Blog,  Cooking,  Lifestyle

Baking My Own Bread and Why I’m Frustrated With Ingredients in Store Bought Bread

I have realized for the past few years that finding bread made without my allergens is becoming harder to do. This problem has become worse over the past year. I have noticed my favorite place to buy bread at (a bakery in a specific grocery store) has changed their recipe to include an ingredient that I am allergic to. Fortunately, it is an allergy I have a tolerance for. Yet, after weeks of eating the bread, it became difficult for me to consume it anymore without getting sick.

This has lead me to acknowledge that the area where I live is somewhere where is too difficult to find food I’m not allergic to anymore without cooking it at home. I tried to spread my shopping range to other stores, but, sadly, these stores are usually too far away from where I live (About an hour or more drive)  without it becoming a major hassle.

Since I’m not moving to a different area right now (I won’t go into reasons why), I decided to start making my own bread from home. It may be time consuming, but, after taking into consideration my allergies,  travel time, and expenses, I am sure it will cost me less money, and possibly less time, to do this.

The problem is I haven’t made my own bread in years!

Growing up, I always ate home made bread. Even though people thought it was great, for me, it wasn’t. The family member that baked the bread would always burn the tops to be black and crusty. (She liked it that way) Also, due to the excess time in the oven, the bread was always dry. For a kid growing up, I hated eating my relatives bread! As an adult, I often times have wondered why my relative overcooked and brunt the bread. Also, I never understood why my relative, who only made potato bread, didn’t branch out into other types of bread. Like other children, I liked white sandwich bread… until it was discovered I was allergic to ingredients in it! Since my relative refused to make other types of bread, or even experiment with bread recipes, I had to go back to eating the dry and burn potato bread until I was a teenager and found a different brand of white sandwich bread.

Today, that brand and other brands I tried all contain ingredients I’m allergic to. Sadly, these brands and breads are easy to find and are readily available near where I live as well. I thought I found a solution with the grocery store bakery, but no. Over the past year, they began to include an ingredient I am allergic to. So, I can’t eat their bread anymore.

The part of my bread shopping problems I struggle making sense of is why is that ingredient in bread in the first place?! I am not gluten intolerant. (If you read this post until now and thought this was the case, I’m sorry to have misled you!) Instead, I can eat as much gluten a healthy human should be able to consume without problem. The ingredient I have an allergy to is soy and soy lecithin, the former of which is what is found in the bread I purchase.

And that lead me to my question: Why is soy lecithin in white bread?!

I have a working theory about why so many brands are including soy lecithin in so many products now-en-days, but I don’t feel ready to write a lengthy post about it right now. Basically, I believe bread brands, and other companies including cookie and cracker companies, add it into their products due to three (Probably more) reasons: Soy lecithin is a thickener, it evens the food texture, and it replaces more expensive ingredients used in food. For many people, this ingredient doesn’t bother them. Yet, for people like me, soy lecithin causes an allergic reaction. (There are also questions about how soy lecithin negatively affects the human gut. For me, I’m just allergic to soy itself.)

After doing some digging into bread recipes (With a focus on the King Arthur’s The All Purpose Baking Cook Book) I found there aren’t many, if any at all, at home baking recipes that contain soy or soy lecithin as an ingredient. This does mean I will need to use more “expensive” ingredients, but I’m fine with that. For the amount of money I will spend traveling to find a loaf of bread that may not contain soy lecithin, I’m willing to use higher priced ingredients. Also, it gives me more control over what ingredients come into my body on a regular basis.

Living with food allergies is tough. Especially when that ingredient is included into a staple of you diet without you even knowing it! I’m just glad I have the skills, and great cookbooks, to help me avoid my allergens. I only wish I had more time to dedicate to making more food from scratch!

Well, that’s all for now! Thank you for reading!


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