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‘Bread – like real love – took time, cultivation, strong loving hands and patience. It lived, rising and growing to fruition only under the most perfect circumstances.’ ~ Melissa Hill, Something From Tiffany’s
Christiaan: I would like to focus on grains here and ask Fritz to add expression to the whole bread-baking process because bread has a bad rap due to modern techniques.
Daleen: What is the main problem with bread?
Christiaan: Commercial bread is made following a short process, so there is very little time for the bread to naturally ferment and hydrate. A lot of preservatives are put into the bread to make it last a week or two and to prevent moulds from forming. Enzymes are also added. What they add is proven to be questionable.
Daleen: Some people have a problem with bread due to the use of refined flour, but what else can you use?
Christiaan: You can’t be pedantic. If you want a beautiful white croissant or something baked with the bran and wheatgerm taken out (highly sifted) it needs to be in moderation. I personally would not eat industrialised, over-refined bread daily.
Daleen: What is the difference between refined and processed bread?
Fritz: I believe (and food journalist Michael Pollen also says it) that food took a wrong turn with the invention of the roller mill which enabled the miller to soak the grain and put it through a set of roller mills that would remove the germ and the bran. A roller mill removes 95% of the nutrients: There are two rollers and one works faster than the other, producing a very fine white particle after the grain has passed through multiple sets of rollers and sifts. All that is left is the starchy endo-sperm which contains the gluten-forming protein. All the essential oils, vitamins and minerals are removed, because now a dead product has been created that transports better. So fewer mills are needed and this is what bread making has developed into, motivated by greed and profit gain. You can see the correlation between critical illness and the development of the roller mill.
Christiaan: There is a correlation between the use of long life, homogenised and pasteurised dairy products and the making of today’s commercial bread. Both industries in my opinion have bastardised what in their natural form are pure and vital food products.Daleen: The concept of the Mediterranean diet being healthy today is flawed when we substitute the wholefood loaf once used with our bread.
Fritz: Exactly. You must take in whole grains and you need to ferment them at some point. You need the enzyme activity. If the gut is healthy, the body is healthy. Naturally fermented or sprouted whole grains are super gut food – live food. We have to go back to the seed of the problem. Source quality grains that have been farmed well with no, or minimum, chemical intervention. For that you need a conscientious farmer and to mill the grains with stones and only stones and keep the temperatures low. The high temperatures of the roller mills destroy enzymes and any microbe activity. This is why we put the thermometer in the flour earlier when we were milling the grains, just to see what the flour temperature was milling at – and it was perfect. It is also important to use freshly milled grain before oxidation occurs.
We are taking in refined carbohydrates that are void of nutrition and filled with chemicals and then we blame the wheat or the gluten for our discomfort – gluten existed from the first time ancient crushed wheat came into contact with water. It has only become a problem now.
Christiaan: One should also mention phytic acids (also known as anti-nutrients). The seed waits for water before it starts sprouting. Phytic acids prevent the nutrients being released until it is ready to grow a plant. So you would soak grain for 12 to 24 hours which breaks down the phytic acids and releases the nutrients. If you grind the seed into flour, add water and then ferment the mixture or dough, it converts the phytic acids and breaks them down. The human digestive system is not equipped to digest grains. Part of the digestion needs to take place in the fermentation process of bread baking. We call it sourdough bread – soaking the grains, sprouting or grinding and naturally fermenting.
Fritz: An activator is added to start the fermentation process such as a sourdough starter. That will raise the dough by activating the microbial growth. A sourdough starter is purely a blend of water and flour containing natural or wild yeasts – the Afrikaans people used to talk about a ‘soet-suur-deeg’ which was a potato and sugar mixture left out to attract the ideal microbes. I learned from an Austrian and so I have adapted to the old European methods. To make your own starter you would have to mix water and good flour and leave it at room temperature refreshing it daily by discarding most of the mix and adding new flour and water. It should take about 10 days but it should double in size after a few hours when it is ready to be used for leavening a dough.
Christiaan: The other thing is in terms of texture. Humans have forgotten how to chew and have become conditioned to think that a good bread is like cake. The same goes for pasture-reared beef and chicken. There is texture. We will eventually lose our teeth! Fritz’s bread is on a whole new flavour profile and a lot of people need to rediscover it.
Fritz: My skills have been put to the test and we needed to make decisions – such as choosing our farmer and style of milling. A customer said that he understands what I am doing and he appreciates it, but he prefers the previous flour I used to use because it was a bit more airy and consistent. That is fair enough, but this is the direction we are going. We have to make a beautiful delicious loaf that is also healthy.
Daleen: So tell me about your choice of grain, rye and gluten free.
Fritz: It is an interesting time that we are in. Dan Barber, chef and co-owner of Blue Hill restaurant in Manhattan and Blue Hill at Stone Barns in Pocantico Hills, New York, is an amazing chef and he drew attention to grains by talking about cultivars. We heard about this and I travelled to the States, attended a conference (The Grain Gathering in 2014) and met Dan, fellow bakers, millers, maltsters and brewers. They spoke about different cultivars and new ways of breeding.
Daleen: Breeding as in genetic modification?
Fritz: No, breeding as in the same species and getting components that you like. Maybe you like the flavour of one and the structure and protein content of another. That is how they breed. On our return we looked at the old cultivars here in South Africa; Christaan used two of them today – an old Canadian cultivar that James Moffet brought over about 30 years ago and is now called the Highland Hard Red Wheat (grown in Ficksburg in the Freestate) and the other farmed by his neighbour, one of the few farmers still growing Witwol. Witwol is not a good bread-baking cultivar, but it is delicious. So we wanted to see how to add this delicious cultivar into a bread flour that one can easily bake with in the way we use it, with minimal intervention. We want wheat with good bread-baking qualities and a delicious flavour.
Daleen: Can you not just combine the two flours when you bake?
Fritz: It doesn’t work like that. Maybe you can add 10% of the one, but I wouldn’t necessarily go 50-50 because you will end up losing both components that you like. So breeding is the future and people are breeding consciously. It is also getting drier and we have had a couple of tough seasons but Witwol grew throughout the drought.
Daleen: Do you bake with rye?
Fritz: I do, but I only want to use local rye. There is a local famer growing rye but once his harvest has been depleted we only have access to imported rye, already milled. So it is seriously oxidated. People are buying rye thinking there are superior health benefits to it. I use it for its distinct flavour but I have now come to the point where I won’t use it if it is not South African. If people come to our country, they need to taste the grains of South Africa.
Christiaan: Fifty percent of our wheat comes from Russia. That is a long way away!
Daleen: Are you on or off the ancient kamut and spelt grain wave of popularity?
Fritz: I don’t think it’s healthier. Some people use spelt because they are sensitive to gluten, without knowing that spelt has more gluten than wheat. Farmers planted kamut for us and it has similar protein qualities to Witwol, but it didn’t do very well here. Witwol actually did much better. And this is farming organically. Let’s support local organic farmers such as James Moffet and Bertie Coetzee. Even Gideon Milling has a 100% traceability to farmers in the Western Cape doing beautiful things. And I want to promote it because I would eat it. Spelt doesn’t grow here. We still have to experiment with more of the spelt varieties, but for now I don’t see a reason to do so.
Daleen: It has been a pleasure talking to two experts in their respective culinary fields. You bring a wealth of knowledge to our readers who will now be able to make informed choices about the bread they put on their tables. Thank you.
CULTIVAR BREEDING■ The wheat ears are emasculated by removing all the pollen-producing male parts (anthers) from each floret so there is no self-pollination.■ The female part (stigma) is left behind.■ Each ear is sealed with a bag to prevent pollination from unwanted sources.■ Bag is removed when it is time to introduce pollen into the air from a chosen variety.■ The stigma are pollinated and after several days a seed grows into a new cross from another variety.Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KsoqTQFihyQ
Country Loaf Potbrood – a Fritz Schoon special
Starter270 g Highland Hard Red wholegrain flour 240 ml water 1 g yeast 5 g salt Final340 g fine organic flour 225 ml water 515 g starter 8 g salt
Total 1088 g
Starter1. Mix the yeast and water together, then add flour and salt to the bowl. Mix until smooth and then cover. Let the dough ferment for five hours at 24 0C.
Final mix1. After five hours dissolve the starter in the water: Add the flour and salt, and mix until smooth. Cover the dough and put it in the fridge for 30 minutes.2. After 30 minutes fold and leave in the fridge for two hours.3. After two hours give the dough another fold and cover; leave the dough in the fridge overnight until the next morning.4. Next morning take the dough out of the fridge; fold the dough neatly and place in a round container with a clean lightly floured cloth. Leave the dough to rise to 15 times original size.5. Pre-heat your oven to 260 OC with your pot in the oven.6. Carefully take the pot out of the oven and gently tip your dough into the pot. Score the top of the loaf, put the lid on and put the pot into the oven for 20 minutes.7. After 20 minutes take off the lid and lower your heat to 230 OC and bake for a further 20 minutes.8. If you have a thermometer on hand place the end in the centre of the loaf. We are aiming at 98 OC.9. Otherwise you can stick a knife in the centre, remove slowly and inspect for any wet dough. If it comes out dry, it should be baked.10. Once it has a deep golden colour, carefully tip the bread out and place it on a cooling rack.
Have real farm butter on standby.
CHRISTIAAN CAMPBELLTwitter: @Christiaan_Chefwww.boschendal.com
He is Executive Chef of Boschendal Farm Estate overseeing all catering operations. His favourite pastime is tinkering in The Werf Restaurant kitchen developing new dishes. He is largely self-taught with over 28 years of cooking experience. Soil health and compassion for animals raised for consumption are paramount. Christiaan is convinced we can eat our way to a healthier planet one mouthful at a time.
FRITZ SCHOON, BSc QS
Fritz initially studied quantity surveying in Bloemfontein. A few years later he discovered the mystery of the ancient artisan baker and embarked on an apprenticeship with Markus Farbinger at Ile de Pain in 2008. Fritz opened De Oude Bank Bakkerij in Stellenbosch in 2010. The first business expansion took place in 2011 and in 2013 his sister Katryn Painter joined forces to showcase Schoon de Companje. Fritz promises a new dimension of artisan production in SCHOON Manufactory for 2017.
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