Bread is made from grains ground into flour or meal, moistened and kneaded into a dough, and then baked. They may be leavened, usually with yeast, which induces fermentation and causes the breads to rise. Flat breads are made from various types of grains, corn, barley, millet, wheat, and rye. White breads are made from a finely sifted wheat flour unlike whole wheat bread, which retains the fibre-rich outer kernel of the grain. Other ingredients that may be added to breads include milk, fats, eggs, salt, and sugar.

Most bread calories come from carbohydrates. In white bread, carbohydrates come from refined flour.

What are the health benefits of whole wheat bread?

Whole wheat bread is healthier because it contains fibre which is necessary for a healthy digestive system. Fibre also prevents retention of cholesterol and fat by absorbing a part of them. The body also absorbs whole grains more slowly, thereby preventing fluctuations in blood sugar. Whole grains also contain more antioxidants than other grain products. The antioxidants, along with lignans, phenolic acids and other elements, reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

As whole grain breads contain more protein, it keeps you energized for longer periods of time.

Why there is such a difference between white and whole wheat bread?

The difference comes from the way the two types of bread are processed. Flour is processed from wheat berries which contain bran, wheat germ and endosperm. While whole wheat bread uses all of these components, white bread only uses the endosperm...and that is bleached. The bleaching process leaches even more nutrition from the bread.

With the removal of wheat germ, white bread loses most of its nutrients. Nutrients which are removed include vitamin E (44%), pantothenic acid (52%), folic acid (65%), biotin (76%), vitamin B6 (84%), and half or more of 20 minerals and trace elements (magnesium, calcium, zinc, chromium, manganese, selenium, vanadium, and copper).

How can I be sure I am buying whole wheat bread?

Make sure that you read the label before buying bread. Mere mention of "wheat flour" or "enriched wheat flour" doesn't mean that it is whole wheat. Many of these are just white bread with a little bit of whole wheat added. The nutrition label should say "whole wheat" as one of the first listed ingredients.

Bread labelled simply as "wheat" bread (excluding the word "whole") usually contains a mixture of about 75 percent enriched white flour and 25 percent whole wheat flour.

What does salt do for bread?

Salt contributes to the overall flavour of the bread and controls the fermentation rate of yeast. It also has a strengthening effect on the gluten protein in the dough.

Is bread fattening?

Bread is not fattening because, on an average, one slice of bread contains only 1 gram of fat and 75 calories, the majority of which come from complex carbohydrates. As the body's preferred source of fuel, complex carbohydrates contain four calories per gram; compared with fat, which contains nine.

How do I keep bread fresh?

To keep bread fresh, store it at room temperature in a dark, dry place such as a bread box or a kitchen drawer. Storing in the refrigerator does not necessarily keep bread fresh. However, you can freeze it in its original packaging if you plan to eat it within a week.