This article was originally published here and is part of the January 2009 round up.
The following story is, unfortunately, true.
Before the 1950’s, most bakeries in Australia, indeed the world, ran 2 shifts of workers because the dough was fermented throughout the night, long and slow. That bread was made from plain, unbleached wheat flour, and now, seen in retrospect, was superior to most breads of today.
I would often visit our local bakery with my uncle, who home-delivered bread for many years. During the 50’s, the US-based bakery giant Tip Top came to Brisbane, and started to buy up all the small bakeries it could; other giants competed with them, meaning that in very quick time we had only 2 or 3 bakers in the entire city, ditto in all parts of Australia.
One of the very first actions these corporate bakers were to take was to introduce the fast loaf (3 hours from start to finish), effectively eliminating the need for half, or one entire shift, of their labour force. This was actually required by a new law called The Bread Act.
This seemingly innocuous cost-cutting decision would relentlessly impact and compromise the health of each and every bread lover since – that’s virtually everybody since the 50’s – and would cause countless deaths, bestow myriad miseries, as it continues to do. The first act of a major tragedy that still plays, everywhere, everyday.
Very basic bread that had once been fermented for a healthy 8 hours or more was now brewing in just 2 hours! Yeast levels were increased, accelerants and proving agents introduced. Glutens, starches and malts were not given the remotest opportunity to convert to their digestible potentials, in a sickly anti-nutrient-laden, gluepot stew. Breads are still made this way, even the so-called health breads!
Fast-made bread is one of the most destructive implementations into the modern diet. It has become normal fare, and poorly-prepared and poorly-digested wheat is the chief contributor to the current plague of “gluten-intolerance”, obesity, diabetes, candida diseases and many allergenic conditions.
Gluten (once properly fermented) is a wonderful vegetable protein. It is actually a mix of the two elastic proteins, gliadin and glutenin. So-called gluten-intolerant adults and kids are eating my long-ferment bread with amazement at, delight in, the taste, the clarity and the painless, satisfactory satiety.
Sure, be intolerant of gluten in its under-prepared, expedient form. It most certainly is toxic. Such sensitivity is wise and self-preserving, but do not condemn gluten and wheat via this premise. We are not gluten-intolerant; we are allergic to the accelerating haste of modern life!
Wheat is, yes, potentially one of the most highly allergenic foods on the planet, but like soya beans, converts to a truly great food once it is fermented long enough.
All current breads, pastas, pizzas, cakes, biscuits, and on and on and on, contain complex proteins which have not been given the requisite fermentation time to convert to their excellent, digestible alter-egos.
Wheat also contains a difficult starch and a highly allergenic maltose, but within that same complexity, when correctly fermented, there lies varied and splendid nutrients – 18 amino acids (proteins), complex carbohydrate (a super efficient source of energy), B vitamins, iron, zinc, selenium and magnesium, and maltase.
From a demon to a god in one ferment.
The catastrophic changes in bakery procedures were a disaster that went largely unnoticed in the 50’s, except by my baker/uncle and a few other observant souls. He became aware that from that fateful change onwards, many of his customers began to grow ill. Amy MacGrath made the same observation in her book “One Man’s Poison.”
Of course the 50’s also saw the introduction of mass pasteurisation of milk and other food perversions, so there were several developing culprits. This period marked the beginning of the end for bread and milk as healthy, nutritious staples, and signalled the onset of the demise of food in general.
Today, the absolute extreme of this perfidy is found in Hot Bread kitchens, which produce loaves of very toxic, allergy-inducing crud, in just 40 minutes from start of dough to baked finish!
Long Ferment Bread
The longer the ferment, the less yeast is required. Over time, even the smallest amount of yeast will slowly grow and spread throughout a dough. The addition of ginger powder (instead of sugar) to the original mix helps to create a strident growth network for even and healthy leavening to occur.
Sourdough leaven is a fine option to baker’s yeast, but bear in mind that sourdough is also yeast, also a leavening agent. It’s just that in sourdough the yeasts are attracted, gathered wild from the atmosphere.
Remember, whether you employ baker’s yeast or sourdough as the leaven, the actual dough fermenting time must be longer than 6 hours!
I have not only gluten-intolerants enjoying my wheat/granulated yeast bread, but also yeast-sensitive folk are also reporting no reaction – not 100% success of course, but enough to suggest that, just as proteins and starches transform in the long ferment process, the yeast positively alters also.
The tremendous upsurge in cases of gluten, carbohydrate and lactose sensitivity is a totally modern phenomena, and finds its origins in quick, economically convenient, and incorrect food preparation - forging a delusional, diversionary path that we have charted in just the last 50 years, far far away from traditional lines.
Bran is Bullshit!
Actually, far, far better to eat bullshit than bran! True.
Bran is the outer husk of any grain or seed, it is indigestible, and its high phytate content robs our bodies of nutrients, especially minerals, and stifles digestion. If we are eating well, we don’t need such gross fibrous brooms to “sweep out” our bowels.
Bran robs us of nutrients in another way also: Because bran is an irritant to the bowel, its radical stimulation of the peristaltic motion means that any foods accompanying the bran get shunted along far too rapidly in the bowel, severely restricting the crucial extraction of minerals and vitamins which would occur in a normal (slow) passage through the colon.
Not even to their pigs would the Chinese give bran, from any grain (rice included).
In 1542 England, the government-published “Dyetary of Health” stated “bread having too much bran is not laudable”. At that time, the rich ate plain bread, the poor ate the waste, the brown.
Bran is now lauded as a lifesaver, is present in so many of today’s foods. A huge market has been created for what was, for thousands of years, and deservedly so, rubbish.
Don’t toss it out though, it’s ideal for the compost heap or chipboard manufacture.
I have experimented with fermenting bran-rich wholemeal flour doughs for over 24 hours and still the resulting bread is indigestible.
The germ of grains too, like bran, is loaded with anti-nutrients.
Wheat germ oil is an excellent food, but prone to rapid rancidification, and this is true of the whole germ of any grain – not to be eaten raw, even if it’s super fresh – makes no difference, ‘cause the anti-nutrient phytates are still present.
This is what wholemeal means - that the bran and sometimes the germ too are left in the flour.
So you see, this is my case(not yet rested) - that whole don’t necessarily mean wholesome!
The ancient, tried and true slow-ferment baking way rejected outright the germ and bran of grains. It fermented doughs overnight, and delivered nourishing, allergen-free, 100% digestible bread from unbleached, long-fermented plain flour, just like my uncle did, and just like many of today’s tradition-savvy Italian and French bakers do.
Ask your bakers how long they leave their bread dough sit, or is it stand?
Some excellent bread bakers do exist – Sonoma in Sydney, Crystal Waters in Qld, SOL in Brisbane, and Goanna Bakery in Lismore. But don’t eat loaves that have been dusted with raw flour. This defeats and pollutes the basic purpose of the long fermentation.
“Puffed” cereals are particularly irksome because of the high heat and pressure processing, but flakes and other shaped cereals are no better, including the so-called health versions. Studies have shown that these heat-extruded grain preparations can have an even more adverse effect on the blood sugar than refined sugar.
Nevertheless, in television advertising, they are totally misrepresented as almost wonder foods, supported by sports stars with false and fabricated health claims.
All mueslis, cereals, fast-rise breads, puffed rice/corn cakes, pizza bases, pastas, pastries and biscuits contain under-prepared grains, and most contain dextro-malt, lecithin or glucose in one or more of their many disguises – hence numerous toxic, mineral-denying, anti-nutrient allergens plus indigestible proteins and carbs, etc. are being ingested. Yet most of these extremely popular foods can also be made from the same, but carefully fermented grains. It just takes time.
From the early 1960’s onwards, as a result of championing brown rice and wholemeal everything, we have given many deleterious substances totally unwarranted and misleading kudos. And we are suffering, en masse.
Billions of Asian (and other) peoples have eaten, for millennia, not whole, not brown, but white rice, exclusively!
How do proponents of brown rice get around this amazing statistic? Do they seriously think that these ancient societies got it wrong?
Give us a break!
The first cereal-gathering people would have tried eating and cooking grains many different ways, over aeons, as their stomachs’ and bodies’ reactions refined their attitudes to each grain. The white rice diet of Asia is the result of such ageless observation and tradition, from both dietary and medical standpoints.
If brown rice were healthier, they’d be eating it!
About the Author...
An explorer of all things freeing, I. N. Cognito is a Super Hero who strives to bring clarity and focus to issues of health and food freedom.