What Henry Ford did for cars, the Chorleywood Flour Milling and Bakery Research Association laboratories did for bread in 1961: Hard fats, extra yeast, a very fast trip through the mixer, and a few chemicals yielded a soft, uniform sandwich loaf with twice the shelf life of traditional bread—and all in a fraction of the time (and at a fraction of the cost) it used to take to get a dough ready for baking. The Chorleywood Bread Process revolutionized the way bread was made in Britain, and now more than 80% of all loaves in the country are made that way. But the über-processed bread is increasingly coming under fire from artisan bakers, the BBC reports.
The process was invented as a way to help small bakeries compete with industrial bakers. But ironically, as industrial bakeries adopted the process, it ended up helping to put thousands of small bakers out of business—and, say critics, it’s not even that good. "This stuff is like cotton wool … Modern bread doesn't taste of bread," says a former industrial baker. "If it's not allowed to rise and prove naturally then it doesn't develop the proper taste." And it may also have health consequences: Bread baked the Chorleywood way has double the yeast of normal bread, and some suspect the added enzymes and chemicals may have something to do with the rise of wheat allergies and intolerance. (Read more white bread stories.)