Friday Bread Basket 2/5/21
More shortages edition
So my post on ethical flour this week got a very positive response, I’m happy to say. I’ve got lots more to say on the subject, and will be compiling the list of all your local millers soon, thank you all so much for weighing in.
Relatedly, my first post for King Arthur Baking’s blog, on whole grain baking, is now live, if you’d like to give it a read.
Stalking the Wild Grape-Nut
There seems to be a shortage of Grape-Nuts cereal these days, and fans of the pebbly cereal are freaking out. Especially since boxes of it are selling on places like Amazon and eBay for as much as $25 per. Apparently the reasons for the shortage are similar to those that had us fighting over toilet paper and bags of flour last year, thanks to snags in the supply-chain in the cereal’s production and to higher demand during the lockdown (I guess being stuck at home is making everyone nostalgic for the foods of their youth).
I haven’t eaten Grape-Nuts in ages, but I actually kind of like the stuff (it’s especially good on ice cream). I knew it didn’t contain grapes or nuts, but I’d never really looked into how it was made. Apparently the secret process behind its production is another reason behind its absence from supermarket shelves. According to Kristin DeRock, Grape-Nuts brand manager, “Grape-Nuts is made using a proprietary technology and a production process that isn’t easily replicated, which has made it more difficult to shift production to meet demand during this time…”
The ingredient list on a box of Grape-Nuts are: whole grain wheat flour, malted barley flour, salt, dried yeast. Which makes the “nuts” basically busted-up, bone-dry bits of a dense whole wheat flour bread that has been sweetened with barley malt flour. (Apparently the “grape” in the cereal’s name came from founder C.W. Post’s belief that glucose, which he thought of as “grape sugar”, formed during the manufacturing process.) Recipes for DIY Grape-Nuts are out there (most are made using a quick-bread method and not yeast), and I’m thinking I might concoct one of my own one of these days.
A Corner in Wheat
Speaking of shortages, I just learned that D.W. Griffith’s classic silent short film, A Corner in Wheat, is available from the Library of Congress to watch online or download (via Bread on Earth, another bread artist you should definitely be following).
Here’s the description:
A greedy tycoon decides, on a whim, to corner the world market in wheat. This doubles the price of bread, forcing the grain's producers into charity lines and further into poverty. Shows the differences between the lives of those who work to grow the wheat and the life of the man who dabbles in its sale for profit.
That’s it for this week’s Bread Basket. Have a peaceful weekend, see you all next week.