Sweet and whiter-than-white, standard bagels are tempting as a base for a quick lunch but, New York-style or not, they don’t pack much nutrition. Some versions contain nearly a gram of salt per bagel, and more than 5g of sugars.
What really gets craft bakers bashing the dough is that some are sold as “sourdough” when they contain plenty of regular yeast, meaning they won’t have many of the sourdough benefits.
Baguettes or batons
Many supermarket baguettes and batons have around 8 per cent of your daily salt quota in one 50g slice and a 1:20 fibre/carbohydraye tration, so they are bound to spike your glucose levels. That said, a high crust-to-crumb ratio may help level things out a bit, as the crust is digested more slowly as well as containing higher levels of antioxidants.
Brioche is bread enriched with egg, sugar and, traditionally, butter, but some high street versions are made with less delicious sounding palm fat and milk proteins instead. One blurb suggests using slices for ham and cheese sandwiches – but with 13.8g sugars and 1g salt and only 1.7g fibre per 100g, brioche is not for everyday. Treat it like cake instead.
Mass-produced sliced white
None of the standard supermarket sliced whites are very wholesome; one I found contained palm oil, calcium propionate, diacetyl tartaric acid esters of mono- and diglycerides of fatty acids, and ascorbic acid. Some deliver more salt per slice than a bag of ready-salted crisps (0.36g) and only a 1:20 fibre to carb ratio. And remember that thick-sliced “toasties” mean bigger slices, so even more salt – some up to 0.45g per slice.
These might sell themselves as low-calorie – and it’s true that in some cases there are only 63 calories a slice, around 75 per cent of regular bread. But they’re often so light that most people end up having a second piece, and they can be guilty of low fibre to carb levels at 1:22. Ingredients might include sugar in the form of dextrose, and a roster of emulsifiers and treatment agents.
Those long-life packs of rolls can be a good store-cupboard standby – hot from the oven with fat wodges of butter, I can easily put away a couple before the soup arrives. It’s not something to make a habit of though, as some rolls deliver a startling 1.1g salt – nearly as much as three bags of crisps – and a fibre to carb ratio that’s rock bottom at 1:35. On the upside, they might contain fewer additives than some of the sliced loaves.