Let’s talk about whole grain flours. In Italian the word for whole wheat is integrale, which makes sense. Integrale=integral=whole=the entire grain is used so we get full access to all those good-for-you things like fiber, vitamins and minerals. I realize I have spent the majority of my time writing about fabulous yet not-so-good-for-you desserts because they are usually more aesthetically and deliciously pleasing. However, I need not neglect my wonderful whole grains.
I’ve been experimenting with various whole grain flours. We’ve got here wheat, spelt, and rye. Spelt you say? I had never heard of it until a couple months ago when I checked this book out at the library. Oh great. I just realized that it’s overdue. Drat. Anyways…spelt flour. It makes a pretty killer pancake. And I am someone who generally considers pancakes to be boring.
So today I decided to throw my whole grain flours a party. We also invited yeast, water, salt and a bit of sugar, just for kicks.
Yes, that’s oatmeal and cornmeal you see in there too. I don’t want anyone feeling left out–I have high hopes for this bread. The dough is currently fermenting in my fridge. In fact, this party metaphor can go one step further since fermentation produces CO2 and alcohol. My flour friends are getting boozy, which will make for great flavor.
But since this bread needs at least one overnight rest before baking, I decided to pull out the biga I had made yesterday for some Italian bread experimenting. I even threw in a little white whole wheat flour so as to not be so hypocritical.
Despite the fact that I stuck to the proportions I learned at the bakery this summer, this bread, though delicious, did not turn out like I wanted it to. Then again, Italian flours are different than American flours. And maybe I had the temperature or timing wrong. Sometimes it is so frustrating. I’m learning more and more everyday about bread baking, yet I become increasingly overwhelmed when I realize how exact of a science it is, how there is an infinite number of factors to consider, most of which I still don’t understand.
And yet, bread remains incredibly forgiving. Despite my ignorance, the bread usually turns out delicious. I’m starting to think that bread isn’t really meant to be perfect anyway. It’s more than just chemistry or biology or nutrition. It is meant to be shared and enjoyed, to nourish and sustain.
And in our case this evening, to be dipped in olive oil, salt and pepper, and devoured.