Are we really going to do this? Again….
A while back, we read Michael Pollan’s brilliant book Cooked and cannot stop thinking about the sections on fermentation.
As a means of processing a raw foodstuff, a sourdough fermentation is a wonder of nature and culture, an example of an ancient vernacular “technology” the ingenuity of which science is just now coming to appreciate. “You could not survive on wheat flour,” Bruce German, the food chemist at UC Davis, told me, “but you can survive on bread.” The reason you can is largely due to the work of these microbes going about their unseen lives. And though modern food science can simulate many of their effects in commercial bread production, by using commercial yeasts and other leavening agents, sweeteners, preservatives, and dough conditioners, it still can’t do everything a sourdough culture can do to render grass seeds nourishing to humans.
Sourdough fermentation also partially breaks down gluten, making it easier to digest and, according to some recent research from Italy (a nation of wheat eaters with high rates of celiac disease and gluten intolerance), destroying at least some of the peptides thought to be responsible for gluten intolerance. Some researchers attribute the increase in gluten intolerance and celiac disease to the fact that modern breads no longer receive a lengthy fermentation.
– Michael Pollan, Cooked, p202-203
But as excited as we were about it, I couldn’t quite bring myself to introduce another pet into the kitchen. Until I read Jane Mason’s cookbook, “All You Knead is Bread”…. (continue reading )