January is National Wheat Bread Month!

Hi Everyone!

In just a few days, we will begin celebrating our entrance into 2014! I imagine the next year to be full of wonderful things, great and small for everyone.  2013 seemed to be a rough one for many people, so let’s embrace the fresh start that we are about to receive in the new year …The future is BRIGHT!

And it just so happens that National Wheat Bread month is in January! I deem it my job to keep you all up to speed with the healthier side of wheat, and so I will start off by giving a list of fantastic, organic, hybridized free bakeries across California, that I know and love. I plan on finding a national directory, and maybe even international, so please be patient with me as I continue my search! My hope is that you are able to locate one in your area and go check it out.  Maybe one day we will all decide to only go to these local bakeries/bread makers and we will begin to have a greater appreciation for the healthier side of bread.  Not only for ourselves, but for our family and friends!

If making your own bread isn’t a viable or time-honoring option, here are several bakers that I know and love in California area:

1.  Jack Bezian of Bezian Breads in Los Angeles, http://www.bezianbakery.com/

2. Red Bread in Los Angeles, http://www.thebreadisred.com/

3. Grist and Toll — opening soon in Pasadena, http://gristandtoll.com/

4. Wild Flour Bread in Freestone, http://www.wildflourbread.com/

5. Morel’s Bread in Berkeley, http://www.morellsbread.com/Morells_Bread/Home.html

6. Acme Bread in San Francisco, http://acmebread.com/

7. A guide to eating well in CA — bakeries start on page 3, http://www.eatwellguide.org/localguides/ca_2_guide.pdf

Hope this helps! May you all have a happy and healthy New Year!!

Love,

Mary

Image

This is a mouthful of a bread: Ready…Carrot Apple Kale Ginger Raisin Walnut Whole Wheat bread.  Phew! I did it!

Advertisements

Do You Believe in Bread Miracles?

It’s almost Christmas.  And it is around this time that I am continuously reminded of what I am most grateful for.  And beyond the obvious — my life, my wonderful husband, my family, my dog — I am also most thankful for a little bread company called Bezian Bread. I discovered Jack Bezian when I came back from France.  I was spending any and all free hours I had sitting at my computer, typing away, trying to locate a bread maker similar to those in the French countryside.  Similar in that I could eat bread that actually had gluten in it, and not get sick.  I was unconvinced that it was even possible in this country, until I discovered Bezian Breads.

To me, it was like finding the Holy Grail.

So what is so special about Jack’s bread?  Well, like I have mentioned before in other posts, his breads undergo a long fermentation process.  Sometimes he lets them go for up to a month.  This puts sourdough on a whole other level.  His main argument is that the longer the fermentation process, the healthier the bread.  Sounds too good to be true.  Bread that is actually healthy for you?  But wait a minute! A lot of people says that gluten is bad; that carbs are the enemy; that they slow down the brain function and can make you fat!

Not so, says Jack.  And I agree.  I have been eating his bread now for about 3 months, and I can attest to the richness of the sourdough.  I know that each and every loaf is chock-full of healthy probiotics, that my belly is being healed just by eating a slice (or 4) a day! When I was gluten free, I wasn’t getting enough nutrients from the GF breads or carbs I was eating…my hair was falling out, I was too thin, I did not have sustainable energy like I do now.  I was experiencing the first signs of malnutrition and I made a conscious decision that in order to prevent osteoporosis or other chronic diseases, I had to get to the bottom of it. I hesitated at first, just like I did in France.  I took a small bite and waited for the belly pain to start.  But I was optimistic because I read so many testimonials from other people who also have a gluten intolerance and were able to eat this bread.  I am telling you, it is a bread miracle! There are nearly 20 million people in this country with a gluten/wheat allergy/intolerance and someone has to get to the bottom of it!

So, where can you find this delicious bread?  Farmer’s Markets in Pasadena, Hollywood, and Santa Monica only.  Jack has been making bread since the 60’s and it is through the markets of Southern California that he shares his knowledge and his hearty bread. So if you don’t live in the area, I suggest making friends with someone who does, and have them ship it to you.  Sounds daunting and a little bit tedious, but trust me, it is worth it.  Most people stock up since they cannot get it on a daily basis. Lord knows I do not have time to make my own bread every day, so Jack’s bread is a helpful addition to my weekly staple!

So — how does it all work?  Simply put — the longer the fermentation process, the less overall gluten, and the more healthy bacteria (or lactobacillus in this case) for the gut.  And the process yields all kinds of great nutrients — it becomes rich in B vitamins, fatty acids, minerals, and vitamins C and E.  And it is because of the fatty acid strains, that these nutrients become bioavailable (making the body capable of synthesizing the healthy benefits).  This bread is medicinal.

Check out his website for more info.  Make sure to watch the videos and learn more about this Miracle Bread!!

Oh, and p.s. I am still not 100% convinced that it is indeed the actual ‘gluten’ that is making a lot of people sick.  And Jack’s breads are just one more confirmation of this…more on this in a later post! Happy reading!

http://www.bezianbakery.com/

Recipe Share — Persimmon Bread

Image

Tis the season for my friend Lia’s persimmon tree, filled to the brim with hundreds of persimmon in need of a home…or a few dozen bellies.  This has been a favorite recipe of her’s for many years, and two years ago I opted to try it with a gluten free garbanzo bean flour.  It was very tasty, mind you, but this year, since I am on the ‘grinding my own flour’ kick, I decided to give farro a try.  WOW! It sure is tasty! It has been a big hit at parties, especially Thanksgiving.  My boss at work calls it my ‘Medicinal Bread,’ since it has freshly ground farro and wild yeast (chock full of lactobacillus), in lieu of the baking soda…I am just over that stuff and I want that wild fermented goo to get in there whenever possible!

The recipe itself was created by no one other than one of the most famous chefs/bakers, Mr. James Beard. And he is not shy on sugar or butter or bourbon, and trust me, it is all well worth it.  Of course, I should add that it certainly is more healthy to use organic grass fed butter and cage-free eggs and organic sugar, but at the end of the day, it always ends up heavenly.  Your family and friends will love you even more for it and be asking for seconds!  The only one alteration I make is to the sugar and the types of persimmon…I half the amount of sugar bc the persimmon are already sweet enough and I like the nuttiness of the farro flour to shine through and I also use ‘Fuyu’ persimmon (No, I am not cursing at you!).  Fuyu’s are the short, squat ones that are crispier and less squishy than their distant relative, the Hachiya.  Those tend to be chalky tasting, and as a friend of mine says, they tend to leave you ‘devoid of all moisture in your mouth.’  We can’t have that now, can we?!

Ok, let’s get  to the recipe.  ENJOY!! And let me know how it ends up!

Persimmon Bread

Two 9-inch Loaves

Using the higher amount of sugar will produce a moister and, of course, sweeter bread.

Adapted from Beard on Bread by James Beard.

3½ cups sifted flour (ground farro or other favorite)
1½ teaspoons salt
2 teaspoon baking soda (or 1 teaspoon sourdough wild yeast starter, if you have it)
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 to 2½ cups sugar (your call)
1 cup melted unsalted butter and cooled to room temperature
4 large eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten
2/3 cup Cognac, bourbon or whiskey
2 cups persimmon puree (from about 4 squishy-soft Hachiya persimmons)
2 cups walnuts or pecans, toasted and chopped
2 cups raisins, or diced dried fruits (such as apricots, cranberries, or dates)

1. Butter 2 loaf pans. Line the bottoms with a piece of parchment paper or dust with flour and tap out any excess.

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

3. Sift the first 5 dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.

4. Make a well in the center then stir in the butter, eggs, liquor, persimmon puree then the nuts and raisins.

5. Bake 1 hour or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Storage: Will keep for about a week, if well-wrapped, at room temperature. The Persimmon Breads take well to being frozen, too.