Monday, December 15, 2008

Splendid Table: Flour vs. Flour, Part 1

Reading Lynne Rossetto Kasper's Splendid Table over the weekend I became increasingly irked by her repeated calls for "organic, stone-ground" flour. Instead of mentioning her preference once in the introduction and then letting it go, she specifies "organic, stone-ground" every time a recipe includes flour. This struck me as preachy and pushy. But Kasper insists that the "vitality" of organic flour "adds much" to breads.

Well, I thought, we'll just see about that. 

I decided to perform a test and bought specialty flour to pit against my Gold Medal standard. I couldn't find stone-ground white flour, but decided Bob's Red Mill would do the job, as it is both organic and unbromated. Unbromated? I have since learned that this means the flour has not been treated with potassium bromate, a carcinogenic additive illegal in many countries, but not this one. I know. Sorry to darken your day with grim factoid.

In any case, this morning I made two versions of the starter sponge for the Modena Mountain Bread, which I will bake tomorrow.

Three hours in, some interesting results. The bowl of organic sponge has risen measurably higher than the slothful nonorganic. I'd give it a good two inches, plus there are dozens more bubbles. I was sort of rooting for the Gold Medal because I'm cranky, but now I'm just thrilled that there's any difference at all. This counts for high drama in my world.

Hope you're all suitably impressed by how productively I'm using my time during this first day of official unemployment. 


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  3. Thank you, helltoupee. I shall investigate said mill! The nonorganic flour seems to be catching up to the organic, but slowly.

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  6. I find this experiment to be terribly fascinating. I grind my own wheat flour, but now I must know if my white flour of choice is bromated, which I didn't even know was a thing!

  7. can someone explain all these deleted comments? i'm now dying to read them. what can be that provocative about flour, for god's sake?

  8. I know what potassium bromate is, here in Puerto Rico 90% of all the bread use that, and we as a country have higher number in cancer cases, we eat bread here and nobody is doing nothing, Industries dont care about the health of the people, just me and Im a regular artisan baker. Dont eat bread in Puerto Rico to support my cause.


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