Bread has become an enemy in the food-scape lately. Is it really that bad? I mean, how can you deny a chewy piece of sourdough? Or a French baguette topped with a little chocolate or butter? Cibatta? Italian? Boules? Yes… I’m a bread-lover! Is our attempt to make a once carefully-made food more readily available through large scale production the root of the bread problem? Creating for quantity in the food realm leads to lowering the healthy, wholesome aspects of many foods. I cringe at the idea of a bread-less existence (especially since dairy is out of the question for me). The gluten-free alternatives simply don’t compare to real bread.
There’s a LOT to this bread story and its inciting more awareness about our food sources. I’m lucky to have access to great bakeries here in Los Angeles, like La Brea Bakery or my latest food obsession, blueberry sourdough bread from Tavern L.A. (pictured in this post). There’s probably a great bakery in your town or if you’re adventurous you can try your hand at making your own bread using the recipe below. While you’re chewing on some yummy bread, read this month’s Whole Living feature with Jack Bezian. He’s a local baker and vendor at the Santa Monica farmers’ market. Jack has a huge following even among the gluten-free community, advocating that small batch, artesian bread is safe for even the most gluten-sensitive person. Article teasers:
… there are indications that a good portion of today’s gluten sensitivities come from two big changes in the past half century: first, in how we grow and process wheat; and second, in how we turn its flour into dough.
…several studies have found that some people with gluten issues can tolerate intensely fermented wheat. [One study] found that when wheat bread was thoroughly fermented (like sourdough breads) it reduced the gluten levels from roughly 75,000 parts per million to 12 – a level that technically qualifies as gluten-free.
BASIC SOURDOUGH BREAD
Perfect for a lazy Saturday or Sunday… put on a little music and get in the kitchen. If you set timers for the intervals you can get a few things accomplished in between. Get the basic recipe perfected and play with additions to the dough in your future bread-making sessions.
- 1 cup “fed” sourdough starter (you can find this at a local bakery or purchase online)
- 1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
- 2 teaspoons instant yeast
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 5 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1) Combine all of the ingredients, kneading to form a smooth dough.
2) Allow the dough to rise, in a covered bowl, until it’s doubled in size, about 90 minutes.
3) Gently divide the dough in half; it will deflate somewhat.
4) Gently shape the dough into two oval loaves; or, for longer loaves, two 10″ to 11″ logs. Place the loaves on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Cover and let rise until very puffy, about 1 hour. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 425°F.
5) Spray the loaves with lukewarm water.
6) Make two fairly deep diagonal slashes in each; a serrated bread knife, wielded firmly, works well here.
7) Bake the bread for 25 to 30 minutes, until it’s a very deep golden brown. Remove it from the oven, and cool on a rack.
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