Bread is a staple food in the West, and supermarkets try to keep the price as low as possible since bread is an item that is easily compared from store to store.
In the quest for lower costs, mass produced bread began to be made by a new process in 1961 known as the Chorleywood Bread Process. This revolutionised baking. A high speed mechanical mixing process was devised and this allowed reduced fermentation times. It also meant that they could now use British wheat which was cheaper than American wheat but also had a lower protein content.
They also started adding chemical stabilisers, “flavour enhancers” and antifungals as well as hydrogenated fats. All this had 1 result in mind: maximum efficiency for maximum profit.
It is almost certain that this kind of bread worse for you. As well as all the additives and fats, the short fermentation results in wheat that is actually harder to digest and there is some belief that the whole process may be behind the increase in gluten intolerance and allergy.
There has been a small consumer revolt against industrially produced bread, driven more by a desire for taste rather than plastic bread. This, of course, has been taken as an opportunity by the supermarkets to produce speciality and organic breads, but I am still dubious about their production methods. Those ‘instore bakeries’ often just take a chilled loaf and cook it rather than actually make it, and are just smaller versions of these plants.
Your own bread will taste better than anything you can buy from the supermarkets. The traditional process enables flavour to develop that is replaced with added salt and enhancers in industrial bread.
And, to be honest, you can’t beat the smell of baking bread, and it makes the whole house smell wonderful when it’s in the oven.