Cancer might well be a fungus, like yeast.

http://blog.imva.info/medicine/cancer-fungus

This is a fairly well written article. But there is one glaring problem: after almost a century of ‘the Age of Science’, don’t we have the ability to definitively identify what something is, i.e. take a tumor, put it under a microscope, and see whether or not it is a fungus?

If so, then this article is plain silly.

If not, then Science (as I often suspect, truth be told), is bunkum.

Which is it?

I don’t know. Journalism is so bad these days that it is very difficult to find anything out. If I have some more time today I’ll google around and if can come up with a definitive answer, will link it into this article.

First, though, by the same author, his plug for his book on the miracle medical marvel: baking soda.

http://publications.imva.info/index.php/e-books/sodium-bicarbonate-rich-man-s-poor-man-s-cancer-treatment-e-book.html

(I am not endorsing this view. I don’t know about any of these things, though I must add that as a sort of quasi ex-hippy ‘organic’ head type, I do basically believe that simple solutions like this – including of course various naturally growing herbs – are all we need for most medical/health problems, and that of course staying healthy in the first place is the main thing, and that comes down to good food, exercise, friends, fresh air and so forth. Health, in other words, need not be rocket science.)

Update April 27:

I just lost my text so this is abbreviated: I bought the book, complained about the format, the author send me a new format (epub) which is much more user friendly, and then I wrote the following letter, which is not so much about the book per se (which I have not yet read) but about my interest in things microbial (not surprising given I make my living managing fungi and bacteria who do most of the real ‘work’ in making delicious, healthy bread).

Dear Luciana Valentim,

Thank you for your reply. I apologise for any harsh tone yesterday but as a small business operator I personally value direct feedback and wanted to share with you how I actually felt on opening the package up, as it were, rather than pull any punches.

I have opened up the epub and it does seem more straightforward and it seems I can more easily make a backup copy, use it offline, and also select text for reference. So it is much better.

I am also enjoying (slowly) reading through the material. I am particularly interested in the aspects relating to micro-organisms since I make naturally fermented breads for a living (in wood-fired brick oven) and also regularly make fermented drinks and cultured/pickled vegetables. Indeed, if it weren’t for bizarre modern government restrictions on these latter substances (labelled ‘Class C Hazardous Materials’ I believe), they would comprise the bulk of my little operation but as it is I make them only for personal consumption (not yet illegal!).

In terms of a ‘theory of everything’ I don’t have one, except that the universe is doubtless both unitary / holographic and hierarchical / differentiated, just as a human being has one body but the head and feet are different zones and functions therein. Similarly, I believe that the seeming differences between various forms of life might be perceived as such due to cognitive filtering on our part, which itself is part of our function as individuated, conscious aspects capable of reason and movement through a seemingly physical, three dimensional landscape.

From this point of view, you have various hierarchies of life (not the same as evolutionary stages), such that so-called ‘chemical’ interactions such as rust forming on metal, including all underlying elements such as water, fire, air, minerals and so forth (and whose dynamic properties we can see under electron microscopes), which we wrongly categorize as ‘non-living’, are no less ‘alive’ than so-called micro-organisms, principal amongst which for us are fungi and bacteria. In any case, there is a seamless living web between the dynamic elements in our spatial temporal field and so-called living organisms, from smallest to largest such that it is almost impossible really to define at what point one begins and the other ends. Certainly in the human organism, given there are far more of ‘them’ than ‘us’ (if you count cells), one could argue that a human being is simply a means by which the universe can agglomerate the predispositions of various forms of life, including the fungal, into a way of allowing such organisms to grow and then look out of ‘our’ eyes, hear through ‘my’ ears, cogitate, locomote and all the rest of it. I don’t subscribe to this view, having a slightly more top-down perspective, but the point is that the argument could be very well made and makes far more sense than the current superstition that the universe, including ourselves, is an inanimate, randomly motivated, machine. One of the most absurdly simplistic theories for millenia. (I cannot think of a stupider one, come to think of it!)

That being the case, systems of health that are process and inter-relationship oriented have far more merit than those which try to chop the universe up into discrete, easily visualised, cognitive slices, labelling some as ‘disease’ and others as not. Modern medicine, based as it is on materialist science, has lost its way and is more of a religion now than a science, and scientists are more prostitutes than priests, so we have a big mess on our hands.

Anyway, I look forward to slowly working my way through your book on bicarbonation and what you can do with that magic white powder in the cheerful yellow box.

Ashley Howes,

Cape Breton Island

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Seeds of Destruction

.http://globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=30512

I’ll try to refrain from posting too much about this even though I think it’s an important topic. I want to have a few ‘red alert’ posts on this blog, covering such bases as it were, but then mainly focus on making bread, ingredient and technique issues, maybe some positive reports about farmers markets and suchlike.

It’s a Catch 22. On the one hand, I don’t really want this to be about geopolitics. On the other hand, running even this extremely modest and simple brick oven bakery confronts these larger issues every day. The reason, for example, it is and pretty much has to be such a very small operation is because supermarkets basically don’t want the real thing (which I produce) on their shelves. I can only imagine why, but I walked around the two best supermarkets in my small town yesterday to compare prices and find that, by and large, they are charging pretty much $1.00 per 100grams from the ‘artisan-style’ loaves. The typical ‘white bread sandwich’ loaf is much less.

So maybe it’s just profit – if they are charging pretty much the same as I am for products that are not organic and so presumably cost considerably less to make, in theory they are making more. But I don’t know how much they pay for such things including labelling, transportation, marketing, employee salaries and so forth and suspect that indeed they make less per loaf.

Still – in theory a small operation in town with 4-10 employees could make super high quality, bona fide real good bread and they could make the same profit. I suspect this. But it won’t happen. And this is not just about me, of course, but the same thing is duplicated by the same situation with thousands of small operators like me throughout the developed world, hundreds of thousands, if not millions. It’s a huge, systemic ‘elephant-in-the-living-room’ type situation.

I have considered having a parallel blog which floats all these types of articles not directly related to baking called: ‘What’s wrong with this picture?’. Maybe I should do it, now I know how easy it is to set up a WordPress blog and choose which one to post in.

Anyway. This GM business is bad. I read Smith’s book a few years ago (one of them). It is very well researched and he presents the actual scientific studies which you can read for yourself and make your own judgment call about. In other words, he doesn’t just try to smother-bomb you with his own opinion, a few choice quotes, doctored data, like most so-called ‘scientific’ books out there, including nearly every single one toting this diet or that, gluten-free, paleolithic, protein-only, carb-free, carb-only, sugar is poison, honey is poison, honey is medicine etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc.

!

World Bank land grabbing – how ‘we’ help dispossess indigenous farmers in Africa

All done by our ‘elected’ leaderships (in fact semi-secret, and certainly secretive, Elites):

NEW REPORT UNCOVERS WORLD BANK FUNDED LAND GRAB IN UGANDA

http://globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=30410

Excerpt:  ” Palm oil plantations have come at the expense of local food crops and rainforests. Local people have been prevented from accessing water sources and grazing land. Despite promises of employment, locals have lost their means of livelihood and are struggling to make ends meet.

David Kureeba from the National Association of Professional Environmentalists (NAPE) / Friends of the Earth Uganda said:

People’s rights to land are being demolished despite protection for them under the Ugandan Constitution. Small scale farming and forestry that protected unique wildlife, heritage and food of Uganda is being converted to palm oil wastelands that only profit agribusinesses. The Ugandan Government must prioritise small scale ecological farming and protect people’s land rights”

John Muyiisha, a farmer from Kalangala, tells of how he woke up one morning to find bulldozers destroying his crops. He had been on the land for 34 years. Other community members were contracted to plant palm oil and then forced to sell their land because of debts, low income from palm oil and no food crops.

Kirtana Chandrasekaran, Friends of the Earth International Food Sovereignty Coordinator said:

These Ugandan testimonies show the fallacy of trying to make land grabbing work for communities or the environment. Decades of policies to privatise land and promote industrial farming from the World Bank have set the stage for a massive global land grab.

Governments around the world need to stop land grabbing, not just try to mitigate its worst impacts. Governments must abide by their Human Rights obligations on land and drastically reducing demand for commodities such as palm oil from the West.”

The project is a joint venture between global agrofuels giant Wilmar International and BIDICO, one of the largest oilseeds companies in Eastern Africa with funding from International Financial institutions such as the World Bank and the Ugandan Government. [4

The value of Farmers Markets to local economies and culture

OK, I believe that Farmers Markets are one of the most direct and possibly important ways for ordinary people to ‘fight back’ as it were against the all-pervasive encroachment, if not outright dominance, of the ‘global-corporate’ way of doing things (everything).

For example – one of zillions I could come up with – I was recently looking at one of the largest brick ovens in North America which happens to be in Whitney Pier, Sydney Cape Breton. The owner, who is the son of Bernie K who built the bakery fifty years ago, is willing to let me have it rent free for 18 months or I could buy it, a large building, and land, and all equipment including a large propane oven, proofing chambers, industrial-size mixers etc for way under $100,000. If I lease it for free, I have to pay insurance, running costs etc. but really, I couldn’t get a better deal.

But am I going to take it? Probably not. Why? Market/distribution. Farmers markets are great but I am lucky if I can sell 100 loaves on a Saturday over 4 hours, and in fact usually only sell 70-80. So what use is mounting an operation with an oven designed to produce about 500-1000 a Bake Day? The only way that can work is if I have access to the main market system in place today which in food means supermarkets. And even if I somehow managed to find supermarket(s) willing to take high quality organic sourdough product line, what is to stop them, some time down the road, calling me up one day to say that unless I drop my price by, say, 35%, they will discontinue or simply make a similar version themselves at half the price. Nothing would stop them, and since they follow the corporate ethic which worships the god known as ‘Profit’ or ‘Bottom Line’ or ‘Shareholder Equity’ above all others, nothing probably will. Which means mounting such a business, unless one can also build a small supermarket and attract one fifth of the local population to come in once a week, is a waste of time.

Pity. I know I could make world class bread and create local employment in the process.

But this post is about how Farmers Markets can help counteract this pernicious disease undermining the health of nearly all communities in the developed West.

Now I don’t know about this topic, so this post is a collection of links from my first Google search. If anyone reads this and has comments or links to better articles, please contribute over time so this thread can be a resource. I believe this to be an important, if under-researched, topic.

I searched for: “Farmers Markets influence on local economy”

Some of the results:

http://crcresearch.org/case-studies/crc-case-studies/farmers-markets-and-local-food-systems

isis.sauder.ubc.ca/files/2009/08/The-Economy-of-Local-Food-in-Vancouver.pdf

www.foe.co.uk/resource/briefings/farmers_markets.pdf

http://locobc.com/2010/10/21/wall-mart-local-food-sourcing-good-for-farmers-and-local-economies/

http://www.time.com/time/business/article/0,8599,1903632,00.html

Marin County’s ‘Eat Local’ Guide

Maine’s Organic Farms – Impact Report

 

OK. From the Maine Report, a bit about organic farming in the context of ‘conventional’ farming (which I think of modern agro-business model farming).

“VII. Economic Impact

The Fly in the Ointment

When Clarence Day, preeminent historian of Maine agriculture, concluded his seminal Farming in Maine, 1860-1940, he noted, “the trend was away from general, self-sufficient farming toward commercial farming.” Diversified homesteads had given way to farm “sectors,” primarily dairy and potatoes. In general, Clarence Day lauded the transition from homesteading to commercial farming – Maine’s farmers were more productive and had more wealth.

“But there was a fly in the ointment. Maine had lost 25,000 farms between 1880 and 1940, and more than half the improved land … many because they could not meet the requirements of the machine age … the towns in which they were located lost population and human resources. Their schools were smaller, their churches weaker, their taxes higher, and lilacs grew where once a garden smiled.” This trend of “fewer but larger” that Day observed has only been exacerbated since he wrote. As Maine’s farms have grown in size, they have replaced labor with inputs and machinery, and have come to depend on out-of-state sources for their purchases. This means that smaller and smaller margins of their gross output are returned to their communities in the form of net income, wages, and property taxes. In order to stay profitable against those declining margins, many farmers constantly look for ways to replace expensive, inefficient labor with cheaper, more efficient machines and inputs. Ironically, while policymakers and communities are constantly trying to figure out how to create more jobs in Maine, many farmers are busy trying to figure out how to eliminate them. They’ll go out of business if they don’t.

This is Clarence Day’s “fly in the ointment” magnified. Fewer farms and fewer jobs mean smaller communities and a smaller tax base. Take the conventional dairy industry. In 1961, there were 3,100 dairy farmers. In 1970, there were 1,700. In 2007, there were 396 dairy
farms, of which 66 were organic. Conventional dairying accounted for $124,651,000 worth of gross output, a full 19% of the State’s total – still dwarfing the organic sector’s 6% share. Clearly dairying in Maine will continue to be a very large and influential piece of the state’s farm sector.

But conventional dairying is reliant on importing large amounts of inputs to stay profitable. Farmers and their hired help retained $35,936,000, or about 28% of total output, for their efforts. This is comparable to the 28% of total revenue that they spent on imported feed alone.

Many organic farms return a high margin of value back to the communities they are nested
within. Many organic farms are better at generating and retaining a high margin of value in local economies.  On all Maine farms, net profits, wages, rent for land, and property taxes represent $.34 on every dollar of total output. Economists call this figure, “value added,” because it represents the total value generated by an industry minus the inputs that it imports and manufactures into finished goods.”

I am surely not the only person who sometimes imagines that ‘they’ are deliberately trying to ruin rural culture and thus undermine much that is of value in our inherited societies, that we are going backwards, downwards, ever deeper into a cultural dark age because of all this heartbreaking, not to mention heartbreakingly stupid, destruction.

Here we see in black and white one of the main reasons: agribusiness depopulates rural areas. Not mentioned in the above is how ‘conventional’ farming depletes and then ultimately ruins the soil, essentially destroying it. It’s a disaster all round for all except the banksters who own all these interlocking corporations awash in funny-money-privatized credit which these elite foxes control whilst essentially controlling/channeling most labour ‘inputs’ from living human beings to feed their ever-increasing (paper) wealth.

Bla, bla, bla. The point here is not to complain and rant about the problems, but rather to point out that Farmer’s Markets can help support small local farms and other producers (like me, an organic baker) and in a small, particular but significant way

FIGHT BACK!!

So shop at your local Farmer’s Market!

Basic Sourdough Technique at the French Road Bakery, Cape Breton Island

This is how I make naturally leavened (‘sourdough’) breads. My method is partly based on trial and error, but also largely based on being something that is easy to live with, i.e. that doesn’t produce irregular sleep patterns, and also works in the context of running a small commercial operation so that I can make 100 or so at a time, twice a week in the summer which of course is different from making the occasional loaf or two at home. The technique also has to fit in with using a wood-fired brick oven, which presents considerable and specific challenges, albeit also yielding most pleasing, and often quite superior, results when all goes well.

Basic Technique used for all sourdough loaves (but not the Sprouted variety):

(Assuming a Saturday Market Day:)

Thursday 9:30am      Mix the starter so it’s fully ready by 5:00 pm or thereabouts. This involves taking about 1 kg of starter out of the fridge where it has been since the last bake and tripling it. So to 1 kg of starter I add 1 kg of water and 1 kg of fresh-ground rye (rye kernels ground fine at the slowest speed in my Nutrimill grain grinder.)

9:50 am       Mix the doughs so that all the flours have soaked for several hours before the starter is added. This adds smoothness and flavour to the breads, obviating any need for kneeding (I do not knead my breads, either with a mechanical mixer, or by hand).The flavour quotient comes, I believe, from the enzyme action that soaking (‘autolyzing’ to use baker jargon) affords. This makes the grain FAR more digestible and therefore user-friendly. Most problems with bread digestion, I suspect, are due to the overly rapid techniques used today featuring dough with special (often unlabelled) conditioners (including human hair from Chinese and Indian barbershops), mechanical mixing (10 minutes develops strong, elastic gluten strands equivalent to about 6-10 hours of slow soaking), and test tube yeast (single strain yeast which one never finds in Nature, fed on beet and other sugars, not naturally grown and propogated on wheat or grain as it really should be, and as my sourdough cultures are).

I started off only mixing the whole grains earlier since such soaking makes a significant difference in texture, flavour and digestibility as recommended by many of the whole grain baking gurus, of whom the one I have personally found the most helpful is Peter Reinhart, closely followed by Jim Lahey. But later I began to mix them all including the white loaves, not so much for improved results as for a far easier schedule. I am in my late 50’s and last year wasn’t in the best of health following a water-born bug in late 2010 which took a while (about a year ) to fully resolve, so I found doing 3-5 hours of heavy mixing late at night before a 14 hour Bake Day overly strenuous. Ergo: do the mixing in the morning when you are fresh, the sun is shining, and keep it simple at night. This is an example of tailoring the technique to other operational requirements, i.e. the fact that I need a good night’s sleep, things like that. They are important. And in the long run, they help you make better bread too.

OK, so in the evening I add in the starter along with any other ingredients that have soaked separately like walnuts or chia seeds, then wait an hour, do a stretch and fold, wait another hour and do another stretch and fold. My way of stretching and folding is simple. Usually I am (man)handling 5-7 kilos of dough, which is quite a lot, and I find that what I do is basically stretch it out in all directions as best I can, almost like making a pizza, and then roll it back up into a large ball and put it back in the (food-grade) plastic bucket. That’s it. I find that by the second stretch-and-fold the dough has clearly come together, is no longer sticky or irregular, and I get the feeling I don’t need to do the second stretch and fold at all. And in fact with ‘stickier’ doughs that have more than about 40% rye for example, I don’t bother. With fresh-ground loaves that have so much bran that there isn’t much of a gluten structure for trapping gas, I don’t stretch at all. These loaves are very high hydration and come out just fine. They are mixed Thursday morning, and again Thursday evening when the starter is added, and that’s all that’s needed. They also get a little bit of stretching when scaled and put in the loaf pans. But that’s the next section.

Friday morning:   Around 6 am I light the fire which requires 3-4 pieces of wood every hour or so for 3-4 hours (42″ long pieces for my 49″ * 37″ oven interior, whole beast weighing in at around 10,000 pounds including the cinder block, cement-filled, totally overkill base which is about half the weight). Then you have an hour during which the coals just keep heating up the bricks ( aka ‘mass’) and then another hour after clearing out the coals and lightly mopping the bricks to make them ash-free clean), making 5-6 hours in all from time of lighting the fire to time of baking.

This is why brick oven baking can be VERY challenging. You have to time your fermentation and shaping to when the oven is ready. Although you can wait a little after raking out – or delay raking out or extend the fire by adding wood – if you need to delay things due to slow fermentation, if fermentation is running ahead – which does happen when the weather and humidity are higher than anticipated and you don’t have a temperature-controlled bakery or proofing chamber which I don’t unfortunately – you cannot really rush the oven. So you have to know about 6 hours ahead of time when your dough is ready to be baked. You just don’t have this type of logistical concern with normal yeast-risen breads baked in push-button modern ovens. Which is why commercial yeast and electric/gas ovens are such amazing technologies in terms of churning out consistent, high volume, efficient and profitable production levels, even though they unfortunately tend to produce generally inferior bread. Indeed, there are many so-called ‘artisan’ loaves, both the semi-fake parbaked supermarket variety and those made by individual bakers selling at Farmers Markets, which use modern time-saving techniques, including convection ovens, whose breads are often not all that superior simply because the bakers don’t realise that so many of the techniques they have learned (using yeast, kneading with mixers etc.) are designed for high volume, non-whole-grain, products, and usually to knock many hours off the production schedule. 90% of bakers believe, for example, that you have to knead the dough in order to develop the gluten structure. It’s simply not true unless you are determined to bake a dough only a few hours after mixing it.

ANYWAY…..

So after the fire is going for 2 hours, I start to shape. Actually, I put my fresh-ground 100% whole grain loaves (usually Rye and Spelt) into the loaf pans immediately after lighting the fire, because the longer they get undisturbed, the better they rise in the pan. So I scale the loaves, let them bench rest for 2-3 minutes whilst I wash out the dough buckets (food-grade white buckets sold at a marine supply shop downtown), then shape them into bannettons ($1.00 plastic ones at the wholesale downtown junk food supply depot type place) or put into loaf pans (very wet doughs go into loaf pans because they cannot hold a shape even in a bannetton, and the focaccios go pancake-batter-like into baking trays), and then when it’s time, usually around 12.00 or so, they go into the oven in sequence, the same sequence in which they were mixed and the starter added.

And about 3-4 hours later, they are all done. The 500g focaccios take 15 minutes, the first load of 680g  hearth loaves (usually whole wheat, walnut and light rye) take 25 minutes going in around 650F/ 340 C; then there might be more hearth loaves but nowadays I am usually putting in Dark Rye in loaf pans and large 1 kg white sandwich loaves, then also a sweet honey-butter loaf (lower temp is good with this one otherwise it has tendency to burn because of sugar and butter content), then last but not least the fresh-ground Rye and Spelts and Ezekiel-style sprouted loaves. If I have shortbread or crackers, they go in oven that is around 350-400.

Then after that, I collect pre-cut lumber in the back yard and put it in the oven so that I have good, warm dry wood for the next bake.

Then after cooling the bread is stacked in portable carry-racks; overnight the bakery is kept warm (in winter) and humidified so that bread doesn’t get too hard overnight (if cold and dry this accelerates the aging process considerably), then around 7.30 am it’s all loaded into the car, driven to market which is about 30 minutes away, then the table is set up, and sales go on until 13:00 pm, then a snack of Hartmut’s hand made sausages (wurst) with handmade sauerkraut, then some shopping, then home around 15.00 pm to collapse for a while!

So that’s the basic technique and process for a bake. It’s a 3-day process to make and bring a loaf to market.

Recipe: Rosemary-Garlic Sisters – And how to read my Spreadsheet Formulae

Recipes and Photos of the Breads

Over time, I intend to type out various recipes and techniques along with photos. Most will also be posts on the main page so that those with questions or comments can contribute.

This post will also serve as the main introduction to reading my spreadsheet formula. At some point I will upload the spreadsheet so that those who like my approach can use it themselves.

1. Rosemary Garlic Focaccio:

This is my most popular loaf. I bring 24 to the market each Saturday and nearly always sell out by around 11.30 (market open to 13.00). All loaves in the French Road Bakery menu are designed by formulae to be baked at a particular phase in the Bake Day cycle. The first loaves go in when the oven is at 750F/400C, and each subsequent load goes in around 100F less temperature each time, so that the lowest temperature fresh-ground and sprouted loaves are baked at around 400F/200C. The focaccios go in first. If they were baked at only 400F, they wouldn’t come out right. If the fermentation cycle is off when they go in, too bad. Brick oven baking on this scale is pretty tricky, therefore, but when you get good at it, then you are on the way to becoming a well-rounded baker.

Current photograph (from 2011; not very good, but that’s what I have for now):

Formula:

Here is a snapshot of the Formula from my Spreadsheet, which has about 10 such formulas on one page for each bake, then totals up the amount of starter needed, the number of loaves and of which type going to market, at which cost, projected gross and net income etc.

Here we see the loaf has a 172 hydration = 72%. I find generally with sourdough recipes that they are about 5-10% ‘wetter’ than their yeast loaf equivalent meaning that this 72% is about the same as 80%. Also, I soak my flours a long time which further raises the hydration.

The 8.37% figure is the amount of Starter (by percent of flour, i.e. so-called ‘baker’s formula) used. The adjoining cell with 4.9% shows how much percent by overall weight of the loaf. For a Saturday market I bake on Friday and mix on Thursday. Thursday morning is when I build up the required amount of starter and begin soaking (‘autolyzing’) the flours for the evening mix when the starter is incorporated and I do some stretching and folding. The morning mix is the hardest work since I mix everything by hand. But it’s very simple, satisfying work which people of all genders and ages would enjoy.

The garlic is locally sourced organic garlic (North River Organic Farm from North River, Cape Breton). The garlic costs about $12.00 a kilo, or $1.464 per 24 loaves, i.e. 6 cents each. You can see where it says 122 (grams) lower down.

The olive oil (140 grams) is supermarket-purchased organic olive oil, but I am planning soon to get high quality organic Palestinian olive oil which I have read is some of the best in the world despite all the hardship and controversy these indigenous peoples are unfairly enduring at the hands of global international forces beyond their control or influence.Currently I pay about $12.00 a litre, so the cost per loaf is about 7 cents a loaf, and if I go to the Palestinian oil at $20.00 per 750 ml that will be 16 cents a loaf, or about 9 cents a loaf more or 9 * 24 = $2.16 less profit I will make per 24 loaves. It’s worth it!

The Rosemary is dried organic from my supplier. Fresh would be better but hard to get in the quantities I need. 28g of rosemary is ALOT, though I suspect using fresh I would need half. I’ll try one time this summer and see. I also tried growing my own but killed the plants twice. I guess I just don’t know what I am doing and will have to ask a farmer so I can get a few bushes going and give my customers the fresh stuff.

Flours: I fresh grind organic spelt and rye kernels in my Nutrimill (334 grams each), fine grind, slow speed. Then most of the white flour is the truly MARVELLOUS Meunerie Milanaise Sifted 50 flour, which is a stone ground white flour, sifted to remove the bran and germ. It is very soft to the touch, has less stringy gluten structure than most all-purpose or ‘bread’ flours, albeit I still yearn for a slightly more ‘wheaty’ flavour which you get in European flours (Canadian flour is somewhat bland-tasting). That said, I really LOVE this flour.

There is 602 grams of Milanaise All-Purpose to help with the rising just a little, and the remaining 5415 grams of flour is the Sifted 50.

I use organic Portuguese sea salt, the Atlantis brand which I can get easily from my organic supplier AuxMillesEtUneSaisons in Quebec. I would prefer to get Marisol, but the shipping costs by Canada Post are almost as much as the salt itself so I am waiting until I feel richer this summer to get a 2-year supply of that Marisol and be done with it. I might also sell small bottles of it at a markup in order to justify paying all that extra amount ($7.00 a kilo versus $1.40 a kilo!).

At the market, I jokingly call this my ‘sexy’ loaf, because it is supposed to be, and generally is experienced as being, ‘irresistible’. Many of my customers tell me the loaf never makes it home since it is devoured in the car.

One day I’ll upload a picture of what the loaves look like when being shaped. They are almost like pancake batter going into the oven. Then they have incredible oven spring because of the high temperature (750F/400C) bake in the radiant heat of the brick oven.

Radiant heat penetrates into the core of the dough whilst also heating the outer crust far more deeply than convection heat can do – which works mainly by heating the outside of the loaf first and the temperature gradually rises inside. This is why that generally speaking you have to bake at 375 – 450 in a convection oven, because otherwise the outside burns. Radiant heat baking is unquestionably superior, not only for breads but also meats, beans and so forth. This loaf is impossible to bake as is in a conventional convection oven, although of course fantastic breads can be made.

In my oven it takes about 90 seconds to bake a typical thin-crust Italian-style pizza. And 15 minutes to makes these focaccios, or ‘sisters’ as I like to call them, because focaccio is not an English word, and since these are both irrestible and sexy, they are female, and since they all next together and come out like conjoined twins which I have to break apart manually, I think of them as ‘sister babies’ or just ‘sisters’. Everyone else calls them focaccios anyway!

Process:

OK: the starter builds up from Thursday morning to early evening (around 6.00 pm). Meanwhile the flour, water, salt, rosemary, olive oil and garlic have all been soaking since the morning mix. So then Thursday evening I add in the starter (584 grams), wait about an hour, do a stretch and fold (my way, more on that later), wait another hour, do it again (takes about 3 minutes or so for 24 loaves!), and that’s it until the next day morning when I scale it to about 500g per loaf, then lay six ‘sister’s side by side on an oiled baking tray (I used non-organic as-cheap-as-possible medium grade – for cooking – olive oil for that, and also oiling my baking pans for other loaves), let the proof for about 4 hours, then they go into the 750F/400C oven for 15 minutes and come out. Voila!

Current Menu at the Bakery

French Road Bakery

www.frenchroadbakery.tk      902 884 2599

 

Organic Wood-Fired Brick Oven Sourdoughs

 slow fermentation by organic living cultures

MIXED WHITE & DARK

Rosemary Garlic Sisters –North River garlic, olive oil, rosemary, sea salt; stone ground white, Red Fife, fresh ground rye (90-5-5%); 450g – $5.00

White Spelt Rye – Rye, white spelt (35-65%), caraway seeds 680g – $7.00

Walnut – fresh ground wheat, rye & spelt, blended whites (30-5-5-30-30%), soaked walnuts, 680g – $7.50

‘Big White’ – blended whites, ground flax, sea salt, 1kg – $7.00

100% WHOLE GRAIN

Whole Wheat stone ground 680g – $6.00

Dark Rye – rye & Red Fife wheat (50-50%), caraway seeds 680g $7.00

Fresh-Ground Rye / Red Fife with soaked seeds & spices – 700g – $7.00

Ezekiel-Style Sprouted Multigrain– Sprouted: rye, spelt, lentils, barley, sesame, sunflower, coriander, fennel, anise & caraway; ground flax; sea salt; 700g – $8.00

SPECIALS

Honey Butter Whole White – Speerville’s Whole White with germ, unpasteurised Misty Meadow honey, whey from yoghurt, unsalted butter, sea salt 680g – $7.00.

 

Ingredients: Natural, living starter cultures from fresh ground organic kernels; flours: certified organic from stone or freshly ground grains; vitalized well water; all loaves: organic Portuguese sea salt (1.2% of baked weight of loaf). Fresh-ground loaves contain organic anise, fennel and coriander plus caraway in the Rye.  All ingredients are organic unless marked . ^: ‘altus‘ water and/or crumb from soaked aged loaves.

Zatoun – Palestinian Olive Oil

http://zatoun.com/articles.htm

Olive oil from Palestine. High quality. Can be shipped in cases of 12 throughout Canada and US ($20.00 for 750 ml bottle). The above link is their articles page, but there is also an order page of course.

Also this article describes both of the two main suppliers in Canada: http://www.macleans.ca/article.jsp?content=20070115_139243_139243

the second one being spearheaded by young Julie Langlois in Montreal, namely Zeitouna Olive Oil. A CBC film about her: http://www.radio-canada.ca/emissions/second_regard/2010-2011/Reportage.asp?idDoc=148224

I recently took in a large order of flour and other ingredients but my supplier (AuMillesEtUneSaisons) did not put the organic olive oil I ordered in the shipment. So I have decided to pay quite a bit more, but get some of the best oil in the world which also happens to be helping out a group of indigenous farmers whose lives and livelihoods are caught up in geopolitical / colonial excesses beyond their control. I just hate the way the modern world or the very powerful trample on farmers and other people living on the land in a proper way so if by buying their oil I help make their efforts more viable, that is money well spent. At $20.00 including shipping per 750 ml bottle, the cost is 17.5c per loaf in my garlic focaccio’s so again, or about 8 cents more than I currently pay for very ordinary quality organic oil; so even though this is pretty expensive, it is well worth it!

A gourmet supplier:

http://www.oliveoilemporium.com/AboutUs/OurCompany/TorontoOliveOilShop.aspx

on which site, a gift set of gourmet Meditarranean oils:

http://www.oliveoilemporium.com/OnlineStore/ProductList/ExtraVirginOliveOil/tabid/138/CategoryID/0/List/0/Level/a/ProductID/61/Default.aspx?SortField=ProductName%2cProductName

Last this site, also in Canada:

http://www.tenthousandvillages.ca/cgi-bin/category.cgi?type=store&item=2750101