From The Kitchen

“One thing leads to another”, an expression used over and over, is ultimately true. Earlier this week Barb decided to bake bread. When we shopped for ingredients I noticed that there are different types of flour. I have been vaguely aware of varieties of flour but never gave it much thought because I’ve never baked anything before. Sad, I know. For her bread she chose bread flour as opposed to all purpose flour. It got us thinking about the differences and why there are differences. It led us to investigating wheat.

Call me uninformed, but I didn’t realize that there are different types of wheat. Barb did, of course, because she grew up on a farm and she knows things. The varieties of wheat all come from a single plant that was basically the first wheat. Corn, or maize is another grain that has been manipulated over centuries by farmers.

We found, through a little internet digging that occasionally, mutant strains of grains will show up. Why this happens is beyond my comprehension and also beyond the focus of this article. But show up, they do, and farmers as far back as 9000 to 10,000 years ago would pick these mutant strains for future growing if they had some benefits. For instance, the mutant strain was easier to grow, harvest, or work into flour. It seems humans have always searched for easier ways of doing things. Basically, this is a form of genetic manipulation. The original maize looked nothing like the corn we have today. Considering all the worry over GMO’s that people have got up to, it seems interesting that it’s been going on for centuries, and really, everything we grow for food has changed over time. Agreeably, it may not be a good idea to put squid DNA in your corn, but forms of genetic manipulation have been happening naturally since the beginning of time.

Anyway, Barb made bread. She also made cinnamon rolls, and they were wonderful. She’s an excellent baker and has promised to teach me. The next batch of bread, she says, is all mine. I know I should make white of wheat bread because it’s the simplest to make, but I want to make Rye. There are more ingredients, and a more complicated process that other types and for a first time baker it’s probably foolish but hey, why not? What’s the worst that could happen?


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