Wednesday, December 15

bread matters

When a healthy regime involves cutting out bread,... isn't that a clue that things have gone wrong somewhere. Just discovering this guy Andrew Whitley who in addition to having been a successful commercial/small/organic baker (further reading) actively pushes for Better Bread and offers various courses at his center in the Scottish Borders.

Whitley's book Bread Matters discusses bread history in Britain but also is a guide to home baking. A 10e reader whose father was a baker, took a course up there recently and was, if not transformed, at least confirmed in his zeal to take back bread.

All is not well in British baking. Commercial bread is laced with additives to make it look good and stay soft. It uses varieties of wheat that have been bred for high yield and baking performance with little concern for human nutrition. To rush it through the bakery at the lowest possible cost, it's dosed with four times as much yeast as before. Described as 'fresh' when it may have been frozen and re-heated, it's sold as a loss-leader at knock-down prices which undermine what little respect it may once have commanded.
-via Bread Matters
The video below is a talk from 2008 (the Do Lectures sponsored by Howies, have mentioned them before) where Whitley keeps to the agri-business and health side of bread. Talk quietly and carry a well-researched-stick sort of stuff. No fireworks, but be assured you won't look at a crappy sandwich roll the same way again. Explanation of why fermentation should/must be allowed more than ZERO time, what enzymes do, outing of non-labelled additives, etc. Also some practical ideas like a national "get out that bread machine" day, as well as some more militant stuff if you are into that. Approx 45 minutes.

More? See this older Guardian article about it all, including Whitely's basic bread recipe.