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A Chemical In Your Bread May Contain Azodicarbonamide (ADA)

Many Americans enjoy consuming bread, but the shift from traditional home-baked bread to store-bought varieties has introduced a range of ingredients that many consumers might need to be aware of. Despite the convenience of pre-packaged bread, not all consumers take the time to read and understand the ingredients listed on the labels. This lack of awareness is significant because some of the additives and preservatives used in American bread are banned in other countries due to health concerns.

For instance, azodicarbonamide (ADA), a dough conditioner and whitening agent, is banned in Europe and several other countries due to serious health concerns. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and other regulatory bodies have flagged potential health risks, including respiratory issues and carcinogenic properties, associated with such additives. 

Potassium bromate, another additive used to strengthen dough and enhance its rise, is banned in many countries, including Canada, the United Kingdom, and the European Union.

It's important to note that while the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) permits the use of additives like potassium bromate, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has classified it as a possible human carcinogen. This difference in regulatory standards has led to some American bread products being unacceptable for import in various countries, highlighting the contrast in food safety regulations. 

Azodicarbonamide (ADA) is often called the "yoga mat" chemical because it is widely used in manufacturing plastic and rubber products, including yoga mats and flip-flops. In these applications, ADA acts as a blowing agent, helping to create tiny bubbles within the material, which makes it lighter, spongier, and more flexible. This function is humorously likened to how champagne bubbles aerate the liquid, hence the comparison by scientists at the Environmental Working Group (EWG)​ .

The primary use of ADA in industrial products highlights its effectiveness in creating the desired texture and elasticity in items like yoga mats, where a soft and stretchy feel is essential. This use of ADA in non-food products has contributed to the public perception and concern when the chemical is also found in food items, leading to its nickname and further scrutiny regarding its safety.

Making bread from scratch is not just a healthier alternative, it's a way to take control of what you eat. You get to choose the ingredients and avoid unnecessary additives. Here are the basic steps to bake simple homemade bread:


  • 4 cups of flour (whole wheat or all-purpose)

  • 1 1/2 cups of warm water

  • 2 teaspoons of salt

  • 2 teaspoons of active dry yeast

  • 2 tablespoons of sugar or honey (optional, for a touch of sweetness)

  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil or melted butter (optional, for added flavor and texture)


Activate the Yeast:

  • In a small bowl, mix warm water and sugar/honey until dissolved.

  • Sprinkle the yeast over the water and let it sit for about 5-10 minutes until it becomes frothy. Mix the Ingredients:

  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour and salt.

  • Create a well in the center and pour in the yeast mixture and olive oil/melted butter.

  • Mix until the ingredients come together to form a dough. Knead the Dough:

  • Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface.

  • Knead the dough for about 10 minutes until it becomes smooth and elastic. Add flour as needed to prevent sticking. First Rise:

  • Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, turning it to coat all sides with oil.

  • Cover the bowl with a damp cloth or plastic wrap.

  • Let the dough rise in a warm, draft-free place for about 1-2 hours, or until it has doubled in size. Shape the Dough:

  • Punch down the risen dough to release the air.

  • Transfer it to a floured surface and shape it into a loaf or divide it into rolls. Second Rise:

  • Place the shaped dough into a greased loaf pan or on a baking sheet for rolls.

  • Cover and let it rise again for about 30-60 minutes until it has doubled in size. Bake:

  • Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C).

  • Bake the bread for 25-30 minutes, or until it sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom and has a golden-brown crust. Cool:

  • Remove the bread from the oven and let it cool on a wire rack before slicing.


  • Healthier Ingredients: Homemade bread uses fewer preservatives and additives compared to store-bought bread.

  • Customization: You can add seeds, nuts, or whole grains for extra nutrition.

  • Cost-Effective: Making bread at home can be more economical than buying specialty loaves.

Taking the time to bake bread from scratch can enhance the health and well-being of your family by ensuring that the bread you consume is free from harmful additives and preservatives. Enjoy the process and the wholesome results!

References and Citations

  • "Everything about Azodicarbonamide: Uses, Safety, Side effects." Food Additives, accessed July 6, 2024. Link

  • "The Controversy Surrounding Azodicarbonamide in Bread." Cell Health News, accessed July 6, 2024. Link

  • "Why Arby's Sourdough Bread Is Banned In Europe." The Takeout, accessed July 6, 2024. Link

  • (Cell Health News)​​ (The Takeout)​​ (FOODADDITIVES)​.


  1. Making Bread from Scratch - King Arthur Baking

  2. Homemade Bread Recipe - Sally's Baking Addiction

  3. Simple Homemade Bread - BBC Good Food

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