Sweet mama, that is probably the longest ingredient list for a bread I've ever seen!! And regardless of what the article tells, it should be obvious you don't need all that crap in your bread.
doesn't necessarily equal "evil chemicals" laden :)
If you look at Nature’s Own Honey Wheat Bread's label more closely, you'd realize that the main ingredients are only water, flour and sweetener. The bread also contains trace amount of vinegar, salt, yeast, ascorbic acid (vitamin C) and enzymes. So far, nothing sounds too evil, right? I know there are controversies about the about the health risks of omega-6 rich oils (like soybean oil) but at less than 2% of the bread, I doubt it could cause any damage to our body. Moreover, ingredients with scary-sounding chemical names are often safe bread improvers that hardly harm our health. For example, soy lecithin is an emulsifier that improves bread texture and calcium carbonate is a nutrient source for both the yeast and the consumers.
Please don't feel offended. I totally respect your opinion towards long ingredient lists. As a SD home baker, I find industrial bread far inferior in taste and nutrient. In my humble opinion, rushing the fermentation and using ingredients of lesser quality and freshness are the main issues.
Don't worry, no offense taken ;)
I know more ingredients doesn't mean bad (panettone has a lot of ingredients), and I know those chemicals are harmless in those doses. Some of them are even totally fine (like lecithins, as you said).It's more a matter of principle. Knowing what little it takes to make great bread (and other homemade food), it's just mind-boggling that they use more ingredients, even though the result is just bad.
The main problem with most commercial bread is the low or no fiber. and the attending elevated glycemic index. If someone still gets plenty of fruit/veg, and is moderate on fiberless bread, that's not a problem unless they are also pre-diabetic or diabetic.
But American, or first world, diets are too grain heavy or carb heavy for the average amount of physical exertion we do. Add in the absence of sufficent fiber in most diets, and you eventually get things such as "metabolic syndrome".
Fat, sugar, and salt: It's whats for dinner... and breakfast, and lunch, and snacks.
Carbs are just sugar/glucose, in the long run, but when we eat them attached to sufficient fiber, it lowers the glycemic index, digestion rate, absorption rate, etc., and makes you feel fuller on less calories.
I liken the resurgence of craft/artisan baking to the resurgence of craft/artisan beer brewing. The popularity started among home bakers/brewers, word got out, and now there are more commercial artisan bakeries and breweries. Artisan breweries are way ahead. A Few dozen craft breweries here in Indinapolis, maybe fewer now, as the market is consolidating. But only one, maybe two, well known artisan _bread_ bakeries. Amelia's is my favorite.
But even Amelia's does few/rare 100% whole grain loaves. 100% whole grain, even 75% whole grain, is just not what the bread-eating public wants! A business can not make a profit on it, yet. I think Amelia's does at most a 50% "country loaf."
So it's kind of up to "us", to make great 75% to 100% whole grain loaves, turn our friends on to it, like home-brewers did to their friends with craft beer, and when enough of the public asks Amelia's to make 75%-100% whole grain loaves... they will! When capitalists, investors, or business people see an un-met need or demand, they smell... opportunity !
I think whole grain really goes hand in hand with sourdough. It's really hard to find what I would consider a tasty loaf of yeasted whole grain bread.
A quick comment on dough softeners/enhancers. I tried some commercial stuff, then decided since I couldn't find it in this area I'd make up my own. My bread is so nice and soft, but nowhere near the texture or anything else that store bread has. I have no desire to emulate/copy a loaf of Colonial. I use it in almost all of my breads now. Rye, white, wheat.......in my cinnamon rolls too. Hope that doesn't make me a "bad baker".