How hard can it be to make a grilled cheese sandwich from scratch? Wow, this is turning out to be a much bigger problem then I thought.
So a few days ago I saw a really good TEDtalk by Peter Reinhart
My wife can make a really good loaf of french style bread. But we are looking at going more whole grain-y. So we got his book "Whole Grain Bread: New Techniques. Extraordinary Flavor." Imagine my surprise when I discover that after 6000 years of bread making no one has done a deep and thorough scientific study of bread and bread making. He comes closest but it looks as though there is still some ways to go and it butts up against some of the limits of human knowledge as well.
Of course, after thinking about it I guess I shouldn't be surprised. Why study something as old and familiar as bread? An arrogant blind spot.
I have read the first couple of chapters and I am learning lots.
There are about a dozen species of grains used.
How it is farmed sets its protein content.
Milling is a lot more complex then running it between a couple of spinning rocks or metal plates.
Commercial flour comes with specification sheets with tips on how many rotations it needs in a commercial mixer!?
Yeast is a major topic as well. I know the bakers group in San Francisco has studies yeast deeply so I'll have to look them up.
And now we can finally talk about the 12 stages of bread making.
Actually this is a great place to start studying. Bread has been a foundation stone for many cultures for 600 years. It covers farming, a very basic activity, and milling, a simple industrial activity, yeast biology and enzyme action for the leavening of the bread, and thermodynamics for the baking of the bread.