Friday Bread Basket 9/18/21
Saturday Morning Post Edition
Welcome to the slightly-tardy Wordloaf Friday Bread Basket, a weekly roundup of links and items related to bread, grain, and baking. Before I get into all that, I have a couple of personal items to share:
The first is that I recently appeared on an episode of Mark Dyck’s Rise Up!, one of my favorite bread & baker-centric podcasts. Mark is a wonderful and thoughtful interviewer, and in the few years he’s been doing the podcast, he’s had some of the world’s best and smartest bakers on, so it is an honor to be included. (Coincidentally, he shared a interview with my pal Richard Miscovich the following week, someone I mention as an important influence in our discussion.)
The second is that I made a guest appearance yesterday on one of my favorite newsletters, Stained Page News, with a profile of Owen Simmons’ 1903 The Book of Bread, the first cookbook with photographs, and a rare and beautiful book. I’ve long been obsessed with this book, and getting to write about (and photograph) it for SPN is a dream come true.
Speaking of podcasts, the great Smart Mouth is back from its summer hiatus, and the first new ep. is an interview with Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives’ creator David Page, all about his new book Food Americana. It includes a very interesting conversation about the history of the bagel in North America.
I loved this story about how two school districts in California’s central coast are—with the help of Grist & Toll owner Nan Kohler—purchasing flour mills in order to supply freshly-milled flour to all of the schools in the system. The story also delves into other similar projects happening elsewhere in California and the U.S.
A Good Tweet
My friend Becky Krystal just published a super-handy guide to the many ways you can quickly soften butter without risking it melting into a puddle. The only one she left out was using the food processor to plasticize it (something I use to make cookie doughs all the time), a technique I told her about after her story dropped.
That’s it for this week’s Bread Basket. I hope you are all having a peaceful and bready weekend.
Could you maybe tell us how to plasticize the butter to soften it? I’m curious. Thanks!
I also found the article about the Farm to School milling inspiring and a fun read when I came across it.
But not too long before reading that article, I read this one: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/09/07/magazine/rural-public-education.html.
It left me with some deep-seated discomfort about the injustices and inequality prevalent in our school system. Why do school kids in CA get freshly milled flour, when kids in depressed rural areas can't even get a new textbook or a classroom that's not rotting? It's enraging.
Obviously, I'm aware that educational inequality is not your topic, but I do appreciate it when you tie issues of racial and economic justice to your content.