This section is from the book "The Relation Of Food To Health And Premature Death", by Geo. H. Townsend, Felix J. Levy, Geo. Clinton Crandall. Also available from Amazon: Clean Food: A Seasonal Guide to Eating Close to the Source with More Than 200 Recipes for a Healthy and Sustainable You.
"Well, bread may be very easily dissolved in the stomach, or may be very difficult. It depends upon its physical properties. If it be solid or sticky, it does not dissolve readily."
"Then, that would include pancakes."
"Yes, pancakes, dumplings, potpie, most pastry and all poorly baked bread. Any bread that will adhere together upon being pressed, forming a solid, doughy lump, is not easily digested and is a source of many disorders of the stomach."
"The wholesomeness of bread does not depend upon whether it is hot or cold. The objection to hot bread is that as a rule it contains more moisture, and is therefore much more doughy. Its particles do not separate so readily when put in the mouth. For this reason there is a tendency, almost universal, to swallow such bread in sticky lumps, and of course the particles do not separate easily when they reach the stomach. This causes them to be retained in the stomach so long that fermentation is set up. If bread not made with yeast is sufficiently well baked, there can be no objection to it merely because it is hot; but in yeast bread, unless very thoroughly baked, the ferment does not leave the loaf until six or eight hours after baking. Biscuit should be thin and baked until its particles will not stick together when mashed."
"Cake contains very wholesome ingredients, but made well nigh indigestible by cooking. Rich cakes might aptly be described as butter, sugar and eggs, stuck together with a little flour. The general objection is that there is an excessive amount of shortening which prevents the digestion of the flour, and this is especially true if the shortening be butter, because the amount of heat applied in baking cake changes the chemical nature of butter, and makes it very bad for people who have any form of dyspepsia. There are still other objections: Heat coagulates any kind of albumen (by coagulation we mean condensing or hardening), and the time required for baking cake necessarily so thoroughly toughens the egg it contains as to make it quite indigestible."
"It May Sour All That Is Eaten With It."
"No; doughnuts are as indigestible as cake, for the same reasons; but cookies are less objectionable than ordinary cake, because they are not so rich; but fritters are probably the most indigestible of all cakes."
"Many kinds of light bread take their name from the flour used and the methods of making light or spongy. Yeast bread is most usually made of fine white flour, i. e.. flour made with bran and middlings bolted out,"
"Doctor, from what you say, I conclude that flour or wheat foods are all good."
"If not spoiled by the cook. It has been already mentioned that bread is often unfit to eat."
"Yes, there are several faults common to ordinary bread making."
"Too much yeast is used, and too long fermentation allowed. The more quickly bread can be fermented the more wholesome it will be, and if fermentation be too great, part of it is changed into acetic and lactic acid. Bread is sometimes less wholesome because of ingredients other than flour, which are added for various purposes. Potatoes are often used, so that the bread will absorb a large amount of water, making a heavy loaf with a small amount of flour. Alum is frequently used in bread to whiten it, and as it is an astringent mineral, likely to do injury, no one should eat bread containing it. Another extremely objectionable thing common to baker's bread is the unwholesome places in which it is made. No language of condemnation can be too strong to apply to the foul bakeries located in cellars and infested with rats, roaches, flies, vermin, bad air from foul closets, and operated by an unclean baker. The health officers of every city should see that all bakeries are kept in a sanitary condition."
'that is very difficult, Some flours require more kneading than others. Then, again, atmospheric conditions have something to do with it. Bread making requires care, and this is most likely the reason why so few bakers or cooks become good bread makers."
"The principal reason is that in fresh bread the particles adhere together in eating, so that it forms a large bolus, which is not easily dissolved by the gastric juice-."
Doctor, toast is nearly always used for the sick, and probably has been so used for several generations.
"It is both, but it is doubtful whether the reason is understood."
"Then, the fact that it is beneficial is only accidental, but the reason will be none the less interesting."
"It is very well known that dry charcoal will sweeten almost anything with which it is brought in contact - its disinfecting uses apply to the stomach the same as to other things. Now, toasting bread chars a certain amount of it, and it is therefore to that extent a disinfectant or sweetener, but the most important change is a chemical one, caused by the application of intense heat in toasting. Bread, when toasted, is changed to what the chemists call dextrine, which is part of the change that takes place in digestion, so that toasting bread partly digests it and makes it a more suitable food for those who are sick. It might also be added that the flavor of toasted bread is often very agreeable and useful on that account."
"There are no objections, other than the manner in which it is done. To get good results the slices should be cut thin and heat enough applied to drive all the moisture out of it. The heat should be applied slowly at first, and then finished at an intense heat. A good way is to put the slices of bread in an oven, and then only partly close the oven door. When bread is moderately dry it should be taken out and toasted. If the slices are cut thick and only toasted a little on the outside, the moisture in the bread is merely driven to the centre of the slice, making it much like dough and wholly unfit for the uses usually desired. For this reason toast, if not properly made, may be injurious instead of beneficial; and it should be borne in mind that bread should never be buttered before toasting, as butter melted by fire is chemically changed and injurious to the stomach."