The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Scary science for bread!!!

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Erzsebet Gilbert's picture
Erzsebet Gilbert

Scary science for bread!!!

So, as an amateur baker (though I'm learning), I've had a good deal of fun in a miniature extended chemistry lesson regarding yeast and all its wonders.  Otherwise, though, I have a lifelong lay devotion to cosmology (daughter of an astrophysicist, go figure), and spend hours reading various science news.  However, in the archives of one of my favorite publications, New Scientist, I unearthed this brief article which I find terrifying...  


 http://www.newscientist.com/blog/environment/2008/07/why-global-warming-is-bad-for-bread.html


Apparently, according to some studies last year, rising carbon dioxide in the planet's atmosphere may lead to lower-gluten wheat which in turn leads of course to bread disasters!  Noooo....  I'm so glad I recycle!  Anyhow, I thought this might be interesting to others, too... 

summerbaker's picture
summerbaker

That really is scary!  I really hope that we don't go the "adding more fertilizer" route.  That's the last thing that our ecosystems need!


Summer

Dcn Marty's picture
Dcn Marty

Instead of fertilizer, which has its own problems, why not just interplant legumes with the wheat?  Yes, it might mean some changes in farming technique, but we need to go that route anyway. Just think, maintain wheat gluten while enriching the soil!

Elagins's picture
Elagins

than it will make a decent baguette damn near impossible to find? as if it isn't hard enough already ....


Stan Ginsberg
www.nybakers.com

Erzsebet Gilbert's picture
Erzsebet Gilbert

As if we need more reasons!

Janknitz's picture
Janknitz

My eldest--who is cultivating a fine sense of teenaged iront--makes a comment like "trying to save another polar bear, huh?"


Now I have a new comeback.  Nope, just trying to make sure the bread will still rise. 

Erzsebet Gilbert's picture
Erzsebet Gilbert

You're so right!

suave's picture
suave

What kind of green?  Al Gore or Ruby Rhod? 

suave's picture
suave

Now I won't have to blame my bread disasters on lack of skill and care.  It's global warming!

Erzsebet Gilbert's picture
Erzsebet Gilbert

I've blamed my catastrophes on evil goblins, too.

LindyD's picture
LindyD

There's always two sides to every theory, as pointed out by the BBC

nbicomputers's picture
nbicomputers

with the old german bakers i worked with.


i can here them saying...you say that because the world temp has gone up from 85 to 89 the bread wount rise.  but here in the bakery where its 120 all the time the bread rises just fine.  I think if the bread does not rise its because (looking at me) you F&^$#& up!!!

Erzsebet Gilbert's picture
Erzsebet Gilbert

But then again, our bread emerges from our wheat which emerges from the earth around it...  If anything, the problem just underscores one of the pleasures I find in baking - a sort of interconnection between ourselves and what we eat and its origin in a living planet where our own actions can have lasting effects - we weave into the world with all we do.  Just a philosophical thought...

rainwater's picture
rainwater

There was mention of introducing GMO strands of wheat to compensate....I hope this isn't lobbyed science from the zillion dollar Monsanto companies.  They can manipulate science reports at whim to stimulate the use of their GMO's, and modified seeds. 


Now that we are on the subject.....It's interesting that many of the political detractors to "Global Warming" are now embracing the idea of "Global Warming".  Of course the 'before' detractors are saying it's from the natural seasons of our Globe.  Major government powers are even now staking claims in the North Pole anticipating it's meltdown because of the huge oil deposits known to sit underneath.  Of course "Global Warming" is a natural occurance, but I feel it is also obvious that we, as global populace add to the natural tendency of the globe to "warm up".  It's not so far-fetched to assume that we, technologically, could be responsible for abnormal global warming???


Many don't realize, that before WWll, American population was mostly agricultural. 


If, wheat is environmentally comprimised because of "Global Warming and Rising CO2 levels", then I would venture to say that the decreased rising of our bread will be the "least" of our worries.

Erzsebet Gilbert's picture
Erzsebet Gilbert

I entirely agree!  I think it's naive to forget that as a species we interact inextricably, inevitably, with our environment, and at this industrialized moment in history our impact is vaster than we ever imagined.  You have an extremely good point about the large agricultural companies, too; it's sinister.  Global temperatures may oscillate, but their causes - if generated from natural planetary process or human work - vary as well, and we have to examine ourselves.  Rising bread certainly is a minor worry in comparison with vanishing ice caps and mass extinction - I think perhaps it's simply a miniature demonstration of the consequences of our actions right in the home.  Thanks!