November is Red Fife month

from my little website at


Just took delivery of several types of Red Fife, namely kernels and ‘whole white’ from Speerville, and stone ground whole grain and stone ground white from Milanaise and will be experimenting with them over the next few months. For now the focaccia and sandwich loaves will continue to be made with conventional/modern (Milanaise) stone ground white flours, but all other loaves with wheat will feature Red Fife instead. The Walnut Loaf is thus 25% fresh-ground (from the kernels), 5% fresh ground spelt, and 70% Red Fife white (Milanaise) or Whole White (Speerville). The Soldier’s Loaf Red Fife Rye will sometimes be fresh-ground, sometimes stone ground. Also, I will make loaves with Red Fife only, either whole grain or whole white or white as both I and my customers familiarise themselves more with this soft, but rich-tasting strain of wheat.

It has been mentioned elsewhere on the site and the wordpress blog, but Red Fife comes originally from Ukraine, long known as ‘the bread basket of Europe’, and has not suffered from being hyper-hybridized in equatorial laboratories with year-round growing seasons like conventional wheat, which is now a high-gluten dwarf variety. Red Fife grows to shoulder height and more. It has lower level of gluten, or at least its gluten is far less springy and resilient, albeit sufficient for making nice-rising loaves. The advantage of a nice rise is that the crumb becomes lighter and more aromatic, not to mention we are used to associating this with a nice bread. Those familiar with very dark breads, however, especially for example 100% Rye, know that although a crumb might not be light and springy, that doesn’t mean that the bread sits heavy in the stomach. However, with high gluten loaves, it seems (to me at least) that such bread does sit heavier if it doesn’t rise well, unless it has been over-fermented, wherein you can end up with an overly compact and rubbery substance that, although highly digestible, isn’t really ‘bread’ any more, more like an unsweetened, baked grain pudding of sorts.

All this to say that Red Fife, though rich in flavour, has a more traditional, which means softer, gluten profile. Like spelt it doesn’t rise as much, is not as springy, and also like spelt it absorbs water, and breaks down much faster than modern wheat, making it easier to digest and therefore more healthy. And the easier things are to digest, usually the more nutritional they are since they break down well and can be absorbed.

In any case, I look forward to becoming familiar with Red Fife. I am also pleased because despite initial reluctance, Meunerie Milanaise then went forward with an experimental crop this year, so hopefully this high quality organic miller and farm operator will be supplying us with high quality Red Fife White for years to come.


Prill Beads – $20.00 solution for alkalizing / ‘structuring’ drinking water

This is part One of two, the link to #2 is at the bottom. This one covers a general introduction to various aspects of water in relation to healthy/structured/alkaline and unhealthy/unstructured/acid etc.

Prill beads are a very economical way of structuring / alkalizing drinking water.

You can buy them at:

I am sure there are other sources.

This article mentions the work of Emato and Viktor Schauberger, both of which are linked in the Water Section of my Links page on the FRB website at

I use a Schauberger-derived copper insert in my main water line to structure the water. It has made a marked improvement but I am interested in making it more alkaline.

These things are subjective but I have a rather odd, but true, story about the Schauberger insert (from within 30 minutes of installing it, my cat started to drink from the tap. She had never once drunk from the tap before. Now she pretty much only drinks from the tap except when it is very hot in summer and my shallow dug well heats up and the water is not so good (at which point I use water from the neighbours for a few weeks until the water is good again. And I know when it’s good again (apart from occasional tests just to be sure) when my cat wants the water again. And actually I can tell myself. In any case, it made enough of a difference to immediately change my cats drinking habits.

Fall Schedule and Notes

From my main website at


Am no longer going to the Baddeck Farmers’ Market every other Wednesday since the number of loaves sold there is insufficient to justify the time and expense involved in bringing them to market.

Over the course of this summer the Ezekiel-style sprouted loaves have settled, formula-wise, and thanks to the purchase of a basic food processor last spring, the consistency of the crumb has greatly improved.

Meanwhile have also settled on a formula for a sweet loaf, namely using mainly white spelt flour, 33% fresh ground spelt flour, Scotch Lake Organics unpasteurized honey, organic butter bought in bulk from Quebec, and organic cream from the supermarket. The dough is light but creamy. I find spelt works best being a little enriched (with some fat, in this case butter and cream).

Also during September I had fun substituting some of the water in the garlic focaccia formula with fresh organic tomatoes (pulped in the processor). They were delicious. I also developed a fennel-onion focaccia which is shaped in a baking tray, i.e. a large rectangle, which is traditional with such loaves, and then cut into eighths. Focaccia are described as breads with herbs in them, but this isn’t the whole story: also they are the ones that go into the brick oven first, so they have a lot of water in the dough (otherwise they would burn in 750F+ temperatures), which makes them tastier and gives them nice large holey crumb structures that are great to tear into pieces and use to sop up sauce and so ideal for eating with a meal or soup. I really like them.

Now that things are cooling down I will revert to using Altus water (water for the bread which has had a dried rye loaf soaking in it for a day or two before Mixing Day); this stimulates fermentation whilst bringing an added layer of flavour and aroma to the breads. I am also experimenting with this being a sprouted multigrain soak, which I believe will add even more layers of flavour and also perhaps provoke a slightly more variegated fermentation culture.

Anyway, looking forward to the fall-to-Christmas season….