The most critical factor when storing bread is temperature. The plastic bag is a good barrier from soiling the bread in any way until the consumer receives it. This is mandatory to ensure that contamination through airborne microorganisms, or inappropriate treatment practices during shipping and handling are eliminated. But the plastic bag becomes a trap as well for humidity that cannot escape when the temperature rises. This can easily be observed on hot summer days, when the inside of the plastic bag will fog up almost instantly due to exposure to sunlight, or very warm temperatures. Even though the bread itself is sterile from baking on the inside, microorganisms that are present in the air are involuntarily packaged with the bread. With the high humidity that develops in the closed bag, it creates the perfect growing conditions needed for molds. The only quick remedy is to open the bag as soon as possible, to let this built up humidity escape, allowing the bread to cool off. In extreme cases, just take it out of the bag.
When you eat bread regularly twice a day, you open the bag those two times, allowing humidity not to reach a critical stage; your bread should be fine. If the bread keeps fogging up in the bag, it means that the temperature is just too warm, and you might just have to refrigerate the bread to discourage mold spores from growing. But be careful, not to fog the bag as it acclimatizes itself to the cooler temperatures of the fridge. If this is practiced conscientiously the bread will not spoil before you have had a chance to eat it.
Pre-sliced bread is a phenomenon that has it creation in the New World or North America. The triumph of machinery over physical labour was in full swing newly discovered conveniences in every aspect of living were exploited on a daily basis, as it is still today, with a new gadget of some sort in periodic intervals to simplify our lives even more.
We have avoided slicing our bread for a long time because we didn’t have the right facilities, efficient equipment to guarantee a satisfactory result without compromising shelf-life. Our sliced version comes in 525gram packages, a convenient way to enjoy sourdough bread.
It is more economic to buy a whole loaf of bread and we encourage our customers to buy un-sliced and to slice only as demand requires at home, since contamination of the inside of the bread is guaranteed whenever you pre-slice the bread without taking precautionary measurements. Remember that the bread comes sterile out of the oven and the air contaminates it as it is opened to the atmosphere by slicing. So only slice as much as you will eat at a time and use a sharp knife that is especially made for slicing bread. A wavy or serrated knife works well and the longer it is the more of a sawing nature of slicing you can perform, which helps in consistency and ease of cutting.
The sourdough in our bread acts as our natural preservative for our breads, and when we pre-slice our bread we do it in as sterile an environment as possible to avoid air contamination without having to resort to unnatural preservatives.
Our bread freezes exceptionally well, which gives you the option to freeze part of the bread for later on, especially if you are by yourself, and it takes too long for you to eat a loaf of bread before it spoils. The option of slicing the bread before you freeze it is a viable alternative. This way it allows you to thaw the exact amount of slices you will consume during the day, and spoilage is reduced to virtually none. Since you freeze the bread as soon as you sliced it no harmful bacteria will grow and it will just be as fresh and delicious as before you froze the bread. Another option available if you are by yourself, is to freeze half a loaf when you buy it, and thaw it as needed later on. Quickly reheating it in an oven will bring back and ensure that crispy, freshly baked sourdough taste.
Our breads are easily rejuvenated, meaning you can shortly re-bake the bread in your oven. This renews the flavor of freshly baked bread. This essentially kills any microorganisms, in effect, sterilizing the bread again.
All of our wheat-based breads lend themselves quite nicely for being toasted. It gives you a great breakfast treat, a flavor in crust and crumb that defines description. Our breads are also great un-toasted if you prefer it this way, but a lightly toasted slice should be tried by all, at one time or another.
No sourdough bread is free of yeast. The yeast is a natural microorganism present, and is needed to leaven the bread, may they be wild yeasts or baker's yeast. The only way to bake yeast-free bread is with baking power, which is actually a chemical way of leavening otherwise it is impossible.
One common advertisement trap is that the bag will say, "Yeast-free bread, made with sourdough" which causes some people to assume that there is no yeast involved. This is wrong, every sourdough culture has two major microscopic components: bacterial and yeast cultures.
In practical application terms, the yeast used to leaven breads is killed when the inside temperature of the bread reaches about 65 degrees Celsius. A fair question is to ask, "Are you allergic to dead yeast?" This might be a question you have to ask your doctor for, in order to get an answer.
Seed & Grains
Until we learned how to grind grains and make flour, and eventually use these to bake breads, we lived on wholegrain seeds as we found them in Nature. The forerunners of bread was a kind of porridge that eventually led to fermented bread, baked in the sun, and later in the first, crudely built ovens.
Through natural selection we developed better qualities of grains, which were more suitable for baking bread. Stone mills were invented which led to the modern roller mills. In stone mills you cannot separate the germ (life force) from the rest of the kernel, but with the new modern mills that became possible in the late 1800's. This eliminated the germ from our flour from that time on; this allowed us to store the flour for extended periods of time. The drawback is that important, essential properties of the germ are lost through that process. With the highly refined flours that we commonly eat today, most of us are not used to digesting heavy fiber and germ incorporated breads.
The modern day roller mills initially break up the whole kernel, and the germ is lightly squeezed, so that its content is not damaged as such. This helps keep the fats from oxidizing (going rancid). After the germ is expelled, the actual process of making flour then commences.
We like to strike a balance between ancient and modern practices. The flours are selected so that our digestive system is not overburdened by fiber, but it still contains enough of its beneficial role that all health conscious people appreciate. Seeds are added for additional nutritional benefits (trace minerals, etc.), especially whole flax seed. The seeds that are chewed release their beneficial properties (Omega 3 acids), and the whole seeds aid our digestive tract, and also aids in regulating our bowel movements.
Gluten Allergies (Celiac Disease)
This is a very serious disease, which affects 1 out of every 2000 Canadians. We presently don't make any bread that is gluten free. Studies have shown that certain bacteria found in sourdough cultures can greatly decrease the gluten characteristics found in bread. The bacteria seem to pre-digests the gluten, making it less irritating. Special starter cultures have been developed in laboratories but it is not the final answer because of the sensitivity of people that have this disease. Only very small quantities of gluten can trigger a reaction and symptoms. This shows in my opinion that baking with a good sourdough culture is a good preventive measure, but not a cure. High gluten flours should be avoided at all cost; this can pre-dispose you to the disease. There are many types of bread that contain high gluten flours, especially in breads with sprouted grains. This is required because you do not otherwise have a structure that will facilitate the bread to rise properly. This is true in modern "high rise" puff breads. Avoid breads like these; the sprouts may be good for you, but the unnatural flour is a burden for your digestive system.