Even though I’m still quite skeptical I’m going to at least try to combine my fitness quest with some of the “conventional wisdom” on nutrition. I had the misfortune to get very interested in baking bread at exactly the same time as I shouldn’t be eating it (great timing). So rather than give up bread I decided to try the alternative route and so researched sources and grabbed a copy of Peter Reinhart’s new book (Whole Grain Breads). (Reinhart is my second favorite bread author after Jim Lahey who really nails his approach).
Frankly I think the whole grain thing, at best, only has marginal benefit to health and basically almost none to weight control. Whole wheat flour still has exactly the same starch from the wheat endosperm (drawing below)
as white flour and just adds the bran. Oh, the wonder substance, bran, that nutrition freaks droll over. Hey, it’s just inert stuff, undigestible (and also insoluble) fiber made up mostly of cellulose (so think of just eating cotton). Now maybe there is a vitamin or two tucked in there, but when it comes to flour all the bran is doing is being inert filler so you consume less starch than without the bran. IOW, you could do yourself as much good my simply eating about 10% pure white flour bread, or big whoop. Now, as I’m generally skeptical, I don’t see solid scientific evidence of all the other alleged benefits, but again when it comes to calories, calories are calories and using “filler” to displace calories is a cheesy gimmick.
(Hey, you want to cut the calories in white flour, then destroy the enzymes (amylase) that is converting the already indigestible polysaccharides into glucose, but of course that would starve the yeast and ruin the bread, so eating less is the ticket.)
Anyway, I digress (as usual). I wanted to try Reinhart’s “broom” bread (dripping in health food qualities) which is nicely shown in this blog post. But this is going to take two days and as Sunday is my Starbucks day I’ll have to put this off until Tuesday (with all the pre-mix parts on Monday). Then the trick will be to adjust it to use a starter from my sourdough culture instead of the biga the recipe calls for (I suspect I’ll have to goose the dough with a little cultured yeast as this bread is already quite dense).
So that will be my future experiment after trying the baseline version.
But I wanted something I could do last night and so I tried graham crackers and, well, that’s my fail, bigtime. I doubt even if I did this right I’d like the result (the taste was more like gingerbread cookies than graham crackers and there was no hint of the crumbliness of storebought crackers), but I blew it as well. The instructions require two-step baking and so after turning the pan I forgot to start the timer and headed back to TV (with no clue about clocktime). So when I wasn’t getting the expected timer dinging I checked, OOPs, still still there at 13 minutes and I have no clue how long it’s been. So I guessed about 8 minutes and checked (not “browned” yet (the dough is already quite “brown” when raw) and so gave it another 8 minutes or so.
The result, not very tasty with the thinnest pieces a little burned and very crunchy (rolling dough is still a challenge for me) was bad enough, but after fully cooled and a little resting time the “crackers” were probably stronger building material than adobe bricks and so completely inedible.
Oh well, can’t win them all. I hope the broom bread turns out better.