Friday, March 4, 2011

Peter Reinhart on Bread Traversing Life and Death

Speaking of bread, here's a very interesting TEDtalk from Peter Reinhart, author of The Bread Baker's Apprentice, a book that has been on my "to read and cook by" list for a while.

For the first half, he talks through his new "epoxy" method of making a great wheat bread. But if you don't have the time, at least listen starting about halfway through where he really gets into some deeper, mystical discussions about bread baking and what makes this food special.

He says "bread is a transformational food," meaning that it goes through significant changes in form in order to reach its final state. Starting from the harvesting of wheat is death, death to any future growth it seems as the seed kernels are ground into flour. Yet it is a return to life that instigates the magic. Yeast, the leaven, reawakens the dough, and we know there is life because the dough grows. And when this purpose is fulfilled, it is the ultimate death of the same live-giving yeast that enables the dough's final transformation into bread.

Groovy stuff.

The baker is the god of his dough.

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