The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

commercial yeast vs. starter

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runningknows's picture
runningknows

commercial yeast vs. starter

Lurked for a while, but now I have a question.... My starter's going quite well, making decent bread with it, nothing fancy but much better tasting than the local stuff for sale. My question: I've been using my starter as leavening for all of my baking right now (which I'm thrilled about) with much thanks to Andrew Whitley.  When should I use commercial yeast rather than the starter?  How do I know the difference?


 


-Randy

Yerffej's picture
Yerffej

You don't say why you think you should use commercial yeast but from the standpoint of taste, the answer would be never.  From the standpoint of health, that answer is also never.  Sounds like you are on the right track.


Jeff

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

commercial yeast can have a place in your batterie de cuisine.  There are some baked goods whose flavor you may prefer when made with commercial yeast instead of starter; particularly if your starter has a very assertive flavor.  Although it can be difficult to source in some locations, osmotolerant yeast may be just the ticket for baked goods with high sugar content and/or cinnamon content that would stall a starter.  And, on cool days when time is an issue, spiking your sourdough bread dough with a smidge of commercial yeast can help you keep things moving on your schedule.


I find that with a starter on hand, I use far less commercial yeast than I used to.  In my case, like Jeff's, it's a flavor preference.  However, there are some breads from my pre-sourdough days that I still like to make occasionally and I like their flavor, too, with commercial yeast.


Paul

davidg618's picture
davidg618

Commercial yeast seems to get an undeserved bad rep on TFL. Yes, sourdough breads are usually flavorful, and usually made with healthy ingredients. But the same could be said for some breads made with commercial yeasts. There are breads, and yeasted pastries I wouldn't make except with commercial yeast.


Don't limit yourself. It's like being the fly fisherman purist who goes home with an empty creel, 'cause he won't use worms.


David G

nicodvb's picture
nicodvb

I still haven't obtained a sandwich bread as soft as the fluffiest you can buy in store, regardless of the various fats and other ingredients added (flour types, butter, oil, margarine, milk, potato flakes, sugar in various combinations). None of my friends could achieve a bread like that, so I'm beginning to wonder if there's a limitation in sourdough cultures that make such a bread unfeasible?


 

davidg618's picture
davidg618

Michel Saus' Advanced Bread and Pastry, A Professional Approach, read about emulsifiers (page 156). Then read your "store bought" fluffy bread labels. You likely will find things like Sodium stearoyl lactylate, or Lecithin. Both are used to soften crumb.


The latter is a natural emulsifier, and available in health supplement stores (e.g.GNC) if you want to experiment. The book says typical usage is ).25 to 1%.


Emulsifiers also contribute to the volume exhibited by fluffy breads.


David G

nicodvb's picture
nicodvb

Hi David,


I wanted to add soy lecithin, but it didn't dissolve in water (nor in olive oil). I read that it's insoluble in water. Isn't it the right lecithin? or should I add it to the dough in some other way?

davidg618's picture
davidg618

I don't know. I've never used the stuff. I'll do a little research for you, and see if I can find the answer. I'm not baking today, so it gives me something to do, and an excuse to not run the vacuum.


David G


Here's two links. Didn't take very long, now I still have time to vacuum. D*** it!


http://www.ehow.com/how_5827532_lighten-texture-homemade-bread.html


http://www.breadmachinedigest.com/tips/dough-enhancers-and-how-to-use-them.php


 

nicodvb's picture
nicodvb

Hi, thanks for the links.


I succeeded to dissolve lecithin using a plain blender: I mixed  10 gr of oil, 200 gr of water and 2 gr of granular lecithin, then mixed for 2-3 minutes. I obtained a whitish and foamy liquid that doesn't seem to have any residue. I'll keep it as it is to see how long it's stable, just out of curiosity.


I didin't know that corn oil contained emulsifiers; good to know, it's worth some test.

Susan Lynn's picture
Susan Lynn

You can also buy liquid lecithin at health food stores. It's sticky and stains yellow like mustard does, so take care with it, but you could just add it to your bread dough with the other liquid and not have to worry about its dissolving. Mixing lecithin with cooking oil ... about a tablespoon to a cup of oil and stirred and shaken well ... makes an excellent pan greaser ... more release than straight oil. Beating oil, lecithin and flour is good for greasing pans where you would normally butter and then flour as for cakes.


Susan Lynn

runningknows's picture
runningknows

In cases where I need to grease pans (esp. for things like cake), I like equal weights of veg. oil, shortening, and AP flour. (from On Baking, by Labensky, Martel, and Van Damme)

RiverWalker's picture
RiverWalker

isn't the soy lecitin the stuff in aresol spray oils that makes a funky, sticky burned residue on dishes when you bake with it and it gets on the edges or handles and such?


 


 

Jahosacat's picture
Jahosacat

I use lecithin, not the liquid type, in recipes in my bread machine without any problems. I've replaced the amount of oil with an equal amount of lecithin and see no difference in the bread. I tried it 1 time in SD with disasterous results! I wonder what would happen if I tried to dissolve it in warm water and add it when gowing the starter? I think it may be the fact that the bread machine starts heating right when it's turned on.

Chuck's picture
Chuck

The lecithin I bought at my health food store is granules a bit more than 1 millimeter diameter (it comes different ways and yours might not be the same...)


I measured the small amount and stirred it into the dry ingredients (mainly the flour) before mixing the wet and the dry and then kneading. It baked up fine for me that way.


If your recipe calls for dissolving your lecithin, but that doesn't seem to make much sense, check carefully that the kind of lecithin your recipe assumes is the same as the kind you have. As far as I know all the forms are interchangeable _but_ the procedure needed to mix them in can be quite different.

Jahosacat's picture
Jahosacat

I bought the lecithin thru a bulk spice website - I've been to the store/warehouse and trust them - and it didn't come with directions. It's not really granules, it's kind of a mass that sticks together. It doesn't smell funny and the breads I've used it in taste normal, so, I'm using it. I've never seen a recipe that uses it. I did some prowling on the internet to find out how to use it.

Chuck's picture
Chuck

So far as I'm aware, lecithin for baking is virtually always either "granules" or "liquid" (or very occasionally "powder").


The solid form seems to be for some industrial process but not for home baking. Yes your trust has been earned as it really is lecithin. But no the solid form is hardly ever used in baking/cooking; shame on the website for selling it in the solid form with no directions.


I wouldn't know what to do with it either; I'm glad you figured out how to dissolve it.

RobynNZ's picture
RobynNZ

Hi there Nico


I wonder how the use of so-called 'water roux' in conjunction with your sourdough would work, if you want soft bread (I don't, so haven't tried it myself). Quite a few threads on TFL if you search; this one has some useful links in it:


http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/16753/what-water-roux


Cheers, Robyn

Jahosacat's picture
Jahosacat

I agree! I've only been making sourdough breads since the beginning of this year  - and have come to love them! - but, there have been times when I didn't feel like dealing with the SD process and I had used the emergency loaf of bread I keep in my freezer. One time it was a trying week emotionally, one time I was sick and could barely make it to the kitchen and another time I was really hungry for a specific loaf of bread I make in my bread machine and didn't feel like doing it the SD way. I've been making bread in my bread machine for 10+ years; I can toss ingredients in, check the dough ball and leave it all in my sleep.

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Nico,


You are an eminently respected sour dough baker.


Please can I urge you not to dabble with emulsifiers?   Unless you really want to produce cotton wool fluff that sticks to the roof of your mouth when you eat it.


Ok, great, emulsifiers trap water into bread.   And, they make it a lot easier to produce dough with a high hydration level   They are an integral part of bread improvers.   But they are added at a specified rate by "experts" in this area of chemical food manufacture.   Why do you want to partake of such experimentation when your splendid and much respected expertise clearly lies in a much more interesting facet of breadmaking?


All good wishes


Andy

davidg618's picture
davidg618

I want to go on record that I was just trying to help. I'm not advocating using the stuff. I had the same question: Why would anyone want to make bread that's fluffy?


Actually, I guess if your baking to please children, and get them to eat breads you trust because you made it yourself, fluffy's ok...for starters;-)


David G

nicodvb's picture
nicodvb

For some unknown reason my friends on another forum always ask me to help them when they want to reproduce with sourdough some kind of bread sold in stores. This time around their attention was on fluffy sandwich bread, something that I eat at most once in a year (as you know, Andy, my preferences are all faced towards something much darker, tastier and denser like the schrotbrot sleeping in the kitchen:) ). Yet the pleasure of discovery and experimentation is very intuiguing.


I see that emulsifiers are a danger zone: too much and you'll do a disaster. Maybe some someflower seeds oil will have the same effect? The water roux technique suggested below seems very promising, too. Actually having to resort to pixie dusts isn't  very appealing.

davidg618's picture
davidg618

for the explanation. I found I had to accept, and put aside, my own bias in favor of answering what I considered a serious question. After further thought, I think its a good question.


Furthermore, I don't want to appear I'm contributing to the undeserved bad raps some ingredients and bread types are given here, and on other artisanal food blogs. As you are aware, additives in foods, natural and man-made, are studied and approved by the FDA, and have to be listed on the nutritional data. The consumer has the ultimate power to reject anything they fear or simply dislike.


Lecithin, the additive we've been discussing is a natural additive, derived from soy or corn. Besides being an emulsifier, health supplement advocates tout its efficacy for treating a host of human ailments. Allegedly, the FDA is investigating its curative powers, specifically for heart diseases.


I don't like to think of store bought white bread as bad; instead, I like to think of the breads we bake as better: flavor-wise and mouthfeel-wise almost always, and frequently nutrition-wise. 


And, like you, I am intrigued by the possibilities, and the fun of experimenting. 


David G

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi David,


I just don't share your faith in the "Authorities".   Are we, as the consumers, truly sufficiently informed to make judgements?   Governments really only tell people what they want to hear...unfortunately.


Of course lecithin is not available in this form in the UK, and I doubt it is in Italy either.   It is derived from Soya or Corn which is genetically modified; therefore it is not allowed in Europe, whereas it is quite accepted in the US.


Finally many people in Europe are waking up and asking questions about what food companies put in our food, as you say, in controlled amounts deemed to be safe by the government authorities.


Unlike you, I'll be honest, I just don't trust them.   That may make me biassed to many; I'll accept that.   Given I've emptied many brightly coloured sachets into the mixing bowls of supermarket in-store bakeries, I'm not really in a position to lecture anyone!   Although the idea of using any additives at home is a complete anathema.


I'd just sooner see Nico's energy and talent channelled into the more worthy and interesting rye breads he is clearly so passionate about.


Of course it's good to have debate, and I too think Nico has asked a good question.   But do we REALLY know the long term consequences to health...good, or, bad, from consuming foods prepared with functional additives such as emulsifiers?


Also, RiverWalker's ideas about using commercial yeast with enriched doughs is really sensible.   High fat, sugar, spice, fruits etc make it really hard for yeast to thrive [wild yeast, or, saccharomyces cerevisiae]   I tend to use a ferment in products like Chollah, or, Hot Cross Buns, as a means to get the yeast kicking.   Sour dough yeasts work too slowly to really cope successfully with high levels of enrichment.


All good wishes


Andy

davidg618's picture
davidg618

I expected someone would take me to task for my naivety, and misplaced trust in--of all things--the Government!


I consider you too much at least an e-colleague, and perhaps too and e-friend to debate with you. And too, I just celebrated my 74th birthday anniversary. At this age I pick my fights carefully, and infrequently. 


And, more importantly, you're probably right.


David G

ananda's picture
ananda

David, I have the utmost respect for you as an e-colleague and friend.   Fighting is definitely not what I had in mind.   But it seems from what you say, that we really think the same thing: trust for govt.??   Probably not then!


Nico, I didn't have cakes in mind when I wrote about commercial yeast in enriched dough; I should have clarified that I was discussing bread doughs which are, I think anyway, best produced from relatively short fermentation.   My that cake of yours was sensational!


Just a last note on lecithin: the one genuine natural source is, of course, found in egg yolk!   Rather important in creating an emulsion in cakes I might suggest?


Wishing you a belated, but very "Happy Birthday, David!"


All good wishes


Andy

nicodvb's picture
nicodvb

was a serious improvement to the softness of the bread.


I mixed in the blender 30 gr of sunflower seeds oil with 240 of water and used this liquid on 360 gr of durum wheat flour plus salt and sugar.


The bread is softer than the other breads I made recently with butter, and almost there (although still not exactly there, but I'm already satisfied).

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi Nico,


Sounds an interesting experiment. Have you also seen Shiao-Ping's new post on chia seeds?


Seems seeds have interesting properties!   Kind regards,  Daisy_A

nicodvb's picture
nicodvb

Yes Daisy, but I still haven't spotted chia seeds anywhere. It's totally new stuff for me, I know absolutely nothing about them. Moreover italy is an extremely conservative place, thus new ingredients may take years to find their way on the shelves.

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Mmm, you're right. Hadn't thought that through. Apparently they are not on shelves most places. They are mostly sold online. I believe they are Mayan/Mexican originally and their health qualities are being lauded right now. This is the cheapest I could find in the U.K.  (ie not cheapest per kilo but they sell small packets). http://www.red23.co.uk/Organic-Chia-Seeds_p_1072.html


I have read about people using linseed to trap water but apparently it mushes up pretty quickly. I have only used it as a topping.


Didn't think about Italy being conservative food wise. I have had some of the best meals of my life there and have several Italian friends and colleagues who sing the praises of their native cuisine so I tend to think of it as a great place in general to get foodstuffs!


Britain is championing great local foods now but I don't think they are so widely available yet as in Italy. Some places are fab for small owner managed eateries and stores but most towns are dominated by chains. Perhaps you've seen this?  Being so diverse in our tastes and cultures though we can get mostly anything within reason! (Oh apart from King Arthur flour ;-))


Cheers, Daisy_A


 

nicodvb's picture
nicodvb

unfortunately, so I can't express an opinion on your cuisine.


Yes, generally italy is a lovely place to eat traditional stuff and regional cuisine is very tasty almost in all regions (not particularly in the one I live that is famous for ragu. tagliatelle and tortellini, uhmmpfffff); as for the rest... a pitiful "no comment" is in order.


Linseed trap water, but not as much as psyllo seeds. I don't like particularly that taste of either, maybe toasted?

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

ragu, tagliatelle and tortellini - mmm, I love all those foods, particularly tortellini.


I've had linseeds toasted, on top of Dan Lepard's cheese and linseed scones. I didn't go overboard with the linseeds in case they didn't appeal but they were pretty tasty, actually. The recipe is on his site; lovely but very cheesy.


Kind regards,  Daisy_A



 

pamoreland's picture
pamoreland

Hi:  Chia seeds are available from the "Nuts on-line" website along with other really superior products.


Patti

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi Patti,


This looks like a good lead. Certainly better prices than here in the U.K.


Kind regards, Daisy_A

RiverWalker's picture
RiverWalker

just to throw it out there, I have bought Chia from Nuts Online, and it was the best price I found at the time.  shipped well and even for just 2 pounds of chia and a pound of dried tomatoes(wasn't as keen on those, but I'm not sure thats not just my own taste)  they gave a free gift that was really good. 

pamoreland's picture
pamoreland

Hi:  Just to hop in again re "Nuts Online".  They have the absolutely most incredible dried cranberries. They are almost too good to bake or cook with.  Cranberry nut bread made with them is fantastic.  I also put them in oatmeal along with walnuts and a little maple syrup and cinnamon.


Patti

nicodvb's picture
nicodvb

know the consequences, hence magical stuff is better in the hands of chemistrians than in apprentice sorcerors'. I put my years old lecithin back in the fridge.


As for cakes... our wild yeasts are really surprising: they are slow, but rarely they disappoint us. I've seen many times cakes doughs rising in the oven to surprising levels, even when they seemed to be dead in the bowl after twelve hours of fermentation. Remember my colomba? It's one of those :) and as you know I have a sweet tooth.

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi all,


Wow - so many interesting questions raised by this thread! From Runningknows' query about how to know when best to use sourdough, when to try commercial yeast, to questions about why anyone would want to bake fluffy white bread, to why home bakers can't reproduce white bread just like 'store bought bread'.


Firstly Runningknows I have to take my cap off to you if, guided by Andrew Whitley, you have baked only with sourdough, that is some achievement!


I can't answer with the expertise of many years' baking but as someone on similar part of the curve as yourself. In terms of yeast use I tend to be guided by the recipe and by expert opinion. If there is leeway I would rather use sourdough than commercial yeasts. You ask how you would know what to use, but most recipes and instructions for particular classes of breads tend to be quite explicit about the type of yeasts that are used normally in that type of baking. So obviously mostly sourdough for sourdough breads, but more conventionally yeast for croissants (although there is always a baker who has converted these normally yeasted breads to sourdough).


There are also breads that call for mixed leavens, in which natural yeast is used alongside commercial yeast, as in this bread. Again the method would make this quite clear hopefully. In some cases, however, it is possible to convert a mixed leaven method to pure sourdough. Although I would tend to be guided by what expert bakers are doing, I have converted a mixed leaven Jan Hedh recipe to sourdough with some success.


Why do people want to bake fluffy white loaves? Reading through texts on TFL I have to asy this has a lot to do with culture and memory, although I would say that, as these are two of my fields of study ;-). However looking at by txfarmer , on how white breads are a key part of some Asian cultures I don't think this is too farfetched. This thread  is a good place to look for recipes for fluffier bread made with more natural ingredients, although txfarmer herself states that she now favours sourdough.  I also think the consumption of white bread is a key part of American and British contemporary cultures also and this is reflected on other threads, such as this one.


White bread abounded when I grew up and so I'm heartily thankful that I had Hovis wrapped around my cheese and pickle sandwiches! However I do know of British ex-pats who have Wonder Bread style loaves shipped out to them as a 'taste of home'. My guess is that this is to do with childhood memories as well as memories of the 'homeland'. A lot of posts on TFL are also asking 'where are the breads of yesteryear?'


Let's be honest, sometimes the things that trigger our childhood memories are not quite as elegant as Proust's 'petite madeleine'. For me it wouldn't be white bread but it would be cheap sweets - sherbert lemons, sherbert dip dabs - not good for you at all but compelling! Weird because I scarcely have a sweet tooth at all now. Although truth be told Nico your colomba was one of the things that drew me to TFL not only because I have dear Italian friends but also because it is also candy for the eyes!


Re the childhood pull, if rye bread was your childhood treat then you're ahead in the nutrition stakes, but at least two generations of Brits and Americans have been brought up predominantly on white bread. There are so many posts on TFL that reveal a longing for bread like 'that from the store' as well as those that praise sourdough. I might be projecting onto your friends and others but maybe if my lunch had been made lovingly from peanut butter, jelly and Wonder Bread, I might long for it too. I don't think these things can be shifted that easily.


But the last question - why can't we produce white sandwich bread just like the store's no matter how much we love to experiment at home?! That is really the easiest question to answer. It's because as home bakers we don't have ready access to the 19+ chemicals that it requires to replicate that type of bread.


I don't want to cross post but I've posted a list of some, not even all, of the actual ingredients of a Wonder Bread sandwich loaf on this thread. Really one would need a very big basket to carry home all that 'pixie dust' plus a shed in the garden to carry out chemical experiments in order to replicate this level of chemical intervention at home. This is not just about the addition of one or two naturally occurring ingredients.


There are all sorts of leads on TFL on how to cook white doughs, and when it's been part of an established cultural tradition (Chinese bao, Spanish bollo), I've enjoyed cooking white doughs more than I might have imagined as a dedicated Chorleywood bread hater.


However replicating store bought sandwich bread at home is no more going to happen that me going into my kitchen and whipping up a bag of sherbert dip dabs. Apologies to your friends, Nico. I emphathise with their longings but bread. Whiter, fluffier bread might be possible but bread just like the store's in composition is a chemical laden dream. Further to the discussion about safety, although most of the ingredients in Wonder Loaf sandwich bread are reading up as being passed as safe by food agencies, sorbic acid is already of concern as a potential carcinogen and claims have been made that not only does high fructose corn syrup interfere with hunger mechanisms, thus encouraging obesity, but in some cases it has also been found to be contaminated with mercury. These claims are being made in respected publications such as Environmental Health referring to tests carried out be ex-FDA officials, as reported here.


So where to go - we can try different traditional white doughs, we can stick with sourdough but maybe, like we so often do on TFL we can also celebrate our ability to move away from such chemically-laden breads?  This is not about cooking or praising just one type of bread. I love the diversity of breads baked by TFL bakers. I'm just not keen on mercury as a potential bread ingredient!


Anyway I'll end by wiishing everyone happy baking and fruitful exploration.  Kind regards,  Daisy_A

nicodvb's picture
nicodvb

you attribute me:)


After all we are all making our minds that it's better committing to really improve what we can do well  rather than doing something corrupt pretending it's better.

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi Nico,


Thanks for the message. I fully get what you are saying about improving what we do well rather than pretending things that have been corrupted are better. I know you make great breads, far better than mine - they've been a real inspiration. Like I say your colomba with poolish was one of the things that persuaded me I wanted to be part of this site :-)


I also think that on TFL we are all dedicated to celebrating the sharing of bread and would rather do this than rage against corrupted breads. However I also think it's hard to go against mass advertising and cultures that have promoted additive dependent white bread for so long.


In our house we love rye sourdough, the kind you praise in your post. However I'm currently working on a milder wheat and white sourdough to share with family members who much prefer whiter breads. We'll see how that goes. I'm sure there are many delicious white breads to be made too.


Please believe me, I'm not trying to project this all onto you! Making and sharing good food is a responsibility as well as a joy but it's down to us all in the end.


Kind regards,  Daisy_A


P.S. Apologies for typos in the earlier message. I can't seem to edit the message now.


 

EvaB's picture
EvaB

its been available a lot longer than the altered corn or soy has, so think that they are throwing the baby out with the bathwater there.


Its supposed to help with the plaque problem in arteries etc, and is really a useful item. I don't use it for baking, but do use PAM spray for non stick cooking, most of which is now Canaol oil based which I don't use, because I'm allergic to canola, can't stand the taste (its not tasteless like advertised) and it causes wheezing in my lungs. So getting a non stick spray means reading the cans.


Further while gentic modification is not the way I think things should be, have you ever thought that the grains we now have have been genetically altered from the original 10,000 year old ones? Natural selection is a form of genetic modification, you pick the grains on what grows best in the area you live, the same for all seeded items, peas etc. Tibetian barley is a high altitude, short season, short stem barley, and is gentically different to the barley grown in other areas, while having some gentics in common it has a gene or two that allows it to grow in a high altitude short colder season area.


 


 

ananda's picture
ananda

I'm so with you on producing a totally diverse range of breads..without chemicals.


Please correct me if I'm wrong, but lecithin, in its raw form, has not been generally available in the UK...I am happy to be corrected on this.


EvaB, yes I appreciate your comments about grain selection.   However, if you engage in discussion with certain groundbreaking individuals, such as John Letts and Colin Tudge, and a number of other academics in the UK concerned particularlarly about biodiversity issues, you come to realise that this grain selection has been counter-productive, in many ways.   It has come to the point now, in the UK, where many traditional varieties of wheat, long used for breadmaking, roof thatching, and a number of other uses, are now deemed to be illegal, as they do not appear on the "approved list", as condoned by the UK Govt. and by the EU.   Trading in these grains is actually a criminal offence!   So, really how barmy are we?   Unfortunately, very few people are waking up to how much things have to change if we are to feed 11 billion people on the planet, as projected, by the year 2050.   And, just for good measure, oil production has already peaked, and land which has been bombarded with fertiliser for the last 60 years is fast growing very tired.   If only it was as simple as grain selection, or GMO.


Very complex issues, and things really do have to change.   John Letts is an American living and baking in Oxford UK.   He and Colin Tudge are the most interesting people I have had the pleasure of listening to in academic debate about the way we can move forward by producing sustainable food.   Of course, emulsifiers won't be playing any sort of role in this; whether lecithin, or datem ester, sodium stearate, or anything else!


Best wishes


Andy


 

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi Andy, Hi All,


A diverse range of great breads, without chemical additives. Sounds great. It must be possible too, as bakers have been doing this for over a thousand years :-)


Daisy_A

EvaB's picture
EvaB

that biodiversity isimportant, so you should be lobbying against such a list. Blogging, getting others in the know etc. That is the only way things are going to change, if those in the know get out and spread the word, debating among oneselves is ok, but counterproductive because you know the problem, you have to get out and get the rest of the world involved.


As someone said the best source of lethecin is in egg yolks, and they are trying to make us cut down on eggs (bad for your cholesteraol which is what the egg yolk fixes) then they say "oh we might have made a mistake with the low fat, no egg diet" but in tiny letters on the back pages because the huge diet industry is out there screaming "DON'T EAT FAT" and since they have tons of money for advertising, have you seen the ads at least 3 an hour on tv and that's a news channel, they win.


Same as the pharmcuticals, they have things that work for many problems, but since they are not patentable (long in use, food etc) they ignore any suggestion that anything might work, and go find some "cure" that is worse than the disease and then wind up having to recall it because its causing some other problem. Avandia for diabetics comes to mind, works for the diabetes but caused more heart problems.


If we don't get the word out about things like this, then it simply goes on and on.

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi EvaB,


I really get what you are saying about genetic modification, how current GM crops are not the way to go but how it's fascinating to think about how grains have developed genetically over many, many years to thrive in their local environments.


Garden Organic, which is a pro-organic organization in Britain but which also does support work in developing countries, has trial tested diverse local varieties of grain in areas where GM and other modified crops have been planted. Over time the local varieties coped far better during periods of drought and insect attack that the crops that had been artificially modified in just one generation. Sadly in India and other places local varieties of crops are being taken out to make way for modified crops that are likely to do less well in the long run. Also farmers cannot 'seed save' the new varieties, according to long term tradition, but have to buy them in every season, which is incredibly difficult for poorer farmers.


Garden Organic also has a seed heritage library for seeds local to different areas of Britain. Their peas in particularly have done brilliantly in our garden. You have to join a club to receive them though as it is illegal to buy and sell some of the varieties!


Kind regards,  Daisy_A

EvaB's picture
EvaB

my Grammy and mom are both gone,they'd be out picketing if they lived in India. they saved seeds and so forth.


Yes that type of GMO is not good, they had some poor farmer here in Canada up in court because he "stole" Dow Chemicals round up ready grain seed. He said he didn't steal anything, he simply saved his seed as usual, his neighbour had planted the stuff, and he hadn't and he wound up with the round up ready stuff although its was not supposed to spread like that! Yeah right what made them think that it wouldn't???


I have a seed bank that I buy several varieties of seed from and am happy to support them, so far haven't run on to any that are illegal and would be out trying to change that silly law. What a crock and why would they be illegal if you planted them before. Track back and find out who sponsered that bill and got the money from the lobbiest to do it.

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi EvaB,


Thanks for the message. Your grammy and mom sound like great women! Thankfully there was a lot of protest about what was happening in India. There was also a lot of protest against the proposed planting of GM crops in the U.K. Mercifully they were banned for many years but the European Union is now looking at allowing GM maize to be grown here.


That Canadian case you give is incredible. That was part of protesters' arguments here - that some contested hybrid and non-sterile GM seeds would spread and contaminate neighbouring fields. Companies producing seed said they wouldn't! I have also read that this is happening in Mexico that new maize monocultures are destroying biodiversity by pushing out and cross pollinating with long standing traditional varieties that can be seed saved.


How do and plants seeds get banned in Europe? Sometimes they are genuine pests like Japanese knotweed. You must have that sort of ban also? However with traditional seeds it's really cynical. Big agribusinesses have moved on from patenting and registering seeds that they have developed themselves to registering seeds that have been in free circulation for hundreds and thousands of years and marking them down for their sole use. It then becomes a criminal act for other people to trade in them.


Seed banks in this country get round this by asking people for a 'subscription' rather than selling seeds. This is a link to the bank where I got my peas. http://www.ukabc.org/seedawrd.htm. They got this award in 1998 when there were 700 seeds on the banned list, but my guess would be that there are more now.


I also remember reading that companies could register uses for the seeds/plants also. I think I read that one big crisp company registered the Golden Wonder potato for their own trade but also for growing and cooking. So if I had bought this variety that would have been legally available to my grandparents, sold some on, planted some and eventually made chips out of them I would have committed 4 different crimes! As Andy says some ancient varities of British wheat are on the banned list, making them difficult to recover for today's purposes.


However people are protesting this and there are lobbying groups working to try to change things.


Kind regards,  Daisy_A


 

EvaB's picture
EvaB

that there are people protesting this sort of idocy. I do know they tried to patent the jasmine rice or basmati one or the other, and it got ruled that they couldn't patent the rice because it was a traditional type that had been grown for hundreds of years, they could patent a new variety but not an older already in use food. So wonder how they got around that in the UK, someone wasn't watching, maybe a class action suit against the companies would be one way to go.


How rediculous to say you can't save seed, make chips or give or sell seed away! Dim bulbs the lot of them, if they want to live off soy fake everything then let them go to Japan.

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi EvaB,


Yes, idiotic isn't it? I remember that about the rice. Felt so good that the shared culture won out in that case. As for the crisp company they won't be doing that any more as they just went bust but many other seeds and plants are still illegal.


As far as I know the law is worked out on a European level so I guess that means Brussels. Often the agribusinesses are transnational so they have big lobbying groups on other continents as well. They build up pressure overseas then start to concentrate on Europe. I think large fees might be involved also so the European government is tempted to give in :-(


We've certainly been protesting these things in the U.K. For example we managed to hold off GM crops for 9 years, but the debate is raising its ugly head again, sadly.


In the meantime I'll also carry on growing my (potentially contraband) heritage peas! 


Kind regards, Daisy_A


 

RiverWalker's picture
RiverWalker

well my 2 cents from what tiny bit of expereience I had trying sourdough...


I didn't get to a point where I could repeatedly, consistently get results I liked with my sourdough,  while there was a difference in taste... I was not sold that it was enough difference to be worth the hassle.


personally I like the reliability and consistence in results from commercial yeast.


but if you are getting results you like, consistently, I would say the only time you should bother with commerical yeast is when you want to make something especially delicate, or especially heavy.  (croissants, brioche, ect)  or generally something where the more-generic taste of the commercial yeast, would be preferable.    

runningknows's picture
runningknows

Had no idea I'd touch off such a cool debate!  I guess my thing is that in all of the bread recipes I've seen (Whitley, Reinhart, et al.) they tend to use both starters and commercial yeast (esp. when making a sponge).  I've seen good results just using 50 g of my "production" starter for the sponge and 100g for dough and then adding enough flour to achieve the correct % hydration.  My proofing times tend to be a bit slower than I would get with the instant stuff but this usually suits my schedule better.  I was just wondering if commercial yeast adds something (good or bad) when you use it.  As far as the congrats from everyone, thanks SO much, but if I've seen far its because I've stood on the shoulders of giants (plus the natural yeast lurking in the rye flour I get from my local co-op must be on steroids)!  It seems so magical to produce bread from nothing but flour, salt, and yeast!

Mebake's picture
Mebake

Hi, nicodvb


I have been baking fluffy breads lately, with commercial yeast and sourdough starter.


I found that the key methods to obtain a fluffy crumb in any home baked bread are:


1 - Be gentle with Initial mixing (no tearing)


2 - Adding salt after 30 min. of mixing yeast, and adding rest of the salt during folding.


3 - Gentle stretching Folding at least once.


4 - Preshaping and shaping with minimal dough handling


5 - High initial heat (450F) , and even baking all round the loaf with steam.

hanseata's picture
hanseata

Funny, how discussions sometimes lead way off the original question (I couldn't agree more with you, Andy and Daisy)....


I am very pragmatic, when I have a great working recipe I use it, whether it's pure sourdough, mixed leaven or just with commercial yeast. Though I like sourdough breads very much, there are some bread ingredients that don't agree with the tang of sourdough. I tried a German Buckwheat bread first with a biga and then with a sourdough starter. The sourdough version was plain awful.


Karin


 

kolobezka's picture
kolobezka

By coincidence I also made two loaves with buckwheat flour last week. The acidity of the pure sourdough version overhelmed any buckwheat flavor. The yeast version was better ( I followed Bertinet´s recipe with slight modifications) but I would  welcome more pronounced flavour.


Could you give me a tip with your German buckwheat formula, please


thanks


zdenka

hanseata's picture
hanseata

Zdenka, you inspired me to work on that recipe again. When I tried it 2 years ago, I wasn't 100% satisfied with the flavor (with biga) and wanted to up it a bit. Therefore I used a medium sourdough in my next version and was so annoyed with the much too sour taste, that I buried the recipe.


I like buckwheat and I was always planning to work on this recipe again. I just went over it, compared it with the original in my old German baking book and saw some mistakes I made (not enough hydration), wrong temperature.


I will try it again tomorrow, using a soaker, but stretch and fold technique. If the bread turns out nice, I will post it and include it in my repertoire.


Karin