Thursday, November 18, 2010

Bread. Good.

This week I finally made some whole wheat bread that tasted like real bread. OK, so the loaf spread out instead of up, but it had a really nice taste. Even Cheryl ate some, and she is a tough sell when it comes to food.

During the process we discovered that our oven wasn't cooking as hot as we thought--the bread recipe called for 450 degrees, but the oven thermometer I bought (actually I bought two of them) showed that the temperature was only 375. (I found out how to calibrate it.)

My new bread book (thanks again, Gisah) describes how whole wheat flour contains the whole grain (gluten, germ and bran), while white flour has the nutritious germ and bran removed. The rise of popularity of the high-carbohydrate white flour (and the emergence of pretend foods like Wonder Bread and Twinkies) can be traced back nearly 100 years and to a simple fact: while flour has a longer shelf life than whole wheat, especially when certain chemical enzymes are added.

Like with countless other examples, our current food culture is the direct result of the corporate control of all food. Since white bread can be transported greater distances before it goes stale, it can be baked in a few big corporate bakeries instead of several local bakeries. Corporations can kiss my butt. (Oh, wait. I am one.)

White flour also puffs up like a balloon (this is because the gluten helps trap the gases created by yeast). Whole wheat flour is notoriously difficult to transform into a light loaf of bread, and I've had one failure after another, untl now.

So I'm really happy to have a decent whole wheat loaf. In this approach I put an iron skillet in the bottom of the oven to get hot, and then pour in some water when then bread goes it, creating some steam.

I'm trying again this weekend.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Fred- glad you are trying out the bread! I really enjoy baking bread at home and it's our everyday breakfast food. Wow, your oven was way off! I would love to have a brick oven outside guys have plenty of room for it and I've seen kits (or just the plan) that you can buy.
    Enjoy the bread making!