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Healthy Challah

“I want to know where my bread comes from. I don’t want bread from some nameless basement bakery. I want my bread from a bakery that’s clean as my own kitchen.”

--Preface to the book, “White Bread: A Social History of the Store-Bought Loaf,” by Aaron Bobrow-Strain

This powerful consumer testimony dates back to the early 1920s, sandwiched (excuse the pun) between two drastically different eras of bread making, only 40 years apart. As the book ‘White Bread’ explains, in 1890, 90 percent of all bread made in the U.S. was baked at home, by women, as it had for millennia.  These biologically-active (read: living, fermented) breads were baked with “unstandardized ingredients and artisan labor….”

A scant 40 years later, a complete 180-degree baking transformation occurred: by 1930, 90 percent of the country’s bread was baked outside the home, by men in factories, using “standardized, homogenous, food science and assembly-line manufacturing,” says the book.

Dead Bread

European emigrants, in the 19th century,  before the white flour revolution, continued in their new American lives, to make small-batch loaves of thick, non-fluffy, dark loaves of bread. So why did these whole, nutritiously-dense breads such as pumpernickel, sourdough and rye lose favor--and flavor? Why did wheat- and white-flour breads become the staple grain?

Blame it on germs.

As advances in microbiology occurred, coming on the heels of pasteurization, the American public, particularly the middle- and upper-economic class became obsessed with killing and avoiding germs. White bread, became the norm because it was deemed healthier, free of dangerous microbes; Old World bread was associated with the squalor of poor, immigrant communities.

Seven decades after the second world war, when industrial bread production boomed, many Americans are still eating ‘dead bread.’ Industrial food production sacrificed nutrition for sanitation.

Modern Wheat and White Flour

The modern processing of wheat, the main ingredient in most challah breads, is a manufactured hybrid that contains over six times as many genes as human DNA. Most people are familiar with one major potentially-problematic protein found in wheat: gluten.

What most don’t know is that gluten is just one of thousands of proteins found in modern wheat. Old world, dense, naturally-processed and truly ‘organic’ bread contains far less genes. It lacks the puffy, gluten derivations that are partly responsible for millions of bloated bellies and gastrointestinal diseases.

Challah with Wheat Can Make You Sick, Even if you Don’t Feel Sick

Modern bread processing has caused millions of people to be intolerant, sensitive or allergic to wheat. (Read: Why is Gluten Such a Problem These Days?) Because of this, gluten-free and artisanal bread sales are in the billions.

Americans are perhaps doing another 180-degree turn, going back to eating healthier ‘Old World’ breads such as pumpernickel, fermented sourdough and rye flour (the latter of which has been scientifically proven to lower insulin response; this is better for blood sugar levels). Almond flour and coconut flour breads are also becoming more popular.

Miracle Noodle recommends as an example of healthier Old World breads, the Mestemacher brand, which is certified kosher ‘Pareve’ (neutral).

Avoid Challah with Coloring and Know Your Blessings

Don't be tricked by pumpernickel that is actually wheat disguised with molasses coloring. Look instead for 100% rye breads like Mestemacher’s kosher and organic varieties. If you recite the traditional blessing for bread (the ‘Ha-Motzi’), the same prayer for wheat challah applies to bread made with barley, rice, rye, oats and spelt.

But if you’re baking your own Challah bread using almond or coconut flour (or purchasing), you’ll want to recite the “She-Hakol” prayer, which covers anything other than wine, the above ha-motzi grains, and fruit and vegetables.

Here’s the prayer, first phonetically in Hebrew, then translated:

 Barukh atah Adonai Eloheinu Melekh ha'olam, she'hakol nih'ye bidvaro.

"Blessed are You, LORD, our God, King of the universe, through whose word everything comes into being."

Break Challah with Miracle Noodle, Save Almost 30%!

Making your own Old World challah or buying a trusted brand and breaking it with your family before serving up a veggie Miracle Noodle stir-fry and a kosher lean meat like fish makes for a very nutritious meal. Interested in saving 15% on every order of kosher-certified (Pareve) Miracle Noodle? Simply select which products you want, how often you’d like them delivered and you’ll save with our Auto Ship program. Learn more about it here.

Share the joys of eating all the kosher noodles you want without the guilt. As incentive, when you share Miracle Noodle on Facebook, Twitter or via email, and your friends click your share link, both you and your friend will receive 13% off your next order. Here’s the link:  ?saopen=share

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