ww, rye and flaxmeal bread
Here is a Tartine-style bread, that is made with 70% whole wheat, 30% rye, with some extra flaxmeal tossed in (about 0.5%). The crust also has some flaxmeal. The hydration of the bread is 80%. Flax seed is seeing a surge of interest lately with the new nutritional finding of the importance of Omega-3 fatty acids in our diet. Flax needs to be ground into flour or meal though, to get the benefit of its nutrition, or the tiny seeds will pass through the intestines without unpacking its goodness. Here I've just added the meal into a regular whole wheat and rye bread to see what it would taste like.
Genetically Modified Flax Anyone?
Once again I would like to draw everyone's attention to Genetically Modified Objects in our food supply. The wiki on flax describes a GM flax called Triffid, which was grown in Canada (as late as 2001), although never commercially, and it is no longer grown. Nevertheless, some of this GM flax still somehow finds its way into the flax that is targeted for export. This causes problems for the flax industry when European importers reject it out of hand.
Wheat growers and marketing boards should heed the lesson. And so far, they have. But we are continuously bombarded with news that various groups are interested in trials of GM wheat. I try to follow some of the arguments for and against transgenic wheat and report on it in the transgenic wheat wiki, in what I hope is a balanced way. Because I have personally heavily edited that page, I have become interested in any GM food that is introduced into our food supply. Currently in Canada we have GM rape and soy (without much fanfare and not nearly enough discussion, I must say). I personally would like our wheat to remain uncontaminated by GMO. On the other hand, I am not opposed to continuing some contained experimentation on GM wheat. I really think that we have to learn far more about it before releasing it into our food chain or into our environment, though. And we won't learn much about it without experimentation.
I think it would be a good idea to learn what there is currently in wheat (likely as a result of Norman Borlaug's influence) that has caused the increase in wheat allergies over the last few decades. There may even be a way to get rid of it with transgenic methods! Would that be a good thing? Hmm.
If something as small as the difference between Omega-3 and Omega-6 oils can make such a big difference in our health, and we've only just learned about it, what else do we not yet know about, in terms of human nutrition? We're still just scratching the surface and learning about what is safe and what is not.
Incidentally, have a look at this interesting TED video: Robyn O'brien (author of "The Unhealthy Truth") gives a TED talk in Texas. While she doesn't specifically mention wheat, she does target milk and corn and soy as foods that have had their proteins tinkered with, and are likely causing increased allergies and maybe even cancers. With California currently proposing labeling laws for GMO in our food, her concerns and story as a mother are noteworthy. Who wouldn't want to know what they are eating? Who is behind the move NOT to label GMO foods? I am on the side that says more information is a good thing. Even if labeling is not legislated, if producers of GM foods really are proud of what they are doing, and think it is good for the consumer, they would label it even without legislation. The fact that they want to sneak it by the consumer shows me that they simply don't have the health and welfare of the consumer at heart. And if the government bows to the pressure of the industry instead of sticking up for the consumer, they too should be held accountable. We need to know what we're eating. Whatever Californians decide, the rest of the continent will soon follow. Lobbyists already have a web site (that is where I found the Robyn O'Brien video).
While I can't prove it, nevertheless I believe that the bread I make myself is safer and healthier than the processed and well-traveled bread that I can buy. Here is a link to the page that I sometimes fiddle with, that deals with some of the nutrition findings and questions about grains in our diet. Someday I should clean it up, elaborate it and give some footnotes.
The top of the loaf, coated with a bit of the flax meal, gives it a glittery sheen that reminds me of mica. Curious.
This bread stales quickly. It is slightly bitter, which not everyone is going to like. If you like coffee, you can probably get used to this bread (what I mean is, it is bitter the way coffee can be bitter). For everyday use, I think I would add some honey or malt to this bread in the future.
Notes to Myself
- Laura Dolson has some interesting tidbits of info on flax meal.
- The Flax Council of Canada has some good info on flax meal on their website. They say that Flaxmeal is okay to use, up to 10 months from the grinding, without the oils turning rancid or a breakdown of the omega-3s. Hmmm.
- Add honey or malt to a whole wheat and rye dough containing flaxmeal to make it slightly less bitter.