All grains contain peptides that mimic morphine or endogenous opioid substances. This is where I deal with my latest loaf craving. Get your bread-based exorphin fix here.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

17% Rye Bread with Ginger Tea

17% Rye Bread with Ginger Tea

Dead Food
No matter how healthy I try to make it, whole grain, sourdough, long fermented, organic ingredients, freshly milled, pure water, finest sea salt -- bread is just another processed food.  Sure, it gives me fiber.  Sure, it gives me energy and calories.  Sure it gives me many macro and micro nutrients.  But it is not an unqualified 100% bonus.  There are some negatives to eating bread, many of which I've touched on or outlined in this blog as I've learned about them.

John Gabriel (teacher of the weightloss/eating/visualizing plan the Gabriel method) lost a lot of weight by eating raw foods, juicing -- and visualizing.  I watched the DVD extra interview with Gabriel after the movie "Hungry for Change" (a video which I mentioned at the end of a recent blog).  Jon's take is that you have to forgive your body for becoming fat; it didn't know you didn't want to store all those extra calories you were eating.  Your body was expecting lean times, like what the first humans experienced.

That makes sense, and its also been my experience.  Now that I fast 2x/week, I am giving my body a little bit of lean times, and my body is using the pounds I would otherwise put on.  I'm not losing anymore weight; I'm at a sort of plateau: I gain weight when I eat, I lose weight when I fast.  Just a couple of pounds, but its real.  No surprise there.  Without the frequent fasts, I'm sure that my body would just pack it on, expecting the lean times to come back sooner or later.  And bread to me is like heroin to a junkie.

But something else Jon Gabriel said in the extra interview from "Hungry for Change" really stuck with me.  He said he used to crave bread, but now he considers it "dead food."  He has lost his desire to eat it, since he started eating raw, living food.

For some reason, that phrase struck home.

Gabriel's story (and others like it) have further encouraged me to at least try a detoxification from bread and other dead foods (like dairy, and caffeine), to see how I feel, to find out what might happen.

Enter the Juicer
My wife and I have decided to buy a juicer.  This involved a bit of research, and then a decision on which juicer was right for us and our budget.  I think we might have swallowed a bit of a sales pitch, but we have decided on the Omega 8006.  The sales pitch is that this single-auger juicer goes slow enough that it won't destroy enzymes, and so you get more nutrient, more juice, and more flavour.  Centrifugal juicers say that their machines are faster and more convenient, thus, you are more likely to use them; the Breville Juicer has seen a lot of happy customers since the video "Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead" came out (we've also recently watched this video too and were inspired by it).  Cleaning time for the juicer was another issue.  The Omega juicer we bought can be disassembled, rinsed, and reassembled quickly, so that's a bonus.  Plus, if we don't become "one of those people" (raw food eaters who are juicing all the time and annoying everyone else who puts something dead in their mouths), we figure we can still use it to make nut butters --  and I can continue eating bread with healthier toppings.  Also, unlike the centrifugal juicers, the Omega 8006 can juice wheatgrass.  With my interest in wheat and bread, and my curiosity abut detox and how I determined I am about omitting bread from my diet (at least for a time), I want to try wheatgrass.  If I like it, it should be fairly easy for me to grow my own, from the organic seed I've been using in my bread.  But I don't want to get ahead of myself.  We just have to get the machine first, use it a few times, and then figure out what's the best way, and the best time for me to go on a detox.

I warned my friend David that I am thinking of going on a detox -- no bread, no dairy, no caffeine, no food except juice -- for a period of time.  David has been enjoying my bread quite a lot recently.  He helps me out by eating half of what I make.  He eats other stuff too, of course; but he says that my bread has helped him with his occasional flair ups of diverticulitis and acid reflux (neither of which I've ever suffered from).  I don't want to disappoint him, but I wanted to warn him that the constant flow of bread that's been coming his way may dry up for a time -- or, if I kick bread from my diet entirely, perhaps even forever.  I mean, I just don't know what will happen.  I can scarcely imagine life without bread and cheese, at this point.

Meanwhile until the Juicer comes...

Here's a bread made with Ginger Tea as the hydration, and I've steeped the dough.

Before milling my wheat, I made a litre of tea using Yogi brand organic Ginger Tea.  This steeped for about an hour or more, and it was still somewhat warm to the touch when I combined my sourdough with it.  The freshly milled organic wheat was also warm to the touch, and this made me curious about the dough temperature.  I tested it at 104 degrees F, once I had combined the salt.  That is MUCH warmer than my usual temperature.  I usually use a coolish water from the tap that is hooked up to our sandpoint (shallow well) and its multiple filters.

The Ginger Tea

104 degrees F.

Added some tea with the salt, added more later to "steep the dough"

The Steeped Dough.
Most of the watery tea that this dough was sitting in has absorbed into the dough.


  • 830g organic wheat berries, freshly milled
  • 170g rye kernels, freshly milled
  • 200g sourdough starter at peak
  • 20g coarse sea salt
  • 890g organic ginger tea
  • A few flax seeds for the bottom of the proofing basket

Once the tea was tepid and not steaming hot, I combined the yeasty sourdough and mixed thoroughly with 790g of it, reserving the rest of the litre-o'-tea.  Poured the sourdough tea over the fresh milled wheat and rye combination and mixed well, until all the flour was wet.  Then I let it autolyse for 30 minutes before adding the salt.  The salt was added with 50g of ginger tea, bringing the hydration at this point to 840g.  I kneaded this in the bowl, and squoozied it several ways and then rebuilt the gluten using stretches, turns and air-kneading.  Then the dough sat another 30 minutes.  Finally, I did something I've never done before: I did the usual stretch and turn, but then I added 50g MORE hydration, to bring the total to 890g.  However, this hydration was not incorporated into the dough, the dough just sat in the bowl with it.  And off I went to yoga for a couple of hours.

When I got home, the water had incorporated into the dough, and it had risen.  Must have been the heat, to make the dough rise so quickly.  Also, it was well hydrated, and the bacteria and yeasts must have liked the ginger tea.  I let it sit another couple of hours anyway, and then divided the dough, lightly shaped it, gave it a bench-rest, and then did the final shaping before proofing.  The baskets sat covered another couple of hours, and then were baked at 450 degrees F for 40 minutes on preheated stones, with steam.

Using this technique, the gluten was not well developed, and the dough could have been a lot tighter.  But it was a sloppier style of bread, and I had to be gentle with it.  You can see I was somewhat tentative in scoring it.  It saw a moderate amount of oven spring only.

The bread is quite good.  There is little or no ginger tea scent or taste.  But there is a very subtle hint of something different -- a kind of wakening up of the back of the tongue after you swallow some bread, that reminds me of ginger (but perhaps that is just because I know it is there.  It is really an undefinable something, and I wouldn't even call it a flavour).

I draw my life and nourishment from this bread.  And yet as I nibble at my slices of homemade bread I remember: there are those who call this dead food.

Who knows, when you start on a journey, where it will take you?  Long ago, even before this blog, when I began baking bread, I was baking bread detox loaves.

Well, there's detox, and there's detox.  I wasn't here then, I was there; now that I'm here, and I've moved on, and its time to detox from all bread.  Just to see what will happen.

Notes to Myself
  • This bread was unusual because I steeped the dough in warm water (tea).  I've never done that before, and it did get the hydration up.   This could be a new technique, like the no-knead techniques that took off a short while ago.  Steeping minimally-kneaded dough in water gives it the chance to absorb more water without kneading more.  This idea could be explored further.  I've never seen anything like it anywhere else.  This unique idea came from my kitchen -- just when I couldn't care less.

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