chefs in the food lab – photo credit – Karen Anderson
With the downturn in Alberta’s energy dominated economy, it is estimated that 100,000 jobs were lost this province in 2015. Local news agencies have tracked the lay offs. It’s been devastating to watch. Job losses come with people attached. If not personally affected, everyone in the province knows family and friends who have been.
Fortunately, Albertans have true grit and with every flattened tire in the cycle of oil’s economy, the creativity of Albertans help diversify our economy away from that old cycle of booms and busts. We are a province of entrepreneurs and food entrepreneurs can get a boost for their ideas from a facility called the Alberta Food Processing Development Centre.
This post is about a day I recently spent at that centre and the positive potential that the centre has for impacting our economy. Continue reading
Fresh bread from Aviv Fried’s Sidewalk Citizen Bakery is made with local flour from Highwood Crossing Organic Farms and Grainworks – photo credit – Karen Anderson
Here’s my CBC Alberta at Noon Column “Bread is on the Rise” on the return of sourdough to our culture. I’m on at the 12:06 mark with host Donna McElligott. You’ll find the recipe for making your own sourdough here and recipes for No Knead Bread here.
The most popular post on this blog is actually about bread.
I captured an old Swedish family recipe of my husband’s Anderson family for Halvtjock Kakor. It’s been really wonderful to watch how many people have found it useful and how many have taken a moment to comment on it. Rightly so, it’s very tasty business and has helped my family savour it all at our get-togethers for many years now. Mmmm – nothing like bread straight from the oven. Somebody please pass the butter.
Sourdough at Haines Junction Yukon Territory – photo credit – Karen Anderson
Keeping a sourdough starter requires some planning and dedication but for those that love the tangy taste, crumb infiltrated with air pockets and a thin but firm crust, it’s definitely worth the bother. This post will share some of the history and technique involved in building your own sourdough starter. Continue reading
No Knead Bread is not new. It became famous when Mark Bittman wrote a New York Times article about it a decade ago in 2006. I’m going to talk about the recent comeback of bread’s popularity and the rise of sourdough breads in this post “wheat belly” era for my CBC Alberta at Noon column tomorrow. But, after researching sourdough I know the art of working with this living breathing organism will not be for everyone so that’s why I’m posting two simple No Knead Bread recipes here. Give the dough lots of time to rise and the yeast will have time to begin digesting the sugar and proteins in the flour for you.
No Knead Breads are definitely something anyone can do and most importantly – enjoy! Continue reading
Despite being punched down by the “wheat belly” gluten-free movement, bread is once again on the rise. Why is bread making a comeback? Maybe it’s because gluten (the protein found in wheat responsible for giving bread it’s elasticity) wasn’t the evil culprit some claimed it to be. With the exception of people who have Celiac Disease or actual allergies to wheat, gluten hasn’t shown harmful effects on humans in any solid research trials.
Bread has been “the staff of life” for thousands of years and wheat is the most commonly eaten substance in the world. Wheat varietals have evolved with plant breeding and natural selection. They’ve been tolerated well.
Michael Pollan, in his book Cooked – A Natural History of Transformation (Penguin, 2013) delves deeply into the bread box to conclude that perhaps it’s not the wheat that’s the problem; perhaps it is all the additives in commercially prepared bread combined with a lack of time spent making that same bread.
Time is important in bread making. Time allows the yeasts and bacteria in our environment to do their thing which turns out to be really important for the health of humans. What do they do? They combine with bread’s flour and water and if given the time, they will “eat” the sugars in the flour, produce the gas that causes dough to rise and most importantly for people that find wheat hard to digest; they partially digest the proteins (like gluten) in flour for us.
I hope you’ll watch the 2015 CBC Fifth Estate video above that probed into the “war on wheat” and that you’ll tune into my CBC Alberta at Noon show tomorrow, Friday, May 27 between noon and 1230 p.m. on 99.1 FM when I’ll talk more about how to get rolling in the dough – with sourdough and a few easier bread recipes.