Friday Bread Basket 2/11/22
Nooks and Crannies Edition
Welcome to the Wordloaf Friday Bread Basket, a weekly roundup of links and items relating to bread, baking, and grain. Before I jump in: In my last, heavily-footnoted post, I sort of buried the lede a bit, by hiding the news that I finally got around to bringing the Wordloaf Index up to date earlier this week. Sorry it took so long, it should now be a lot easier to find things around here.
My friend Dayna Evans—bagel maven and proprietor of Philadelphia’s Downtime Bakery—just published a deep dive into flour and where it comes from over at Eater. It’s a story that she’s been working on and thinking about since nearly the start of the pandemic:
Where were you during the great bread baking boom of 2020? Me, I was cleaning out a trash can full of dog food to make room for 50 pounds of flour.
The trash can belonged to Ziggy, my family’s late dearly beloved chihuahua (may he rest in peace), but at the height of the first COVID crisis in August, I needed somewhere to store the flour I’d ordered from a wholesale bakers outlet. Ziggy would understand, I reasoned, so I dumped the kibble, hosed down the can, and lined it with a trash bag. In went the white stuff, a flurry of particles clouding around me like a halo.
Dayna’s search for what makes for great flour, where it comes from, and who of us has access to it, led her to Germany, Scotland, and beyond, only to bring her back to a one-square-foot plot of wheat sprouting in her own back yard.
Two Good Bread Tweets
Bread: is There Anything it Can’t Do?
While my favorite uses of old bread are to make panade or burned bread bread, I was excited to read this story about an experimental process to turn leftover bread into a replacement for environmentally-destructive palm oil, something known as “yeast oil”:
This yeast oil comes from right here in Gerboin’s own bakery. At the end of the day, he roasts his unsold leftover bread, grinds it up and delivers it to TUM, one of Germany’s most innovative universities. There, Brück’s team ferments the stale bread with a special yeast, and within two days, a yellowish oil is dripping steadily out of the lab’s centrifuge. This oil is then sent back to Gerboin, who uses it for baking and frying. “The yeast oil lasts longer than palm oil,” he says. “I can reuse it up to 60 times. I even make my Bavarian cream with it.”
I’m not sure if there is enough stale bread in the world to replace all the palm oil plantations out there, but maybe that means we all just need to bake more bread.
Another Good Bread Tweet
And possibly the most Boston sound bite of all time.
That’s it for this week’s bread basket. Have a peaceful weekend, and I’ll see you all next week.