Bread has come to have a bad name, and mostly because most store-bought loaves are a concoction of highly processed flours, sugars, and preservatives. But healthy bread lives, and it’s having a revival thanks to people like Chad Robertson, the co-owner of San Francisco’s Tartine Bakery.
Bread can be made with much more than just white flour. Robertson has been traveling the world to research ancient grains; the stuff that has been used to make healthy bread for centuries. Rye, barley, einkorn; these are all ancient grains that were once the building blocks of bread around the world. Robertson is profiled in this New Yorker video, a beautiful window into the of the art of healthy bread and the work of a true artisan.
Maybe it’s no surprise that the future of bread is in fact rooted in the past, in these whole ancient grains that we seemingly had forgotten. In our culture of over processed, industrialized food, many long for whole ingredients and simplicity.
Out with the bland, GMO-infused tomato and in with the heirloom variety that you grew yourself. Because when it comes to healthy bread, there’s more to it than just white or whole wheat: what we’ve lost in the process of industrialization, we can still get back.
‘A lot of these grains, unlike the older varieties that people used to eat, have been bred to have higher yield to feed more people, to be easier to harvest with machines, be easier to grind into flour by machines… so we have lost some of the grains that have more flavor, more nutrients,’ says Robertson.
For Robertson, ancient grains are an untapped resource; a limitless abundance of flavor and nutrients.
“I remember when Alice, at Chez Panisse, switched to grass-fed beef. It seemed so crazy at the time,” Robertson told the New Yorker. “Now look at grass-fed beef,” Robertson continues. “The price has dropped. It’s in the restaurants, and it’s everywhere. The same seems to be happening with these grains.”
Back to the future it is, then.
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Image: Abstract Duck