour for whole wheat, amaranth, millet, or potato flour. I have also started adding 2 tablespoons of ground flax seed to all my baked goods. This adds nutrients we would not normally be getting, including additional fiber (for DH =P) and omega-3 fatty acids for cardio health and lipid control. Good stuff! Added benefits include no artificial fillers so prevalent in store bought and ready made foods and no corn sweeteners. Corn sweeteners are one of the biggest evils in the average American diet. But that's just my opinion; maybe I'll expound on it another time.

I have also been experimenting with wheat free/gluten free breads as well with some marginal success. They just don't have the right texture for good sandwich breads and flavor is an issue for some recipes I have tried. Anyway, just trying to rotate our grain consumption a little better to see if it helps with DS1's attention span and ability to focus. I think he has shown improvement but it's hard to say if the diet change has contributed significantly - too many other other variables.

So that's it... If anyone is interested in swapping bread recipes, let me know. I've got some good ones.

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