How Some Grocery Store Bakeries Are Scamming You

There is something about the scent of freshly baked breads, cakes, and cookies that can only be described as both tantalizing and comforting. But those scents are also meant to activate your salivary glands, making you want to spend more, says Sara Lundberg who wrote a book on cutting your grocery bill. Lundberg says the grocery store bakery is one of two displays (the other is the flower department) with high-margin items that put shoppers in a good mood. And while the bakery section smells amazing, there are more than a few reasons to give that part of the supermarket a hard pass (via Today). 

What you think is fresh bread and pastry could have been made with dough that is, in fact, far from it. A Costco baker on Reddit dishes that our favorite warehouse store uses three types of breads and pastries: frozen, which include bagels, baguettes, and croissants; from scratch, which includes multigrain breads, country french breads, rosemary breads, garlic breads, cranberry breads, and granola nut breads, and items made from a premade bag mix that are just baked in store, which includes dinner rolls and muffins. 

American supermarkets aren't the only ones using premade frozen dough

The problem is also prevalent across the pond in Britain, where Andrew Whitley, founder of the Real Bread Campaign tells Deadline News, "The impression of an in store bakery is that it's all freshly baked. It's a con trick because the reality is that a lot of it has been frozen." Bakers in the UK also say British supermarkets often go around this and make "sourdough" loaves made with additives and yeast. Traditional breads take just two ingredients: a sourdough starter and flour; they can be time consuming and as British baker Alice Drake tells The Telegraph. "A true sourdough is a natural bread that requires highly skilled bakers to make, its long fermentation time of often 24 hours gives it its unique tangy taste and makes it easier to digest. Baker's yeast or additives should never be used. A loaf not using the proper method that calls itself sourdough is highly misleading," she explained.

While we're not against the idea of eating previously frozen breads and cookies, it might be good for us to be aware that "freshly baked bread" doesn't exactly mean what we think it does. If we're buying supermarket pastries because we think they'd be as good as the ones we had when we were growing up, we should be putting that thought aside, and maybe heading for boxes of pre-made mix in the baking section instead. There's really no point in paying more for something you could've just defrosted yourself, right?