In our “new” suburb, to which we moved a year ago, there are no independent bakeries close by, so we have to buy bread from the supermarket or one of those bakery franchises, which are pretty much the same, actually.
It’s disappointing to see row upon row of spongy white bread on the supermarket shelves: there must be 30 brands. Even their bakery section has mostly plain white bread in various guises.
It’s a far cry from the aromatic, heavy, crunchy-crusted loaves we used to buy at any of several small independent bakeries within walking distance of our house in our old suburb. For convenience, we also used to buy bread in the supermarket there, but again, there was less of your limp white pre-sliced type and more of your grained, dense brown styles.
Lately, I’ve noticed something funny about the bread, whether it be from the supermarket or the bakery chain: it won’t toast.
That’s right. Brands that previously came up hot and golden in our new toaster, with its wily ways and plethora of buttons, now refuse to toast. The slice simply becomes drier and drier, and the crust eventually burns, but the middle never toasts.
We have found this to be so with white bread, sourdough bread, brown bread and muffins of various brands, for a couple of months now.
***Conspiracy theory***: Could the bread all be made at some big central bread depot, then just put in separate packets and called different names? And could the bread formerly known as good for toasting, be being made with different (i.e. cheaper) ingredients that stop it behaving like real bread?
I think the only answer is to buy a bread-making machine and make our own.
If it’s any comfort, Caron, it’s not as easy as you’d think to find good independent bakeries where I live either. You can get decent bread if you know where to look, but the supermarkets don’t have much of it. And even the bread they bill as ‘whole grain’ or ‘multigrain,’ etc. isn’t really. As I say, you have to know where to go to get really good toastable bread…
Yes, that’s another conspiracy theory of mine: that the mass-produced brands just make every bread from the same dough, then add a flavouring and call it “sourdough” or whatever.
Wouldn’t be shocked at all if that were true.
Perhaps it’s on a knead to know basis.
I fear something has gone a-rye
Ooh you are a one, BP.
I agree, buy bread-making machine. Or try this recipe. I’ve been making this regularly and it’s very nice (and nutritious). I use molasses instead of honey, just cos Ive got heaps of it in the cupboard from some strange reason.
Ooh, sounds lovely. I will try! Then I can write a post on bread-making.
I started my own batch of sourdough to backe bread at home one a week (no machine; just dough, my hands, a mold, and the oven) to have real bread again. The stuff in the supermarket is made with artificial enzymes and whatever because sourdough is not fast and effective enough in the eyes of capitalism and mass production. Haven’t tried toasting my homemade bread yet, though – we don’t even own a toaster.
Homemade bread is the best. I love the way the house smells while it’s baking and for the whole day afterwards.
Once you start making your own bread, you will never look back. the only time we buy bread now id perhaps a specialty type like French rolls that won’t fit in the oven, or when a descent of family means the machine might not keep up with demand. Have tried Breville and Panasonic and would recommend Panasonic any day…experiment with the different recipes and types of bread and soon you will be wondering why you ever persisted with the store-bought stuff. Also you can not buy the aroma of fresh bread in the morning when you wake up…
So true. I had a bread maker about 10 years ago when I worked mostly from home, and used to love to put it on first thing in the morning and enjoy the emerging bakery smell as I worked during the day, plus a great reward at the end!
PS. It’s unlikely to be a problem where you are, Caron, but if your firtst few loaves are disasters and you’ve tried every possible solution and the breadmaker is destined for the bin (recycle or looney depending on whether it is the electric or two-legged breadmaker!), try using slightly warm water instead of the cold water in the recipe. This happened to us here and it turned out, after trying different yeast, sugars, flours, etc etc, that the problem was simply that our tap water was too cold…
Oh, that’s interesting. It does get quite cold in Melbourne during winter, but maybe not as cold as where you are! Not many frosts here, anyway. But I will keep that tip in mind.