One of the fascinations for me about working with sourdough bread its involvement with symbiotic organisms - yeast and bacteria - in its creation.
Bugs - little creatures - live in, on and all around us. You have 10 X as many organisms - bacteria, yeast and fungi - in your biome than you have cells in your body. Your biome - on your skin, in orifices and your GI tract - takes care of you, helping you digest food, boosting your immune system and keeping you comfortable. There is evidence that our assault on our biomes, with things like anti bacterial soap, disinfectants and anti biotics, has made us more prone to allergies, sickness and depression.
A fellow student at a baking course I did recently had run UC Santa Cruz's experimental farm. She explained that plant biologists are beginning to figure out that the soil biome works symbiotically with plants, nourishing them, protecting them and even helping them communicate. There is even a Canadian company that custom mixes yeasts and bacteria for produce growers to apply to their crops to help them improve yields. This by improving the plants' biome. Cool stuff!
Of course, some bugs (ecoli comes to mind) are truly nasty and we shouldn't forget how miraculous antibiotics are. But, figuring out some middle ground, we should find healthier, happier and more tasty lives.
This Saturday's Bake
This Saturday I am going to bake a seeded wheat bread - the recipe is from Chad Robertson's third Tartine cookbook - which will contain toasted pumpkin, sunflower, flax, black sesame and caraway seeds ina dough made with 30% organic white, 20% fresh ground whole grain and 50% high extraction (that's the flour that has most of the bran retained) flour. Should be tasty.
If you are allergic to any of these seeds, let me know and I will bake a separate, non seeded set of loaves.
Your Canadian Baker