Many people have no desire to bake, but they do want to eat healthy bread. In that case, seeking out good artisan bread is your best bet. An unscientific survey of foodie friends across the Caribbean revealed that more and more supermarkets are stocking specialty breads like cassava, rye, and sourdough.
I don’t know about you, but for me there’s nothing that says “home” like the smell of freshly baked bread wafting through the house. When my mother baked, the loaves would be barely out the oven and I’d be there, ready to cut a huge slice, slather it with butter, and top with cheese.
So powerful is the aroma of fresh bread that supermarkets either strategically place bakery counters near the front of their premises or pump in artificial “fresh bread” fragrance, in an effort to make customers stay longer and buy more.
Bread comes in many varieties across the Caribbean, from the coconut-milk-infused coco bread of Jamaica to the long and pointy mastiff bread of Dominica and the moreish hops rolls of Trinidad. Bread is something we consume daily, though our bread market is dominated by the commercial sandwich loaf — the pre-sliced soft bread that is more convenient because it lasts longer.
But in recent years, bread — particularly white bread — has got a bad rap. In the quest for a healthy lifestyle, some give up bread in favour of a high-protein, low-carb diet, while others are shunning bread because they suffer from wheat intolerance.
People who are wheat-intolerant often suffer from bloating, diarrhoea, vomiting, and stomach pain after eating bread or any wheat products. While I’m not wheat-intolerant, I started noticing that eating some kinds of commercial bread left me feeling bloated. This didn’t happen if I ate homemade bread or sourdough bread.
At its most basic, bread is made of water, flour, salt, and leavening, but as commercial bread needs to stay longer on the shelves, enzymes and conditioners are usually added. After some research, I put my bloating down to the preservatives and other additives — so I cut back and started looking for alternatives.