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Tumminia and Pane Nero di Castelvetrano

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ananda's picture
ananda

Tumminia and Pane Nero di Castelvetrano

Tumminia and Pane Nero di Castelvetrano

Back at the beginning of June, one of my Bakery students, Giuseppe, took a two month period of work experience in a Patisserie in his native town, Catania, in Sicily.

A couple of months earlier, Alison and I had, regrettably, decided not to make our annual summer trip to Crete, this year.   As an alternative, we decided to take a week’s holiday in NW Scotland at Easter, and embark on a week’s adventure in Sicily during the October half term.   We have booked a lovely top floor apartment in a town house overlooking the old harbour in Castellammare del Golfo in the North West corner of the island.

A few kilometres south west of here is the town of Castelvetrano.   Giuseppe had already wet my appetite for exploring the native bread scene, as you can imagine.   Not only that, but the BBC Radio Four Food Programme broadcast a 2 week special on the regional food of Sicily, around about this time.   I did some further searching to get more detail of regional bread specialities.

I came across Pane Nero di Castelvetrano, which is discussed in reasonable detail on the Slow Food website here: http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=it&u=http://www.slowfoodsciacca.it/pag_ge.asp%3Flingua%3Dita%26link%3D122&ei=Kl5FTqndOYSk8QPrs9y2Bg&sa=X&oi=translate&ct=result&resnum=9&sqi=2&ved=0CG4Q7gEwCA&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dpane%2Bnero%2Bdi%2Bcastelvetrano%26hl%3Den%26qscrl%3D1%26nord%3D1%26rlz%3D1T4DKUK_enGB309%26biw%3D1154%26bih%3D400%26site%3Dwebhp%26prmd%3Divns

I asked Giuseppe what he knew about this bread before he flew out to Sicily.   He knew a bit about it, mainly that the bread is made only with local flour which is famous, and, increasingly, rare.   It is from a variety of durum wheat grown only in this particular region of Sicily.   Given Catania is on the eastern coast of Sicily, it was not certain whether Giuseppe would be able to obtain any of this flour, however, he promised to have a go.

I then began a discussion with nicodvb to find out more about the Pane Nero di Castelvetrano, as well as taking a look at some YouTube videos, such as this one:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KJyAqGnybE8    The bread is made using a leaven system.   The flour mix is 80% local and refined semolina durum, described as “blonde grain”.   I believe this will be the equivalent grind to “rimacinata”, if I’m not wrong.   The other 20% of the flour is from the tumminia durum wheat grain, which is milled quite coarsely, and is a wholegrain flour.   Nico explained that the tumminia flour is revered on account of the sweet aftertaste imparted in the finished bread.   Some pictures of the flour are shown below.   The character of a wholemeal semolina is quite evident:

The reference to the dark colour seems more to do with baking the bread hot in a wood-fired oven, rather than using a particularly wholesome grist.   So, the authentic version has a darkened crust rather than a brown crumb.   My version of the bread isn’t that well-fired, but more on the baking calamity later; I had a bit of a nightmare with my electric oven….yet again!

Mid way through Giuseppe’s work placement, I received an e-mail from his girlfriend.   It seemed that he was being worked so hard that he was unsure whether he could get out to find the tumminia flour.   However, there was quick re-assurance that he was really enjoying the work and learning a lot.   Later on I exchanged e-mails with Giuseppe, when he contacted me to say his boss had driven out specially to get hold of the flour for us.   A couple of weeks later and Giuseppe returned to the UK to discover I had left College.   We have been meeting regularly since then as he is now very focused on setting up his own bakery/patisserie in the region.   Watch this space, as I am happy to be playing an active role in this adventure.

Nico sent me a message recently asking me how the bread had turned out using the tumminia flour which Giuseppe had brought back.   I had been so busy with leaving College, and putting the Powburn Show bread together, [see: http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/24576/%E2%80%9Cnine-show%E2%80%9D] so I had not had time to use the flour and bake a Pane Nero di Castelvetrano.

First task was to refresh my leavens.   In doing this I decided to alter the formula I had planned and agreed with Nico.   You will all know how much I love rye, and I suddenly hit on the idea of using a small amount of rye sour in this mix, in place of a portion of the wheat leaven.   I came up with 25% wheat and 6% dark rye to make up the portion of flour which has been pre-fermented.   I thought about how to mimic the “blonde” semolina grain [80% of the flour mix].   I came up with 54% Carrs Special CC strong bread flour and 20% Gilchesters Organic Ciabatta/Pizza flour which is grown locally, and therefore much lower gluten quality.   The tumminia flour was added as the remaining 20% of total flour as noted in the Slow Food instructions.   Hydration was set at 68%, and salt 1.8%.   The formula and recipe are laid out in table format below:

Material

Formula [% of flour]

Recipe [grams]

Wheat Levain

25 flour; 15 water

250 flour; 150 water

Rye Sourdough

6 flour; 10 water

60 flour; 100 water

Carrs Special CC

29

290

Gilchesters Ciabatta/Pizza Flour

20

200

Tumminia Flour

20

200

Salt

1.8

18

Water

43

430

TOTAL

169.8

1698

% pre-fermented flour

31

-

% overall hydration

68

-

FACTOR

10

-

 

Method:

  • The Rye Sour had 2 refreshments and the Wheat Levain had 3.
  • I soaked  the Tumminia flour in all the final dough water for one hour.
  • Subsequently, I combined all the remaining ingredients with this soaker and the pre-ferments and mixed the dough for 10 minutes by hand.
  • Bulk fermentation was 3 hours, with S&F after 1 and 2 hours
  • I made one large loaf, so moulded the entire dough round, and placed upside down in prepared banneton.
  • Final Proof was also 3 hours.
  • Given that the oven decided to blow up 15 minutes into the baking, there is little point in describing a recommended bake procedure.   I darted around the village and after another 10 minutes found a neighbour returning home.   She agreed to bake the loaf the remaining time in her oven.   It took another hour from cold, but the final result was quite acceptable.
  • I brought the loaf home and cooled it on a wire.

 

Some photographs of the finished loaf:

 

The final loaf is very bold; for a dough weight of very nearly 1.7kg, baked in the circumstances described, the end result is very pleasing.   The crumb is very even and moist to the point of sparkling.   The flavour is actually intense, but not at all sour.   A real eating pleasure!

To Nico and Giuseppe: many thanks to both of you for your support and encouragement in helping me to create this wonderful loaf of bread.

All good wishes

Andy

Comments

varda's picture
varda

The thought of you dashing through the streets looking for an oven is just too much.   But you found one and baked your bread with such special flour and such wonderful support in helping you to source it.   Talk about inspiring stories!    A great story for a great bread!  -Varda

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Varda,

I'd already been round 5 of my neighbours' houses to no avail.

It was just a stroke of luck that I went out again as one of them arrived home.

The down side, of course, is that I don't have an oven in my kitchen that works right now!?

Many thanks for your kind words

Best wishes

Andy

Mebake's picture
Mebake

Nice Trip, and story, Andy! The base of the final bread has spread somewhat.. an obvious result of a stalled bake.

Nice Save, though.. I have tried baking with Semolina once, and the result wasn't encouraging.

 

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Khalid,

Being honest, I expanded the photo of the whole loaf once I'd uploaded from flickr to the blog post.   The effect was to elongate the loaf.

However, the true boldness is quite evident in the crumb shots.   I was pleased as punch with the oven spring, considering the baking conditions the loaf was subjected to.   Actually, I had expected the loaf to spread just as you described.

And, you are right, durum is not easy to bake with.   I'm pleased with the volume of the loaf, the flavour and taste, and the evenness of the cell structure.   For all that, and I'm going to borrow a txfarmer phrase here, it's not exactly "shreddable".   Still, 49% of the total flour in the formula is low in gluten quality.   I'm really happy with the boldness and the general eating in the loaf.

All good wishes

Andy

 

nicodvb's picture
nicodvb

Andy, it seems that all your tribulations paid you back in the best of ways!  A very nice crumb, really flawless. The marriage of rye and durum is particularly happy, as I already verified countless times.

The colors are not as dark as I expected, but this is a marginal aspect. Do you feel the sweet aftertaste that this bread is famous for?

Just two days ago I found a paper comparing the various varieties of sicilian durum wheat. Well, all of them ranged between W 33 (Timilia itself) and W 150 with P/L from 1.50 to 4.03 (once more Timilia). I'd say that making bread with that flour is a REAL challenge! Even more glory to your baking abilities:-)

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Nico,

Many thanks for all your encouragement, and for adding such important knowledge to this project.

Actually, having enjoyed eating quite a bit of this bread throughout the day, I have to say that I'm more than happy with the full flavour coming from the crust.   I know it should be darker, but, given the hazardous baking situation, this has turned out lovely.

Many thanks for publishing your findings on the anticipated Alveograph tests.   I would agree with your published information.   But, I think we worked through that in a pm.   There is 51% strong white bread flour in the formula, plus some weak refined English white flour and the Tummilia, and a smidgeon of Dark Rye.   I went for the Rye as a sour just to try and achieve a little extensibility, as well as flavour.   Also, I did develop the dough, but very gently, I have to say.   I used 3 hours of bulk and 3 hours final proof.   The dough had little difficulty in tolerating this long amount of time.   Here we go again...the joys of using a properly developed wheat levain with good quality flour, as a stiff dough!   I'm pretty sure the formula is just about spot-on.   A really small increase in hydration, perhaps??   But, over 70% would be too much, I'm sure of that.   51% strong and 49% weaker flours is a challenge, for sure; I love the result, given the character and quality of all the flours in the mix.   It's not an authentic Sicilian bread at all, but it's one that would stand up, I'm confident of that.

Very best wishes

Andy

lumos's picture
lumos

Very enticing looking crust and crumb, Andy. And the lovely story to accompany it. Thank you for sharing. I've only been to eastern and central parts of Sicily, but the western part has been on our 'Place to go someday' list.  I love Italian food in general, but Sicilan food is my favourite among their regional cooking, because so different from other parts of Italy, both the way they cook and the combinations of ingredients.  Hope you had a  time to enjoy their specialities, too, apart from tasting all the breads you could lay your hand on! ;) 

Can I ask you to elaborate in what way the flavour was 'intense,' please? 

Also (you should by now have got to used to my endless quetions...:p) , do you know how ciabatta/pizza flour is different from 00 flour or other strong/bread flour?  Shipton's has their ciabatta flour, too, and I know theirs is lower protein than other 'bread' flours they do, but other than that the miller wasn't very clear how different it was from others.  If I remember correctly, he said it was milled/blended(?) in a way it would be more suitable for making ciabatta or pizza than Italian oo flour....which means not much to me. :p

best wishes,

lumos

nicodvb's picture
nicodvb

Of course, Lumos, that you prefer sicilian cuisine over the others: it IS the best. Few other regional cuisines can compare, for example that of Piemonte.

 

lumos's picture
lumos

Oooh, Andy, watch your back!  You know how every Italian is proud of their regional cooking, especially cooked by their mamma and nonna.  Run!!!  :p

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi lumos,

Nico is not from Sicily; I guess he's just being honest.

I am genuinely upset by Giuseppe's report of his trip to Sicily and the trend to eat fluffy white bread.   BUT, hey, let's just continue to celebrate good bread here in the UK.   Think this through...a blog post on an American homebaking website by a Brit, producing  a traditional peasant bread with help and support from 2 native Italians.

Fantastic

Andy 

lumos's picture
lumos

Oh, no, Andy,  I didn't mean Nico (I know where she's from. ;)) or any other friendly TFLers from Italy or with Italian heritage but lots of lurkers there must be and are unknown to us......:p

I love the food in Tuscany and Venizia, too, and I can think of at least one dish  I really liked from every region I've been to (not that I've been to many, I must admit), but Sicilian is just so special to me.  They love raw sea urchins and bottarga, too,  just like we Japanese! .....though my decorater who also came from Sicily told me neither of them is really Sicilian's 'daily food' because they're so expensive. He said he's eaten bottarga first time in his life when he came to England.

My friend's husband came from Catania, too,  and we're not allowed to sit next to each other anymore when we're both invited to  dinner at our mutual friends' houses, because all through dinner, we just can't stop talking about nothing but  foods, most of the times just ignoring everyone else on the table, unless they're talking about foods.  :p 

Joking aside, it's true it's not often you encounter really good, traditionally made bread in Italy. I've been to Italy, probably, 6-7 times but come to think of it, I don't really have a memory of having such bread, except for a few exceptions and  all of them were made with sweet dough with some topping or filling we had at breakfast in hotels (and I do not have a sweet tooth, so they were really good).  I think I tend to be too pre-occupied with the food to which bread accompanied, I usually not that  bothered even if the bread was boring (Blasphemy!!) .  To be honest, I rarely eat bread served in Italian restaurants, either in Italy or  in UK,  unless it's reputed to be very good or looks really good.

Anyway....a picture of you runnning around with the half-baked dough to get to an usable oven is just like the olden days when housewives took their dough to their local bakery or charcoal burner's lodge to use their oven.  Very traditional....:p

 

 

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi lumos,

I will try to expand further on the organoleptic qualities you ask about.

The crumb is bold with an even cell structure, just sufficiently open for this type of bread.   It is not dry, and has a good chewiness about it, without it being hard work in the mouth.   Nico makes reference to a sweetness in the aftertaste, thanks to the tummilia flour.   That is evident.   So too is the flavour of rye.   A great combination, of course.   The wheat levain was strong and well proofed, but not over-ripe.   The rye sour is added in small amount only, so the bread has virtually no sourness to it.

What is really pleasing is the flavour from the crust.   Obviously, I have not been able to stay truly authentic here, given the bake conditions the loaf was subjected to.   Firstly, the loaf weighed in well on the way to 2kg!   It had been in the oven for nearly 15 minutes when the oven gave up on me, with steam.   I then left it in the dying oven as I ran around searching for an alternative heat source.   I believe this is why it has opened up around only 1 of the 4 cuts.

Still, from there, the crust has developed beautifully.   The photographs I have uploaded are far from perfect, but they do show the quality in the crust.   Ordinarily, the crust for this loaf would be very dark.   I'm going to settle for the result I achieved this way; the loaf could so easily have ended up as a very large piece of semi-baked dough, destined for the rubbish bin only!!

Your second question is quite complex.   Please note that the Gilchesters Ciabatta/Pizza flour is just a finer grind/lower extraction rate of their white flour.   Gilchesters is the very opposite of the Shipton "00" you describe.   It is not a blend, it is a single strain of organic sativa wheat, sourced from Switzerland and grown in Northumberland.   You get whatever the grower has managed to grow.   Given I say Northumberland, you can imagine that the growing conditions to produce "strong" flour are not at all ideal.   Relatively high in protein, yes!   Straw-coloured, as oppose to very white, also, yes, indeed!   But produced to a certain specification, in terms of expected dough performance?   No, not at all!   Skill and knowledge of the baker here; that has to count.   I believe Nico's comments suggest the same is true for the tummilia too!?

Actually, I suspect that both Shipton and Doves Farm will use a portion of durum wheat in the grist used for their flours..."00" for the former and the pasta flour that you blogged on for the latter!   I gather that Shipton source the wheat for their "00" largely from Australia.   That makes sense, as that wheat is quite soft, but has relatively good gluten quality, although of reduced quantity.   Combine this with the high protein durum and you probably have a reasonable balance.   The bottom line, however, is that "00" is a measure of the ash cotent, and generally can therefore only indicate that the flour is virtually moribund in terms of its vitamin and mineral contribution.   Bring on the Dark Rye and the Tummilia!

Every good wish

Andy

lumos's picture
lumos

Thank you so much for your detailed explanation. Much appreciated. I'm really attracted with the beautiful colour of the crumb, which, I'm guessing, came from the special flour you used. So did the flavour.  I'd really love to challenge making bread with durum flour, but having read an expert like you saying it's difficult flour to handle, I think I'd better push back  the plan a little bit farther awasy.... But some day....;)

I've never used Shipton's 00 flour because for pasta I always use the ones imported from Italy, so I really don't know what their 00 is like.  But they also have Ciabatta flour (on their site, it says "First produced in Northern Italy as a rough flour suitable for Ciabatta bread", so I've been wondering if it's just milled more coarsely but with same wheat, or if it's different kind of wheat altogether or if it's blended with something else, like rye (I've noticed some flours sold as 'ciabatta flour' contain rye in the blend).  I have used their Ciabatta flour once, actually, but that was in my very early days of my more-serious breadmaking (pre-bug-infection era) and my results were so inconsistent anyway at best of times , so I couldn't really tell delicate difference between each flour at all.

 

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi lumos,

Very interesting that both Shipton Ciabatta and "00" flours are labelled as Italian on their website.   Obvious implication that both are sourced from local grain??!   I wonder.

The thinking behind using coarser grind in the ciabatta is more commonplace.   For all that, I am more familiar with using a coarse grind of semolina as a small portion of the grist along with a mid protein "tipo 00" flour.   Andrew Whitley adds the tiniest amount of rye sour in with the biga as a pre-ferment.   It works well.

The Gilchester Coarse Semolina as a small addition along with their Ciabatta flour is great.   But I use biga at 50% of total flour, and that made out of strong white!   Quite different to what the Shipton website is driving towards.

All good wishes

Andy

Franko's picture
Franko

Hi Andy,

As Kahlid says "nice save" for a great looking loaf with an interesting formula. Really amazing looking crumb!  Well I have to ask about your WFO not being used for this bread. This bread is such a natural candidate for a WFO I'm guessing there's some sort of issue involved with using it.

Is the leaven from the traditional formula a standard wheat leaven or is it one that uses durum in whole or part? The formula is a great find and kudos to you for unearthing it and sharing it with the rest of us. Makes you wonder how many others are out there that aren't commonly known outside their regions in Italy alone.

Somehow I don't think I'll ever run across Tumminia on this side of the pond, but if Marie and I ever get back to Europe I'll be lobbying for at least some time in Italy. Till then I'll just admire this splendid loaf of Pane Nero di Castelvetrano that you've baked.

Best Wishes,

Franko

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Franko,

let's say I'm worried about "neighbourhood issues" with the wood-fired ovens.   I shouldn't be so sensitive, as my neighbour can be totally unreasonable in other ways, but it is not that easy.   A day's work from an expert would probably make the situation right, and I think it has to happen too, given that I am currently "unemployed", too!

But, of course, you are totally right.   This is a really special loaf, and it should be baked in a wood-fired oven for true authenticity.   It is a poor show that I did not do this, given I've put so much time, effort and money into building my own brick oven!!!

You won't find tumminia in Canada.   It's only grown in a certain part of Sicily.   From what Giuseppe tells me, it's future could well be threatened too.   I do so hope this gloomy forecast turns out to be totally wrong

I believe the leaven in the traditional formula would utilise the "blonde grain".  I simply tried to combine a tiny bit of Dark Rye with some strong white flour and some refined Gilchesters flour to produce a reasonable equivalent.   Nico may be the best person to advise on how successful I've been.   He seemed to think I'd balanced out a reasonably accurate formula.

A great pleasure to hear from you, of course

Best wishes

Andy

Franko's picture
Franko

 Regarding WFO issues ,I worry about the same smoke problem when/if I build one for myself. Fortunately we're right near the ocean and the breezes are fairly constant. Our next door neighbours have never complained when I use the smoker but a WFO might be a different matter. We'll see. My apologies if I raised a subject on the backburner for you Andy.

I was really just curious about the traditional leaven formula since it wasn't mentioned on the SlowFood site, not questioning your successful approximation at all. Nico is so great about sharing his local knowledge of these regional breads to be able to give you an idea of how to proceed with a bread you have no previous experience with. That was my experience during the Altamara project, as I'm sure it was for you with the Pane Nero di Castelvetrano. I don't think there's a better person to ask for their local knowledge combined with advanced baking knowledge and interest, for reliable advice on these regional Italian breads.

All the best,

Franko

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Franko,

You know I never discussed the authenticity of leaven in this bread with Nico.

I just took it for granted that the original loaf would utilise the equivalent of "biga naturale".   That was the basis for the formula, and Nico seemed to think it was right.   However, I do own up to adding in the small amount of Rye Sour as an afterthought!

Plans are in place to work on the wood-fired oven in early September!   I'll have to sort out the electric oven well before then, of course!!!

Your positive comments are always welcome, and you have no need to apologise Franko.

Many thanks for writing here, and very best wishes to you

Andy

breadsong's picture
breadsong

Hello Andy,
How fortunate that your friend was able to bring your some of that special, rare flour so you could make your Pane Nero di Castelvetrano! And what a great job you did with it, even with the problem with the oven!
Thank you for featuring this regional bread of Sicily :^)
Hopefully when you travel to Sicily, you will be able to find more special flour(s) to bring home.
I took a peek at the podcast list for the BBC Radio 4 Food Programme, and found an interesting podcast way down near the bottom of the list, called "Pasta and the wonders of durum wheat" - very interesting to hear the history of durum wheat farming in Sicily, and the Altamura region. There's another podcast I've yet to listen to, called "Food and the Unification of Italy" which I'm really keen to hear as the podcast discusses Sicily and "...the island's powerful food culture"...really interested in what this program has to say in light of lumos' and nicodvb's comments above re: Sicilian food!
:^) from breadsong

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Breadsong,

Thank you so much for your generous comments, as always.

Since my electric oven is now in pieces, and I have a timetable to upgrade the wood-fired oven at the start of September...maybe that gives me some time to re-visit some of the back issues of the Food Programme?   I don't miss many, that's for sure!

This week's was a detailed look at Scotland's Food Policy.   Hang your head in shame UK govt.!   Just over 3 years ago Gordon Brown's first move as PM was to deliver Foodmatters direct from the Cabinet Office.   A radical move to create joined up food thinking and strategy.   Mr Cameron, where are you now?   I believe Toronto has similar groundbreaking ideas long thought out and formalised.   We're just shafted over here, I'm afraid, unless there is a big re-think about the High Street, and how the Big Society can become a reality...I live in hope!

All good wishes

Andy

codruta's picture
codruta

wonderful bread, andy, and nice story behind it.

Given the weight of the bread, I think the section of the final loaf is really impressive, and like everybody here, I love the thick crackling crust. I guess is hard/impossible to replicate the formula, if tumminia flour is not available, isn't it? Do you think durum semolina could be a possible substitute? For the flavor, at least, cause for autenticity I realise tumminia flour is a must, and without it, the bread just won't be true pane nero di Castelvetrano.

codruta

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi codruta,

Thank you for your kind words.

My own version can only make partial claim to authenticity anyway.   The white flour in the bread should be ground from semolina durum "blonde grain".   This would be the regular white flour used locally in Sicily for traditional breadmaking; I surmise.

I had to come up with my own flour blend here through discussion with Nico.   Also, I used wheat levain and a bit of rye sourdough, although, as Franko points out, the Slow Food site makes no mention of the leavening system used traditionally.

But, I think you are right really: the tumminia is a must, and it's only grown in a small region in Sicily.   I feel very fortunate to have a chance to bake bread with it.

All good wishes

Andy

EvaB's picture
EvaB

I always read your posts adn print them off, I have stacks of printouts and am working on put them into binders! This is all before baking much bread, but then I always research before doing. LOL

However I do like the different breads that are always presented here, and have been following the Dhuram flour Altimura posts with interest.

I am sorry to think that a lovely flour could be lost to the world, because of "improvements" either of the building kind, or the lack of help to grow it, or whatever. They really need to try and save as many traditional breads and flours as possible sort of the Artisan approach to farming!

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi EvaB,

Yes, it's very worrying that the very finest peasant traditions of areas like Sicily are threatened, and that these old and famous breads are being replaced with fluffy white industrial nonsense in its place.

Meanwhile, here in the UK radical moves are underway to re-establish the growing of many types of ancient grains, which have long since been replaced with wheat varieties more suited to industrial output...ie disease resistance and high output, so long as you use lots of chemicals as an integral part of the growing systems.

The wheel turns full circle; very slowly, of course!

Thank you very much for your kind words

Best wishes

Andy

EvaB's picture
EvaB

I dont' know if you followed the big law suit here in Canada over the Genticly modified Canola (rape) that Dow (I think it was them) had modified for use with (damn the chemical evades me) oh roundup, and it was pateneted, and said that is wasn't able to cross the barrier and become mixed with regular canola etc. And some poor farmer had a canola field that he saved seed from (he wasn't growing roundup ready seed either someone down the way was) and the field the next year from his saved seed was unfortunately roundup ready, so the chemical company took him to court for stealing their seed and growing it without their permission.

I can't remember just what happened, but it was a long drawn out fight, and certainly not a good thing for the farming community, just imagine being told you have to buy a certain kind of seed to plant, and not being able to farm the way you want. Its that way in Britain a lot of the time I understand, you can't plant certain types of potatoes etc. Which is bull durham as far as I'm concerned, the chemical compaines and food companies can stay the hell out of my garden!

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi EvaB,

The big problem with GM is that it won't stay out of your garden, whatever your reasoned demands are.   So far we've kept it out of Europe, but there is huge pressure from certain quarters for its introduction.   Still we keep fighting, but these are very big and powerful companies.

Seed varieties of wheat in the UK and EU can now only be grown if they appear on "approved lists".   It is actually an offence to trade grains not considered to be approved.   So if we try to encourage the use of old varieties to improve our biodiversity, there is a big risk of being open to breaking the law...the law remains "an ass" far too frequently, as ever!

Best wishes

Andy

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi Andy,

What a beautiful loaf! Great to see how much skill and knowledge has gone into its baking, let alone some key cross-border collaboration - wonderful!

Best wishes, Daisy_A

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Daisy_A,

Yes it has been a frequent source of inspiration having support from Italain baking colleagues over a number of years.   This goes all the way back to my early years at VB when I worked with an Italian baker, originally from Puglia.   He went on to set up a great little restaurant in Penrith, before heading back to Italy to work with his sister in Florence.   Very sadly an allergic reaction to rye flour forced him out of the baking trade.

I don't know about cross-border only, either.   When my oven packed up so suddenly, it was a case of crossing the road in search of a supportive neighbour!

I'm taking the Baumatic to the Recycling Cenre tomorrow.   On Friday I have a new oven arriving; a SMEG.   I hope it's a better specification, and have vowed to fit a proper baking stone in this to help prolong its shelf life.

Lovely to hear from you.

Very best wishes

Andy

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi Andy,

Cross-road collaboration too - that's one of the best kinds!

Hope the Smeg works well. I do recommend the kiln shelves from Bath Pottery Supplies. I found their customer service to be excellent also

Very best wishes, Daisy

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Daisy_A

Which size did you buy please?

Many thanks

Andy

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi Andy,

I bought 14x10" to fit my small oven. However I got a deeper one - 5/8" thick - for better heat retention. It's been so good I have since thought I might get a thinner for pizza baking, as  I don't have a wfo. However I've had some success doing pizza on a griddle, as my Italian friend's mother does. 

The stone is a bit smaller than the inside of the oven because I read that there has to be at least 1" clearance on all sides of the stone to allow airflow (oven is 17" wide). Because my gas jet is at the back of the oven, the stone stops at the back of the main part of the oven shelf to allow heat to rise, so there is more than 1" clearance at the back.  

Bath Pottery Supplies will also cut to size, though, for much less than most bread stone suppliers, so you buy one customised for your own oven if you need to. Hope you can find something good. Should have said, although you may have found them now, that kiln shelves are under Kiln Furniture at BPS.

Best wishes, Daisy_A

lumos's picture
lumos

Sorry for cutting in. :p

I do recommend a kiln shelf, too, and I have looked at Bath Pottery shop Daisy recommended and they look really great. But you have to pay quite a lot for P & P, so I  searched for a kiln manufacturer in my local area and, surprisingly, found quite a few in a driving distance. All of them said they'd cut the stone to your specification, so I just went to the nearest one from my home, saving P & P.  So I think it's worth looking for an option in your local area, too, before you commit to the Bath one. They had 3 different thickness (1 cm, 2cm, 3cm)  and told me thicker one is weaker against thermal shock (surprisingly...again), so I bought the middle one.

lumos

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi lumos, andy,

I agree a local source would be the best. Probably possible to find something in Northumbria with all the potting that goes on there?

I found I had to buy from a distance so chose my own best option. PnP at Bath doubles the price but as the shelves were half the price of some other online suppliers I found, it was the same in the end and less than petrol money to the nearest suppliers in Stoke.

I have to say if there is no local supplier that Bath pnp is really substantial. I'm not sure if I still have the pictures, but the board came in a box 3-4' high, full of polystyrene and bubble wrap! I looked at recommended European sites and stones costing £60 upwards were arriving broken...

Still I do think local would be best if there's one at hand. I am trying to check my account as I may have got one at 3/4" but couldn't find that option. Had no problem with thermal shock. Hope you get something good. 

Best wishes, Daisy

lumos's picture
lumos

Hi, Daisy,

I think I'd had a look at the same European site as you did, and that's the moment I decided I got to find a local source.  It was at least 4 yrs ago, so I'm sure the price has gone up, but I paid  £22.- for two stones cut to fit my oven. (30 x 40cm)   The price for one stone was something like £14.-, but the guy said the length for two stones was exactly the same as the width of his slab, so if I bought two, he could give me discount (2 for £22.-) because he wouldn't be left with a scrap which he might have to waste.

I was really surprised a kiln manufacturer was so near by because where I live is not an obvious industrial area at all.  I guess I was lucky, but I'm sure almost anyone can find one nearby if I could find it. ;)

Another option for baking stone is granite chopping board you can buy in many supermarkets or kitchen store. I used to use it (upside down, with the rough, unpolished side up)  before I got my kiln shelf. It works perfectly and it's cheap, too. (around £10.-) The only downside is it tends to crack more easily than kiln shelf. But it works great as a pastry board, too, which is how I use mine these days.

If you go for a kiln shelf, make sure it's made of cordierite. It's food safety standard and the only known 'health-hazard' is dropping it on your foot. :p

lumos

 

 

Filipo's picture
Filipo

Hello to All.  Just thought I would add that there is a mill in Castelvetrano that exports flour of the various types of grain grown in Sicily, including Tumminia.  Their site is  http://www.molinidelponte.it/

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Filipo,

Thank you for adding this link.   I did intend to visit the mill when in Sicily recently.   Unfortunately, the weather was awful, and we really did not want to hang around at all.

I have also added the link to my other post here:

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/25735/baking-and-other-october-news

Best wishes

Andy