Baking and Breaking

Hi Folks! This past week I had the fortunate opportunity to go to Josey Baker’s book signing at one of my favorite places, Grist & Toll. If ya’ll don’t know who Mr. Baker is yet, and you are loving baking (or in the beginning of a love affair with it), I highly recommend you check him out. His book is fantastic; especially for those of us who are new to bread baking — not in a machine, but rather in our very own oven, made with our own two hands.  Josey himself is super personable and gregarious. He answered every and all questions that we all had, for nearly four hours, with a smile.  That’s a lot of questions and a heck of a lot of answers to come up with! I am planning on making a trip to his San Francisco bakery, The Mill, at the end of the month to try some of his famous toast. I’m salivating just thinking about it! He, too, mills his own flour there. What an inspiration!

My new baking-friend Michael O’Malley was on the scene as well. We all brought dough with us, and were able to bake it fresh in his MOMO oven. If you don’t remember who Michael O’Malley or MOMO is, check him out here. By the end of the evening, that oven pumped out probably 50 or 60 loaves of piping hot breads, made with all different kinds of flour.  Emmer, einkorn, spelt, sonora wheat, rye, you name it! So awesome.  I told my husband that I seriously haven’t had that much fun since our wedding last year! It’s true! We were all breaking and sharing bread together. Happily, without a care in the world. We were in the zone.  I tried all kinds of bread that night, probably 20 different kinds, and I felt totally fine afterwards.  How the heck did I feel fine after eating 20 pieces of bread? I know, I was thinking the same thing.  Honestly, I think it mostly had to do with the fact that all of those breads were made with fresh starter, or leaven, and probably underwent some fermentation.  So I didn’t feel bloated, or have a belly ache afterwards.  Amazing how years ago I wouldn’t even consider touching bread because of my “gluten allergy.” Today, I am beginning to realize that it really doesn’t have to do with gluten at all…it has to do with how the bread is made, with what grains, and what process it undergoes.  Please don’t get me wrong — there are very real gluten and wheat allergies/intolerance out there.  And Celiac Disease is a serious auto-immune disease… But I must say that it is my goal to determine if people out there who think they may just be sensitive — if they try a whole grain organic bread, fermented for 18 hours to many days, made with only 4 ingredients — flour, water, leaven, and salt — would they have the same reaction? Since the gluten proteins break down during a long fermentation, the glycemic index is lowered, there are no fillers or preservatives or pesticides, and the bread is easier to digest.

I often feel like a detective, obsessed with solving the answer to the whole gluten conundrum. Like most great detectives, I will keep researching. I will keep educating people about nutrition. And the best part, I will keep breaking bread with them. I may be a bit of a Sherlock in disguise, but it is all for the sake of happier and healthier belies, my friends!

Josey Baker Toast!
Josey Baker Toast!
MOMO in action!
MOMO in action!
Rye, Spelt, Sonora, oh my!
Rye, Spelt, Sonora, oh my!
A community of bread
A community of bread