Why is the word Artisan or Artisanal important?
Please don't us flour that has gone through either of these processes.
What is Sourdough?
The term "Artisan" is important. It evokes a certain feeling or notion of the product or person it pertains to. Unfortunately, much like the term "Natural" used in American food marketplace, its use is unregulated and has very little meaning anymore.
I believe that the word "Artisan" and the term "Artisanal" should be standardized at least by the guilds and/or associations that represent the products being described.
When we get giant, multi-national corporations coopting these terms, it leads to much confusion for the consumers and strips away any meaning they once held.
To put it simply: DON'T USE IT! - ...we don't, and NEVER WILL!
Taken from the King Arthur Flour site:
Potassium bromate (KBrO3), is a flour “improver” that strengthens dough and allows for greater oven spring and higher rising in the oven.
The primary concern regarding the use of bromates in baking is its demonstrated link to cancer in laboratory animals. It was first found to induce tumors in rats in 1982. However, since 1991, instead of banning bromate outright the FDA, with somewhat limited success, has merely encouraged bakers to voluntarily stop using it.
Bromates have been banned in numerous countries, including the United Kingdom in 1990 and Canada in 1994. In addition, in 1991, California declared bromate a carcinogen under the state’s Proposition 65. As such, baked goods sold in California would have to bear a store level cancer warning if they contained more than a certain level of bromate. As a result, most California bakers have switched to bromate-free processes.
A "bleaching" agent is used in order to make flour appear whiter. It also aids in the "aging" of flour. Yes, flour usually needs to be aged to improve its quality for baking. Bleaching helps quicken the aging process by use of evil chemicals. Many of these bleaching agents have been banned in other countries.
IN CASE YOU DIDN'T GET THE POINT
The term Sourdough and Levain refer to the same thing and can be used interchangeably. I use the term Sourdough only because it is more commonly used and understood by people in America. I prefer to use Levain though, and will start using that term more often because I have come to understand that there is a certain percentage of people that have a negative conotation associated with the word sourdough.
Strickly speaking, a Sourdough or Levain, is bread made by the use of naturally -occurring lactobacilli and yeast. This comes in a form of a fermented "starter" that is added to the dough at the time of mixing. This is traditionally how bread was made. It wasn't until the turn of the 20th century that commerical yeast (active dry and yeast cakes) took over as the primary leavening agent in bread making.
Sourdough/Levain style breads are beneficial in many ways. Not only are they healthier than your average "super market" breads, they are easier to digest and much tastier. You don't even need a dictionary to understand the ingredient list.
If Sourdoughs & Levains are better, why aren't all breads made this way?
BEWARE of FAKE sourdough.
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