The current situation with bread is certainly not good. Throughout my life I have been aware of the stark differences in approach, methods, attitudes, and understanding about bread in America and Germany. Some of my earliest and best memories from childhood include the taste, smell, texture and sound of eating German broetchen. Beyond the small individual loaves were in every town and village bakery an impressive variety of fresh baked breads in styles to suit everyone’s taste. And why not? Isn’t bread one of the most basic and consistent inclusions of human civilizations?
Bread is found in some form among every population on Earth and in every human age. Far from being a new development, bread has been an essential element of life for thousands of years. Yet here we are in America buying bland insubstantial sponge bread in plastic sacks. I understand that there are bakeries where bread traditions are respected. The problem is that here they are considered trendy, unique, niche, or some other word that equates to prohibitively expensive. That is the exact opposite of what bread should be. Bread, cheese, and beer all suffer under the same affliction. Mass production has turned what should be craft work into junk. What should be local, fresh, and vibrant for everyone has become trendy, exclusive, and elite.
I don’t expect the situation to change much, at least not very quickly. But to help the circumstances change be sure to talk to people about your bread preferences. Do buy from bakeries or groceries where you find what pleases you. Bring small pleasures like quality bread back into your life where and when you can.