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Friday Bread Basket 6/18/21
No Knead Need Edition
Before we dive into this week’s bread basket:
Tomorrow is June 19th, or Juneteenth, the day that commemorates the end of slavery in the United States, which makes now an excellent moment to start watching Netflix’s new miniseries High on the Hog if you haven’t already.
The series—based upon a book of the same name by the great food scholar and cookbook author Jessica B. Harris, and hosted by Whetstone Magazine founder and EIC Stephen Satterfield—clearly shows how American food is deeply entwined with the history of slavery in this country and how many of the foods we consider American are really African American. It’s a wonderful, groundbreaking series, and I cannot recommend it highly enough. It will open your eyes and make you hungry in equal measure.
Help Fortify our Regional Grain Economy: Contact the USDA
If you are a fan of fresh flour—or even flour in general, which should be all of you—I have a request to make: Please add your voice to the USDA’s current request for comments regarding America’s Supply Chains. The open comment period ends on 6/21, so there are only a few days remaining to do so.
Nan Kohler, the owner of LA-based mill Grist and Toll, shared a letter she wrote to the USDA, and outlined how others could help support the cause:
HERE’S WHAT YOU CAN DO:
–If you are a farmer, miller or baker in any part of the country, please feel free to copy and paste anything from my letter and make it your own, or simply post a comment in support of mine.
–If you are a consumer or home baker, please post a comment in support of my letter and tell the USDA why you support regional grain efforts.
–Specifically if you live in California, please also call out Monica Spiller’s public comment. Monica (http://www.wholegrainconnection.org) created a 10 page pdf outlining grain handling and milling objectives for our state.
The whole process just takes a minute, especially if you want to just write in support of Nan’s articulate and thorough appeal, so I hope you can find the time!
The Unsung Women of No-Knead Bread
My pal Dayna Evans just dropped an Eater profile of Suzanne Dunaway, the little-known author of the book No Need to Knead: Handmade Italian Breads in 90 Minutes, which was first published in 1999, some seven years before Jim Lahey (with the help of Mark Bittman) published his “revolutionary” recipe for no-knead bread in the NYT. About a month ago, Lahey’s recipe got a makeover by J. Kenji López-Alt in the Times, but once again Dunaway’s contribution was erased from the history of the technique. As Dayna writes:
Last month, likely fueled by more than a year of people getting into making bread at home, Times cooking writer J. Kenji López-Alt revisited the 2006 recipe, tweaking some of Lahey’s techniques, emphasizing how “hugely influential” the no-knead method was. In the story, Peter Reinhart, author of The Bread Baker’s Apprentice, told López-Alt that Lahey’s “genius was in incorporating and modernizing a few different old techniques known to bakers” but the most important development was the name. Lahey concurred: “Mark gave it the no-knead name,” Lahey told the Times. “I thought it was a mistake — it’s just ancient bread made before fears and electricity — but he’s the writer so we went with it.”
“Soon, home bakers and professionals began iterating on the process,” López-Alt wrote. A section of López-Alt’s story was titled, “No Need to Knead.”
While it’s clear that Dunaway and not Lahey deserves the credit for bringing this approach to bread baking into modern public view, the earliest known version of a no-knead recipe actually dates to 1943, in the book Your Daily Bread, by British author Doris Grant, yet another woman not given proper credit for her contribution to bread baking history.
Also from Dayna, This Masterpiece
I put strawberries and cheddar cheese in this bread as a bit dedicated to the movie Ratatouille but joke’s on me because it is so extremely good I’m gonna do it again 🍓🧀
That’s it for this week’s bread basket. Have a peaceful weekend, everyone!