What’s in that supermarket sourdough?

When you purchase a loaf of sourdough bread at the grocery store, are you sure that is actually what you are getting? It might be labeled as sourdough, but apparently that may be a misnomer, at least according to the folks at the Real Bread Campaign. They have been campaigning to get major retailers such as Lidl to rename their breads after exposing the fact that the loaves were made with baker’s yeast and often contained additional ingredients that should not be found in this type of bread.

Naturally leavened sourdough bread from King Arthur Baking

This isn’t the first time that supermarket “sourdough” breads have been challenged. Nor is it the only scandal in mass produced bread. The Real Bread Campaign has raised alarms about the problem for years, noting that the public were being misled by the labels on commercially-produced loaves that could have as many as 15 ingredients. They are not alone; the forums at sourdough.com were discussing this issue as far back as 2008.

In other bread news, Canada Bread paid a $50mil fine earlier this year for its role in a price-fixing scheme that dates to 2015. The bread market is a multi-billion dollar industry so there is plenty of incentive for companies to participate in fraudulent schemes. One way to avoid the issue of “sourfaux” is, of course, to make your own sourdough bread. However, some of us are serial murderers of sourdough cultures so we have to rely on others to make the bread. Seeking out an independent, local bakery is more likely to yield true sourdough bread, but even some “craft” bakeries are resorting to tricks like chemical souring agents so caveat emptor.

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  • adelina  on  December 7, 2023

    This is why I started making bread at home… It’s getting harder and harder to trust ingredients from the supermarket shelves.

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