I have been having fun, sifting through the books and collecting other tidbits from old 19th century cookbooks. There is a wealth of information to be drawn from these ! I would like to share with you some things I learned about the basic loaf of bread.
The word loaf comes from lifan, meaning to raise or lift up. This described the action of having dough stand till fermented and then mixing it with new dough ingredients, "lifting" the whole mass , making it lighter and more porus.Wheat is classified as red or white, in reference to the color of the grains, and as winter or summer. Winter wheat is sown in the autumn and summer wheat in the spring.Soft wheat is tender and floury, hard wheat is tough and contains more gluten.There are four specific and different processes for milling flour ( St Louis Process,Haxall Process,Minnesota and Health Food Flour)Good flour should not be white in color, but yellowish.It holds together in a mass when squeezed and retains the impression of the hand, up to the marks on the skin.
Kind of cool ! Today it seems we only focus on the price, white or whole wheat and little else. No wonder it is so easy for food manufacturers to slip things into products and sell us nutritionally balanced lab products in the name of food. I think we have allowed ourselves to become to far removed from actual food.
In other news, stability and strength has been growing, and I am starting a formal exercise program this week. 5 minute sessions of tai chi, walking and shadow boxing 3 times a day. This week they will be 5 minute sessions, next week increased to 7 minutes and so on. It's not so much with the goal of weight loss ( I am learning that this is one of the most harmful things that you can possibly do to your long term over all health), as it is a move to increase strength, flexibility and improve the quality of sleep. Shadow boxing and tai chi are just a whole lot of fun ! Tai Chi has been shown to be very helpful in the prevention of falls as we age, as well as increase flexibility. It's fun to pretend to be water flowing, birds flying or animals frolicking !