The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

'When "Artisan" means "Industrial"

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tn gabe's picture
tn gabe

'When "Artisan" means "Industrial"

With the co-opting of the term re-inforced by recent or current ads for Dominos and Frito-Lay, I hit the Google. Looks like I'm not the only one thinking about this. Here's a story from Huffington Post with links to others.

sam's picture
sam

While I've never had one of these before, I found this ... er...   kinda yucky.

McDonald's "McRib" buns:

"At face value, the sandwich contains just pork, onions, and pickle slices slathered in barbecue sauce and laid out on a bun. But the truth is, there are roughly 70 ingredients. The bun alone contains 34, says TIME's Melnick. In addition to chemicals like ammonium sulfate and polysorbate 80, the most egregious may be azodicarbonamide — "a flour-bleaching agent most commonly used in the manufactur[ing] of foamed plastics like gym mats the and soles of shoes." According to McDonald's own ingredient list, the bun also includes calcium sulfate and ethoxylated mono- and diglycerides, among other chemicals."


http://theweek.com/article/index/220866/whats-the-mcrib-made-of-anyway

 

YUM!   Heh.    Kind of gives a new meaning to "sticking your foot in your mouth", so to speak.

 

 

thomaschacon's picture
thomaschacon (not verified)

...is banned in the EU, Canada, Japan, Australia and New Zealand. Not so in United States of Obesity.

It's one of the ingredients in the Chorleywood Bread Process, an industrial process used to lower the cost of bread production. It's the anti-slow rise. 

One of the many chemicals that puts the wonder in Wonder bread.

sam's picture
sam

I have heard of that before on this site, but even if I hadn't...   The term, "Chorleywood Process", sounds evil simply by the name of it.

Like:   "You are now going to be subjected to the Chorleywood Process.".

Like some kind of super electro-shock procedure at an insane asylum.   :)

 

mcs's picture
mcs

As was mentioned a couple of weeks ago, there definitely is ADA in some Canadian flours.  I also found Ellison Milling out of Lethbridge, AB has ADA in their 'Trojan Special No Time Whole Wheat Flour' .

-Mark

 

DerekL's picture
DerekL

""a flour-bleaching agent most commonly used in the manufactur[ing] of foamed plastics like gym mats the and soles of shoes."

Umm...  So what?  Common H2O is used in all manner of industrial processes.  So is common NaCl.  And corn starch. And all manner of other things found in our pantries.

After all, aluminum is a prime ingredient in solid rocket fuel - but that's irrelevant to it's valuable uses in the kitchen.

Down with scientific illiteracy.

yy's picture
yy

I'm not sure what scientific illiteracy has to do with it. I understand your point that there is often an unreasonable double standard when it comes to our evaluation of certain chemical substances in our food supply. To paraphrase Paracelsus, what is there that is not a poison? It is the dose that determines the poison. Enough salt can kill you by dehydration. Too much water can do you in as well - ask someone who's had a fatal experience with ecstasy. 

What bothers me personally is the idea that there is something being put in my food that does not NEED to be there, in the interest of manufacturing efficiency and profit rather than my health. My aversion to chemical additives is more ideological than it is toxicologically evidence-based

For those interested in the scientific evidence that exists on azodicarbonamide, here's a comprehensive overview provided by the WHO:

http://www.who.int/ipcs/publications/cicad/cicad16_rev_1.pdf

G-man's picture
G-man

It's good that it's being looked into, but I don't feel like conclusions can be drawn based on this tiny sample they have.

I do appreciate that the WHO is looking into it. The problem I have with this report is that they took a sample of 30 workers, which is nowhere near a large enough population to derive a worthwhile statistic. 15 of 30 workers may be tired and experience shortness of breath after working a labor job, period, regardless of what they're working with.

 Lab animals and in vitro testing is another thing entirely. What levels of exposure were there? The paper says groups of 10 guinea pigs (how many groups? doesn't say) were repeatedly exposed by inhalation for 6 hours a day, five days a week, for 4 weeks with no evidence of pulmonary irritation or asthmatic-type reactions. This casts the human findings into even more doubt.

I don't like unnecessary ingredients and I don't eat McDonald's food, but I think skepticism needs to be liberally applied.

Ford's picture
Ford

I do agree with you about using the word chemical as though all chemicals are "bad."  After all, everything is made of chemicals and nothing else.  Think about that.  Salt is a chemical, so are sugar, starch, fats, flour, air, water, and you ---- everything!  Some are mixtures of individual chemicals.

Admittedly, some chemicals are deleterious to your health, but because it is a chemical doesn't mean that it is harmful.

Ford

yy's picture
yy

Agreed - just because something is a chemical doesn't mean it's harmful. Furthermore, even if a chemical is harmful by one route (respiratory or dermal, for instance), it doesnt mean it's harmful by ingestion. 

andreab's picture
andreab

I fully agree that labeling commercial fast food as "Artisan" is pretty much the dumbest thing one can do (well, actually, it's probably a smart marketing move). I guess artisan bread bakers will have to invent a new label for themselves and hope that the commercial ones don't steal that too.

One may dislike commercial bread baking for a number of reasons, for example the lack of taste and quality, the addition of ingredients for purely aesthetic reasons, et cetera. Everyone has their own reason for baking bread or buying artisan instead of commercial, but any argument put forth must be logical and sound. Just because an ingredient is used in the production of some "nasty" thing, doesn't at all mean that it is unhealthy or bad in another product. If it did, the argument could be reversed; since it's used in bread, and bread is healthy, then so is styrofoam (or whatever). It reminds me of the advertisement for Brita water filter, where they asked if "you really would drink the same type of water that you used for washing with?" Well, that could probably appeal to people's feelings whose water tastes like sulphur or chlorine (or worse), but living in a country where tap water is of excellent quality, it's very clear how that argument doesn't hold water!

As I gather, the earlier comment on scientific literacy probably does not address only the findings of some specific study on a given substance, but rather to understand the scientific way of thinking, and critical thought.

Hooray for science, and especially the science, in addition to the art, of breadmaking!

yy's picture
yy

Found this video on youtube of british celebrity chef Anthony Worral Thompson singing the virtues of the Chorleywood process. I find the premise a bit confusing. Mass-produced, chemically enhanced bread is a good thing because it's cheap and widely available? Haven't we moved beyond this perspective? Here's a quote from the video:

"Specialty and artisan loaves are great. It's all very well if you're prepared to make them yourself, or you're prepared to pay an awful lot of money for them but in this country, we eat 9 million loaves of bread a day. the chorleywood bread process means that we can make bread affordable, nutritious and made predominantly with British wheat."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ZTcxWeNkMA

Sounds pretty familiar. Aside from the fact that our national taste buds have been brainwashed by decades of insipid crap, we're being pushed away from buying purer, healthier products by economic forces. At my local supermarket, it often costs three times as much to buy a loaf from a local bakery consisting of four or five ingredients than it does to buy a fluffy loaf of wonder bread. Sigh. 

thomaschacon's picture
thomaschacon (not verified)

This from a chef, "The only thing you need to know is that it tastes good..." 

As good as hydrogenated fats, ester, calcium propionate, azodicarbonamide, steryl acetate, and who knows what else can! And besides, it's half salt. How can that not taste good? Just look at V8 vegetable salt juice.

Let them eat cake chemicals!

sam's picture
sam

There is a point about the need to feed millions of people every day, day in, day out   Historical population growth went through the roof with the advent of electricity.   How do you sustain those masses?

It seems to be that the masses don't really consider bread to be a 1st-class food item, and have just become accustomed to whatever it is ends up on the plate, or in a sandwich, etc.   Just bland things to hold other things.

I would pay the extra money for locally produced good breads, if they could be found, with the understanding the shelf life may not be a month.   But I think I am in the minority.   Most people don't seem to care.

The same argument could be extended towards meat, raising cattle, growing veggies, etc., but I am not in a position to do that, so I get the best I can find, and pay extra.   But the fresh-baked and natural bread, is difficult or impossible to find.   So I make bread myself.

I would not want to rewind the clock back to the 1700's,  I am all for modern technology.  It is great we can discuss things on this virtual experience of the Internet.   But, it would be nice to have a balance, of good locally-produced goods and also the benefits of modern technology.

 

sam's picture
sam

That said,  there should be no excuse regardless, of serving shoe soles and gym mats in breads.

That is just dumb.    We, as humans, can do better than that.

Well, I for one have eaten plenty of those chemical breads in my life.   I look forward to dying with a well preserved body that will remain intact for a thousand years.   :-)     kidding...    :)

 

 

linder's picture
linder

I really became a bake your own bread enthusiast after finding 3 leftover burger buns in my fridge that had no mold on them.  They were unable to support life.  Kind of makes you think what they might do to your insides and how could they possibly support your life?

thomaschacon's picture
thomaschacon (not verified)

There are similar responses on the "plastic wrap thread", saying that it's much better to be civil and just stick our heads in the sand.

Let those who do not know what goes into their "food-tasting substances" (not food, mind you) keep eating it?

Say nothing!

Bah!

We, as humans, can do better.

(Shall we build you a pyramid for your preserved self, gvz?) ;D

G-man's picture
G-man

Around here, gvz, we have co-op markets in addition to the warm-weather outdoor farmers markets. We also have the Pike Place Market, though from what I've seen most of the merchants there get their fresh produce from a supplier that isn't very discriminating. The co-ops do stock local products, that's why they were created. The moment I started seeing South American onions in the supermarket, in a state that produces its own named onion variety, was a turning point for me and made me look elsewhere. A grocery trip to a co-op can cost me up to twice as much as a trip to the supermarket, but I can shop there knowing I'm getting what this area has to offer. If you want local products, sometimes you have to start by letting producers know there's a market. 

I'm good friends with a fishmonger, we've actually been friends since we were children. He says it is very frustrating to order his inventory because people like to think they want high quality, locally produced foods, but they're unwilling to pay the price. A couple weeks ago he couldn't stock halibut. People would come in asking for it, and he would explain that in order to sell halibut he would have to charge $24/lb. For halibut. The same is true of most locally- and semi-locally fished seafood. He could stock much more Alaskan salmon (a great deal of which comes through Seattle) but people won't buy it when Atlantic salmon costs half as much. Just ignore the sticker that says farm-raised, color added.

I think on this board, in most cases, you're preaching to the choir.

tn gabe's picture
tn gabe

...usually in moderation. sometimes, nothing beats a cheeto in my book.

i just don't think something mass manufactured in a factory in whole or in part should be labeled 'artisan'