Friday Bread Basket 4/8/22
Greetings from the Wordloaf Friday Bread Basket, a weekly roundup of links and items relating to bread, baking, and grain.
Ukraine Is a Bread Country
Whetstone Magazine just published a great profile of Bogdan Krasnoperov, the Ukrainian baker I mentioned here a few weeks back.
“I bake the bread, that’s all I can do at the moment,” he says.
The piece includes Bogdan’s recipe for Ukrainian Style Country Loaf, which contains a roux (aka a tangzhong paste), which he says “allows bread to be stored longer, gives it a delicate flesh.”
Tortilla de Harina: A Moon of Mystery
Gan Chin Lin’s recent Wordloaf post got a shout out in my friend Andrea Aliseda’s amazing deep dive into the history of the tortilla de marina, aka the flour tortilla. The post was inspired by a thoughtless tweet that tried to make the claim that corn tortillas are somehow “superior” to flour ones, rather than simply one category of things that are all wonderful.
The tortilla de harina has a history that spans over five centuries in the northern borderlands of Mexico, with regional varietals that range in texture and method from the Baja California, Sonora, Sinaloa, Chihuahua, Nuevo Leon regions, where around 45% of Mexico’s wheat production is grown.
So why then, are they still one of the most misunderstood foods in Mexican cuisine?
I suppose, our answer lies in what is perceived by the United States, where what’s most accessible are bleached-looking mass-produced rounds we see in chain grocery stores and fast-food restaurants.
This post is so great that I talked Andrea into letting me republish it here eventually, along with a flour tortilla recipe from another online baker friend, but in the meantime you should go read it on Andrea’s Substack (and give her a follow!)
Working through it
This last item is another Wordloaf sneak preview. It’s a recent post from my friend Dayna Evans, on her relationship with her new Rofco bread oven:
When I bake bread in it, I have to take a massive spray bottle with a long wand and soak the oven with water quickly before closing the door, to create steam to make crunchy crusts. There are many things that can go wrong along the way and they have. Oh boy they have.
Like basically everything else in life, to the dismay of humans through history, the only way I have learned how to use this oven is to fuck everything up to an obnoxious degree. I have not been happy with the bread I’ve baked in this oven more times than not. And I try again to get it right the next time.
It’s—as per usual—wonderful stuff, and you definitely want to read the whole thing, hopefully before next week, when I’ll be sharing another story from Dayna about the baker’s life.
That’s it for this week’s bread basket. See you all next week, have a peaceful weekend.