Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Amid Concerns About Heavily Processed Wheat and Gluten, Twin Forks Farm Bread is Worth a Try

Posted By on Wed, May 15, 2013 at 7:38 AM

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As I’ve mentioned before, I’m an avowed fan of wheat. I have no plans in joining the war on wheat since wheat products are firmly ingrained (heh) in my daily life. Still, I can’t ignore claims of friends that cutting out wheat has helped with a variety of ailments, particularly those associated with inflammation, such as arthritis. I’m not geriatric, but the years and several injuries have taken their toll on my joints, so I’ve thought about experimenting with going gluten-free.

But man, it is hard. I decided one day to try it and only made it until noon. I had oatmeal for breakfast instead of my usual toast, but I caved and had a veggie burger on a wheat bun for lunch. I was lamenting the lack of gluten-free bun options on Twitter when Twin Forks Farm alerted me to this post on Bon Appetit’s The Feed blog about one of the theories on why gluten intolerance is on the rise.

One theory about gluten intolerance focuses on the type of wheat used to make the flour for the bread products we eat these days. Most wheat that’s grown now has been hybridized to get a grain that’s heartier and easier to grow. It’s also got more gluten in it as well; gluten helps dough rise and gives it texture. The theory — which is related, really — in the blog post has to do with most commercial breads being quick-rise. That is, they’re ready to go in three hours or less rather than fermenting for 18 hours or more. The longer fermentation with the yeast yields a more easily digestible bread. Sourdoughs are even easier to digest. These breads still aren’t suitable for people who are completely intolerant, but these breads may be a better choice for those who are just sensitive to gluten.

I also thought about the scientist who said that years of eating these overly processed breads may be causing our guts to reject them. I grew up eating mostly white bread and don’t have a sensitivity to it now (I don’t think), but it does give me some pause when considering what I feed my daughter. The kid loves bread. I figure, the least I could do is give her bread that’s not bad for her and instead, give her bread that’s actually good for her. So I took a look at Twin Forks.

I was already familiar with Twin Forks Farm bread, actually. Several years ago, Carrington Fox wrote about it here on Bites. I’ve tried it and bought it at the farmers market. But I hadn’t given it much thought for a while. A look at their website intrigued me now, though. They use heirloom organic grains (no Frankengrains) as well as slow fermentation methods for their breads. It’s clear from the descriptions of their breads that they’ve put a lot of thought and energy into these recipes.

So I headed over to The Produce Place to pick up a loaf. It was the end of the day, so only the Pain au Levain and the Expedition were left on the shelf, so I chose the Expedition. At $5 per loaf, it’s not cheap, but it sure is good. So good, in fact that the kid and I both devoured a piece cut right off the loaf without toasting or topping. And though the loaf is small, it’s hearty, so it doesn’t take much of it to satisfy. I’ve started putting it in her lunch for school instead of the crackers I used to send, and she really enjoys it. I hope she remembers this many years from now when she is (I hope) still able to eat wheat … and is the one making the decisions about what I’m eating.

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