Is Bread Toast?

When Dave Schaps took over the Great Harvest Bread franchise in Evanston, Ill., in 2002, carbs were comfort food. Hunkering down with a thick-crusted, aromatic loaf somehow made Americans feel safer at home in the months after the 9/11 attacks. Today bread is bad, and it is the beleaguered baker who is seeking solace, both emotionally and economically. "We've just added soup and cookies. You have to diversify to keep the doors open," says Schaps, noting that bread sales fell 10% last year.

Most bakers, a proud, artisanal group, lambaste the anticarb crusade as a much hyped fad akin to the...

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