Monday, May 18, 2009

The Secrets of Bread... shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

Adapted from an article written by Julius Petz.

Truly delicious bread is a rare commodity. Getting the crust crisp and maintaining that soft and dainty center is a difficult artform. My company seeks out local BC sources like Limbert Farm in Agassiz and True Grain Breads on Vancouver Island that make outstanding bread. Bakers like these understand the history of this ancient food source.

Wheat has been part of our society for thousands of years, initially transforming our culture from one of the hunter/gatherer to farmer. Initially grains were eaten raw and although nutritious could not have been very enjoyable to eat. However the advent of weaving made the milling of wheat possible. Milling and baking, then as now, were ways to make the eating of grains a more enticing, tasty experience.
With the steel rolling process, grain is chopped up and the nutrient-rich bran and germ are discarded. When stone milling is used instead, it peels grains in a rolling motion and wraps everything up into the resulting flour. This not only results in healthier flour with a distinctly different taste, but has the added benefit for bakers of giving the dough more stretch due to the intact gluten. Several local BC bakers have embraced the process of stone milling in their pursuit of the highest quality organic and handcrafted bread, and these same bakers also pay careful attention to what goes into their finished product. This includes such measures as using certified organic ingredients, buying local, and finding the best wheat for flour. The most common types of wheat used for bread today are hard red winter wheat, hard spring red wheat, soft red winter wheat and hard white winter wheat. True Grain Bread on Vancouver Island dug deep and found another option: Red Fife wheat, heritage wheat with exceptional flavor and baking properties that was saved from extinction by a handful of dedicated growers.

Swallow Tail Tours, my tour business, does extensive research into finding bakeries that takes such measures and really care about the bread they kneed. The mouthwatering result is well worth the effort.


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