German researchers have discovered that the crust of bread is much richer in the disease fighting compounds known as antioxidants than the bread itself. This is the first study which has shown that bread crust may actually be healthier than the inside of the bread, welcome news to those that like to use bread crusts to stuff their holiday chickens and turkeys, but not such good news to those among us who remove the crusts from the bread before they eat a sandwich.
The researchers looked for antioxidants in the crust, the baked bread, and in the flour before baking. What the scientists found was startling. Before the process of baking, there is no trace of a particular and unusual type of antioxidant known as pronyl-lysine. After baking, this compound was found as much as 8 times more abundantly in the crust as compared to the softer, inside part of the bread. Darker breads, such as pumpernickel or whole wheat also increase the total amount of antioxidants available in the end product, especially the crust. However, the researchers also discovered that overcooking of the bread reduces the amount of antioxidants and so over baking should be avoided. So all I can say is, “Eat your crust!”