The Fresh Loaf

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Barm and unsweetened pineapple juce question

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Kroha's picture
Kroha

Barm and unsweetened pineapple juce question

I was exploring BBA today for the first time (I mostly bake from Whole Grain Breads) and was intrigued by rye with sunflower seeds.  It requires barm.  The formula in the book results in 6 cups of barm -- that is a lot!  Is it OK to make less, or is there something sacred about the amount?  I am not sure how often I would use it.


Also, the recommendation is to use an unsweetened pineapple juice for the first couple of days.  Where can you get that?  I found some on-line, but it is in a can and I try to avoid cans because their lining leaches toxic chemicals into the food.  My preference would be for organic, but conventional would also be OK, as long as it is in glass or plastic that is not polycarbonate.  This probably sounds crazy, but I have young kids and try to put as few chemicals as possible in their bodies, even it seems like an uphill battle.


Thank you for your advice on both matters!


Kroha

flournwater's picture
flournwater

I get my unsweetened pineapple juice at the local market.  If you can't' find it on your grocer's shelf you can simply by pineapple packed in it's own juices (with no sugar added) and drain/straing the juice from that.


You can make the barm in BBA in any amount you like, as long as you honor the relative amounts (bakers percentges) of ingredients.

Ford's picture
Ford

Hello Kroha --


You wrote, "I try to avoid cans because their lining leaches toxic chemicals into the food."  I believe you can safely use food in cans that are packed in the US as long as the can tops are not bulging and the "use by" date has not been exceeded.  I am 84 years old and have never experienced a problem from "toxic chemicals" from cans.


 


Ford

rockfish42's picture
rockfish42

There's been a lot of recent journalism about the additive bisphenol-a used in the plastic lining of cans. Consumer Reports just published a study on the amounts found on average in a wide variety of canned foods. Essentially it's an endocrine disruptor that was originally developed as an artificial estrogen. I'd be mostly concerned about exposing pregnant women or younger children to it. Several countries have banned it's use in baby bottles for instance.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bisphenol_A#Health_effects

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Kroha,


When I make a new starter I always use pineapple juice because of the lower pH. The point of all this is that there are bacteria in the air and flour that are far nastier than the infinitesimally small amount of impurity in the can the juice is shipped in. Additionally, the juice is only used for the initial phase of the process. Once the culture is active, you switch to water and within a day or so all traces of juice are lost to the feeding ratio.


I always purchase the small drink size cans in a 6 pack since I use so little of it in the starter. Every time I feed the starter I open a fresh can and drink the remaining amount.


The shocker here is that ford is 84. He must be using his school photo for his profile:>)


Eric

Kroha's picture
Kroha

I might just look for a fresh pineapple at Whole Foods and use freshly squeezed juce. 


RE: cans.  Certainly no one should experience any immediate ill effects from consuming food from cans, as long as they are within their expiration dates.  However, as rockfish42 pointed out, can lining typically contains bisphenol A, which contains phthalates, which have been linked to hormonal changes and a number of serious illnesses.  They are particularly dangerous to fetuses and infants. As I am a nursing mother and have two toddlers, I try to avoid canned foods -- a precaution that is now a standard medical recommendation.  Clearly, not everyone experiences the consequences to their health, but statistically there is enough evidence of harmful effects to spur an advocacy movement both in Europe and in the US.   To my knowledge, the only company in the US that uses lining not contaning phthalates is Eden Organics. 


Again, thank you everyone for your advice.


Best wishes,


Kroha

Yerffej's picture
Yerffej

The cans of 80 years ago and the cans of today are two very different creatures.  I avoid cans....and plastic, and MSG, and aspartame, and high fructose corn syrup.  The mainstream food supply of 2009 is a bit like a horror movie.  Better to stick with simple dishes made with real food.


That's my two cents for today,


Jeff

suave's picture
suave

If I were you I'd buy a pineapple and squeeze some juice myself.  After all every packaging is bad - metal can leach toxic chemicals, plastics definitely do so, even glass is not safe.

Yerffej's picture
Yerffej

"A recent analysis of canned foods revealed that, across the board, the cans contained measurable levels of bisphenol A, also known as BPA, a toxin known to cause hormonal problems, sexual dysfunction, cancer, and other abnormalities. Even among products labeled "BPA-free", tests revealed levels of BPA significant enough to cause problems."


http://www.naturalnews.com/027684_BPA_canned_foods.html

suave's picture
suave

Being a highly-trained professional I consider all such statements from all advocacy groups to be a rubbish.  These particular clowns don't even seem to know what a toxin is.  Or they don't care, which is much worse.  In any case, I don't assume there's an experimental part somewhere there that I could peruse at my leisure?

rockfish42's picture
rockfish42

Being a highly trained professional must make it difficult to use pubmed.gov
Here's a link to the FDA's website with some info on the current controversy
http://www.fda.gov/Food/FoodIngredientsPackaging/ucm166145.htm
A story in the New York Times about it
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/24/dining/24chem.html?_r=1
Here's some more info repudiating the CR article
http://stats.org/stories/2009/Consumer_reports_false_on_BPA_nov2_09.html

If you want I can find you links to the studies for and against the toxicity of bisphenol-a. There doesn't seem to be much consensus yet.

Kroha's picture
Kroha

I did not mean for this forum topic to become a discussion of whether or not particular packaging materials are harmful to consumers.  I stated my beliefs and needs, and am grateful for suggestions.  Everyone makes their own conclusions based on their general attitude towards such issues and on whatever admittedly flawed studies (and individual studies are always flawed) are currently available.  No need for us here to establish "the truth".  I went to Whole Foods today and bought a pineapple.  The juice will be squeezed.  My kids are excited to have their first taste of the fruit.  I would call that a happy ending.


And a special P.S. to suave -- of course, there are no experimental data on the topic, as there could not possibly be random assignment of human beings into experimental and control groups, experimental condition subjecting participants to ingestion of potentially harmful substances.  No IRB would pass that.  There are experimental studies on animals, which you can read if you have access to Pubmed or equivalent database, or a library.


I am also wondering if it is possible to formally close a topic on this site.  I consider my question to be fully answered.


Best wishes,


Yulika