Just tell me, is there a more famous and…many-faceted food than bread? Ok, there might be. But, this doesn’t mean that bread isn’t one of our favorite – and maybe even…misunderstood- foods. When you reach the bread shelf, the questions that usually come to mind have to do with its color and shape or with the fact that it might be sprinkled with plenty of sesame or not. However, there are many more things that are behind a freshly baked loaf. So, what do you say, shall we go unfold our knowledge and get into the kitchen to create our own, homemade bread?
Well, let’s start with some of the main types of bread. The truth is that right now, there are countless types of bread in the market. These are actually formed according to the type of flour used for each preparation, but also according to some other mixes which add a special characteristic into each type – e.g. the use of a vegetable, like beetroot, potato, even…sweet potato, several nuts, cheeses, even…chocolate praline!
However, if we want to refer to some classic types of bread, we will definitely talk about…
- The classic white bread, which could be made with sourdough or for its preparation, we could follow a much more simple procedure like the one we follow when we make a no-knead bread.
- The rye bread, which is -mainly- made with wheat flour and rye flour.
- The whole-wheat bread, which is made from milling the whole grain.
- The multigrain bread, which is made with all cereals, like wheat, barley, oats, corn, and many times with a combination of other seeds or nuts (sesame, rolled oats, walnuts).
Is bread really fattening or not?
I will answer you right away: No, if we consume it as it should be consumed (that is, reasonably). Yes, if we eat a loaf on our own or if…we dip it all into the salad bowl. The truth is one: along with the cereals, bread is one of the most important sources of carbs, which should represent at least 50% of the daily energy intake. So, each time we hear that someone excludes bread from his/her diet completely, in order to lose weight, we should know that he/she is mistaken. Of course, as we’ve already mentioned, it should be consumed reasonably; a rule that applies almost to all foods. And like that, we get right to the next question…
How much bread can we consume daily?
Bread belongs to the starch group. So, according to the food pyramid, 8-11 portions of starchy foods are recommended daily. This, of course, in no case does it mean that we can eat 8-11 slices of bread daily. You see, the quantity of bread is also defined from the other starchy foods that we’ll consume within the day. Therefore, it would be good for us to keep in mind the following analogies: one bread slice (30 g) = 2 rusks = 2 crackers = ½ sesame bread ring = 1/3 cup rice or pasta = one cereal bar (depending, always, on its ingredients) = ½ cup cereal = one medium boiled potato.
And what about the calories?
Is it true that whole-wheat bread has a lot less calories than the white one? No. That’s something that is not true. The truth is that the whole-wheat bread has about the same calories as the white. Every 30 g slice (that is, the size of a toast bread slice) has about 70-80 calories. The clear superiority of the rye or whole-wheat or wholegrain bread is clearly due to the fact that they are high in fibers. Generally, the darker and heavier a bread is, the greater its nutritional value is.
If bread is correctly consumed, not only it isn’t fattening, but it supplies our body with valuable nutrients like e.g. the wheat’s proteins (gluten, prolamin, and leucosin), metal salts, vitamins, especially the B-complex ones, and fibers (especially if we talk about the multigrain or rye bread). Lastly, when we eat bread, we should accompany it with something since if we don’t, it is very possible to exceed the proper quantity. A few olives (5-6, not the whole jar), a little cheese or salad, is a perfect accompaniment. Why? Because the particular combinations decrease the glycemic index of bread, due to the fact that they’re high in good fats (monounsaturated), proteins, and fibers. In that way, we feel full with a smaller quantity for a longer period of time!
And now that we learned many things about bread, it’s time to get into the kitchen and bake our own savory or…sweet loaf! I can’t wait to see your creations- I am sure that I’ll…be bursting with pride :-)