Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Doesn't it make you wonder?

In the Times today, if you click next to a teaser reading Artisanal baking goes renegade, you are led to a story titled Against the Grain that seems to be about the human capacity to carry anything past the point of absurdity. We meet
a starter culture of obsessive, boundary-pushing bread makers in New York City and around the country. . . . Small independent bakers . . . . who are going to great lengths to approach an ideal of bread that is simultaneously cutting-edge and primordial.
Our “comrades in the revolutionary salt-flour-water brigade” include “a rogue wheat breeder who runs the Bread Lab, a Wonka-esque wonderland for crusty, airy-crumbed experimentation,” a baker who “wages a loving blitz upon the miche dough,” a mystic who managed at his publisher's urging to cut his bread recipe down to 38 pages -- and I suppose those were big cookbook pages, not little paperback pages -- and others who gather to “talk about reclaiming a mythic moment in human history when the staff of life had some genuine funk to it.”

These are people whose idea of heirloom grains is forms like einkorn not seen since the Iron Age, milled by Iron Age methods, allowed to ferment for weeks, cooked for double or triple the normal time, resulting in a loaf that
looks more like something that might have been used as a shield in a Stone Age skirmish.
Truly we are a fascinating species.

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