Sliced bread was first introduced into the market in 1928. The bread slicing machine, created by Frederick Rohwedder in Missouri, was touted the greatest step forward in the baking industry since bread was wrapped. Although received with a lot of skepticism at first, sliced bread soon became so popular that it’s ban during World War II as a wartime measure created a nation wide crisis. The ban was lifted within two short months and herald in the New York Times with the headline “Sliced Bread Put Back on Sale; Housewives’ Thumbs Safe Again”.
Bread slicing machines were introduced as solution to the changing appearance and texture of packaged bread. Factories had begun designing loaves that were softer than those prepared at home or in smaller bakeries because the common public had begun to equate “squeezable softness” with freshness. Due to this, the loaves were almost impossible to slice neatly at home. In the pre preservative era, sliced bread would go stale faster than intact loaves. As a solution to this Rohwedder created U-shaped pins to hold the loaf together, thus making it appear whole inside the packaging.
Sliced bread has evolved in numerous ways since it’s invention. Bread makers devised newer ways of making bread, using lower protein wheat, an assortment of additives and high speed mixing. A process nowadays also known as “activated dough development”. As a result, we have wide variety of loaves to choose from; whole wheat, multi grain, zero trans fat, sugar free, etc. Differing greatly in nutritional benefits and mentioned ingredients, all these loaves look, taste and feel more or less the same. Modern bread today can be described as a technological marvel that combines production efficiency with low costs and standardised flavour.
Some of the most common additives found in modern day sliced bread are:
Potassium Bromate, Bleach, Calcium Propionate, L-ascorbic Acid (E 300), L-cysteine hydrochloride (E920) & E322 Lecithin.