About Bread

Home made whole wheat/chickpea bread

For this post, I included a photo of something I made with my Cuisinart bread maker:  Whole wheat/chickpea bread.  Unfortunately, many of us don’t have access to one of these bread-making gadgets.   But who doesn’t enjoy nutritious, tasty bakery items?  

Today, I’ll discuss various breads one can find in a typical supermarket.  Once again, I went to my local Albertson’s to see what is available out there.  And I specifically looked for items that will satisfy a gluten-free and low-carb diet, because so many of my FB friends have requested this information.  I also found some specialty items that are calorie-friendly.

Some history.  In preparing this article, I considered how dependent we are on this wonderful food, bread, which is made from flour or meal and then moistened, kneaded, and baked.  How long has bread been with us?  Archeological research tells us that the ancient Egyptians were the first to develop leavened bread.  It was so fundamental to Egyptian life and culture that at the end of a work day, laborers were paid with the stuff.  Maybe that’s where we got the phrase “earned their daily bread.”



Hieroglyph featuring Egyptians making bread

We typically associate bread with sandwiches, and the term “sandwich” comes from another chapter in food history.  John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich (1718 – 1792) was an avid gambler who would play cards into the wee hours of the night.  The story goes that when the Earl got hungry during a gambling session, he asked for meat between two pieces of bread, so he could eat with one hand while holding the cards with another.  This tale may or may not be true. Regardless, we are left with the earl’s namesake, the brown bagger’s most reliable main dish.

John Montagu, the 4th Earl of Sandwich

Because most breads are made from wheat flour, they contain a significant amount of gluten and carbohydrate.  This can pose a problem for those who are gluten-intolerant or on low-carb diets, but who also like bread.  In addition, some bakery items such as bagels contain a considerable amount of calories.  So if you’re watching your weight, what can you do?

Low-carb bread.   It’s certainly available, right there in your local grocery store.  As an example, I’ve included some photos of Nature’s Own 100% Whole Wheat Bread.  It is by no means the only low-carb stuff out there, but I’ve seen it in many grocery stores.  The nutritional info shows 11 grams of carbohydrate per slice, which is low compared with many of the other breads I looked at.  Also, less than 1 gram of sugar.  At least two Type 2 diabetics have told me that their physicians have recommended this bread.  But don’t just take their word.  If you’re going low-carb because of diabetes, PLEASE check with your own doctor before considering this or other bakery products.


Gluten-free bread.  Schar Artisan Baker White Bread is sold at the Albertson’s and Ralph’s markets near my home.  Schar is advertised as gluten-free, dairy free, and wheat free (it’s made of rice).  Please note that this does not mean carb-free.  As a matter of fact, nutritional data indicates that one slice is 18 grams of carbohydrate.  Again, if you have problems with gluten PLEASE check with your doctor before considering this or other bakery products.  

I bought some of this stuff and tried it out.  Not bad; slightly sweet.

Specialty bread.   Who doesn’t like a crunchy, chewy toasted bagel with butter or cream cheese?  Unfortunately, most normal-size bagels contain up to 300 calories per serving(!)  Thank goodness for Thomas’ Bagel Thins.   This product has 110 calories per bagel, as well as 5 grams of fiber and 5 grams of protein.  Sorry, low-carb people….one Bagel Thin contains 25 grams of carbohydrates.  That’s just the nature of bagels.  

Thomas’, of course, were first known for their English muffins.  But they have branched out.  In addition to the Bagel Thins, Thomas’ also offers a nice pita bread.  Frankly, I think it has a better and chewier taste than other pitas on the market.   One loaf is 140 calories, with 7 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber.  Once again, the low-carb folks won’t be happy to hear that one loaf also contains 27 grams of carbs.

 

Finally, I’m going to throw in Flatout Flatbread, which I discussed in a previous blog.  This is a highly nutritious food product that can be found in the deli section of major grocery stores.  The carbs are rather high at 22 grams per flatbread.  However, the product is only 90 calories per serving, with 7 grams of protein and 10 grams of fiber.  Please see my previous blog, called “Walking the Periphery-Part 4” regarding how to make a flatout sandwich.

In conclusion:  There are many varieties of bread in your local bakery.  You can make wise choices by looking at nutritional information on the packaging.  When it comes to bread, I look for the following:

  • Calories
  • Carbohydrates
  • Sugar content
  • Protein
  • Fiber

By the way, I welcome any and all comments about bakery items that you have been satisfied with.  Please write!

NEXT WEEK:  Packing sandwich ingredients

References:

  • “Bread Cook Book,” Woman’s Day Encyclopedia of Cookery, Vol. 2, (1966): p. 222.
  • “13 Ancient Egyptian Food Facts You Should Know,” https://www.historyly.com/egypt-history/popular-ancient-egyptian-food-facts/, 13 September 2016,.  Web.  6 December 2018.
  • “John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich”  Wikipedia:  The Free Encyclopedia.  Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.  30 November 2018,.  Web.  6 December 2018.

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