Flour, yeast, water and little else
Roasted and aromatic bark and moist and spongy crumb, but resistant. This is how bread lovers define this staple food and almost no one makes disgust. Current legislation sees it as “the product resulting from the cooking of a dough obtained by mixing flour and water, with or without the addition of salt, fermented with the help of baking yeast or sourdough”. Likewise, three types of bread: Bregado, of hard crumb, Spanish or candeal; of flame or soft crumb; that of whole wheat and the one made with flours of other cereals.
Soft crumb bread is becoming the most frequent in cities and large areas. It is obtained with a greater proportion of water than the brewed bread and the alveoli of its crumb are irregular. This type includes baguete, ciabatta and bread, among others.
For a bread, whatever it is, to be called ‘integral’ or ‘100% integral’ it must have been made with exclusively whole wheat flour. The denomination will be completed with the name of the cereal or cereals from which the flour or flours used are derived. If there is a mixture, the percentage of integral flour with which the processing counts, which will be calculated on the total flour used, must be included in the denomination. Whole wheat bread should not be confused with those facts that have only a part of whole wheat flour or bran additives. The latter are artificially added fragments of bran to white flour and do not contain the germ of the grain, the richest part in vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids. Therefore, its quality, without being negative for health, is inferior to that of bread made from 100% whole wheat flour.
Since cereal is an easily storable food, bread is without problems throughout the year.
Never defrost it in the microwave
Although when the loaf of bread is fresh out of the oven it is difficult to resist the temptation to eat it practically whole, on many occasions it is bought to last at least until breakfast the next day. To conserve it, once it has cooled, the best option is to put it in a cloth bag or in the bread basket. Nothing plastic: it remains leathery.
If left, nothing fridge. It is cut into slices and freezer in sealed containers so that they do not lose moisture or absorb other odors. To consume it again, you have to microwave it, leave it as a stone. Ideally, take it out about three hours before consuming it and let it thaw in the fridge or put them directly in the toaster.
Does not get fat on its own
In Western society, bread carries the sambenito of which it fattens. Nutritionists insist: neither bread nor any other food will make us gain or lose weight alone. Everything will be based on the total diet. Wholemeal bread is rich in complex carbohydrates (starch; 45 grams), with a low fat content (3 grams per 100 g) and a moderate energy intake (251 kilocalories). It is a key food in the Mediterranean diet and the main companion of all meals of the day. Eliminating it can contribute to an important imbalance in the caloric profile of the diet and opens the door to increasing the percentage of total calories from fatty foods or other less healthy hydrates.
Although not usually considered as a protein food, the truth is that 11 out of 100 grams of whole wheat bread are proteins. In wheat, the most representative protein is gluten, which gives the flour the characteristic of being bread-making. In recent years the industry has turned to increasingly bakery flours, selecting those with a higher gluten index that facilitate the production of bread.
Do you prefer it to be white bread? This simple choice means giving up many nutrients. Starting with the fiber. While the integral provides six grams of fiber per 100, the white bread stick only offers half of this essential micronutrient for intestinal transit. Minerals and vitamins will also be depleted. Each 100 grams of whole wheat bread provides 32 micrograms of selenium (28 mg on the white). This mineral has antioxidant properties and protects cells from oxidative damage. It also highlights magnesium (58mg) and phosphorus (191mg), which fall in half in white bread. The same applies to iron, almost insignificant in the latter, but which reaches almost four grams in the integral, or with folates and thiamine, where they bend with respect to the target.
Quantity and quality, to exam
The World Health Organization suggests 250 grams per day in the framework of healthy eating. The equivalent of a baguete. Quite more than the shy 100 grams of bread daily we consume the Spaniards. Some nutritionists see the suggestion of that international organization somewhat excessive and estimate that theirs is not to exceed 50 or 60 grams at breakfast and another 20 or 30 grams at each meal.
In large cities it is increasingly difficult to locate a bakery with kneaded bread that same night. Bread sticks and baguettes of second cooking (frozen) proliferate. This fact should not undermine its quality. It is a 70% pre-cooked bread, which is frozen and distributed to the customer, which defrosts it when it suits him best. If it was made with high quality ingredients and with a recipe to the height, it will be a first quality bread, although its characteristics, as well as its durability, will be different from those of the artisan with slow fermentation.
The myth of the crumb
One of the great urban legends was that the crumb fattened infinitely more than the crust. The truth is that it happens just the other way around: the crust and the crumb come from the same mass fragment, but the crust, being more dehydrated, provides some calories more than the crumb. But do not go crazy: what could unbalance the energy is the quantity and, especially, with what it is accompanied. It is useless to sneak a few crumbs if you then rush to the last drop of the sauce or assemble a two-story sandwich the size of the entire baguete. Do not blame bread.
Ideal for snacks
The neutral taste of the baguete makes it especially receptive to aromatically intense foods, such as pork belly. But do not stay alone with this proposal and resort to fish, roasted vegetables, vegetable pate, or the humble and nutritious bread with olive oil. Due to its elongated shape and its lighter crumb, it is perfect for snacks. Here the limit is set by the imagination.
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