A CONVERSATION WORTH SHARING

A Bit About Gluten

Sharing one of my conversations with a student reading nutrition… Student: “Hi tommy i m from kepong an lately has been searching for sourdough bread. One of my family friend then introduce me to Tommy le Baker. Also, as a nutrition student, I view through your profile posts and m really intrigued in the passion and knowledge u have for bread. Thanks for the knowledge u share with the public! Hope to learn more from you

Will drop by Tommy le Bakery soon!” TLB: thank you, share your reading and thoughts on nutrition about bread here. Your knowledge might help me to look further on my work! Student: Sure. To be frank, I used to avoid bread cuz of the gluten and that mostly they are refined. N im stil unsure if wheat is really healthy and all. Till lately I learn about sourdough bread which the body can digest more easily. I will read up on your post to understand more in depth TLB: Gluten Hydrolysis and Depolymerization during bread fermentation is something I read and understand to cultivate my bread. Student: I see, so will it benefit ppl in any way in terms of nutrients? Or is it just a better alternative as compare to other bread out there? TLB: if we eat something that is largely pre-digested (not ONLY in bread), our gut don’t have to work so hard and hence reserve more time to digest other food we eat and absorb more varieties of nutrients. Student: Yes it’s true. Nice knowing people like u. TLB: Is promising to know students like you too! Student: How do you get so passionate about bread? TLB: I used to sell bread additives. I travel all over asia and beyond to work and consult in industrial bakeries. I know what ppl are suffering physically and mentally from bread. Having a sensitive knowledge in both industrial and artisan bread baking skills, I guess I took it up as a mission more than a passion. Student: To help the community is that right? TLB: help or not, I don’t know. But I think is important to raise awareness in what we choose to eat. Student: Do u give talk to the public? TLB: nope, I try to use social media. I don’t like ppl to listen to me, I prefer ppl to think with me. I am going to copy paste our conversation on my wall! Hope to gather more minds to look into this social issue on bread.
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A CONVERSATION WORTH SHARING

You Feed Us, We Feed You.

“How Long Can Your Bread Last, Tommy?”

This is a question from many of my customers everyday. And I have been trying very hard to find a way to reply.

I look at every single loaf in my shelf and I ask them: Can “you” please tell me how I should reply to every single patron who might be bringing “you” home?

Bread: “Tommy, we have been nurtured, raised and baked here by you in your city. Your city folks have been introduced to bread that has brought great convenience to their lives for their economic and financial values. Bakers like you know how we naturally aged like every single human being.
Listen carefully to their question again. Do you think this question can be applied to how we are raised and baked?
Is a modern question; is a question from folks who have been raised and assured by the social convenience of modernization which leads to fear of wastage when they bring us home.
Please be fair to us, we are not those breads that you used to raise by your engineering skills to keep us soft and pretentiously fresh. But you insisted that we can survive in your culture. You quarrel with your customers not to pre-sliced us because we are too fresh and need to be matured and be retaining our freshness as a whole loaf blah blah blah…
We feel weird, we feel out of our natural context where we should be existing. However, it has never felt better in a context of being re-invited to be masticated by your patrons.
Don’t worry, as long as you nurture our culture, raise us in your environment, let us do the rest…nobody can communicate the sense of taste better than us. We know who NEED us and who WANT us. We are sorry being so inconvenient for most of your patrons. However, is not only about us, is also about development of taste and time.

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A CONVERSATION WORTH SHARING

A BREAD HAS TO BE GOOD TO THINK BEFORE IT IS GOOD TO EAT

“Dear Tommy,

Good morning to you! Writing this message while savouring you baguette sprinkled with mozarella cheese…simplest yet tastiest! If you don’t mind replying, can I check with you re the term: sprouted bread? Came across this word lately as I googled for suitable food for eczema patients and the bread is strongly recommended. I read in your website that your bread all goes through tedious fermentation process to bring out the nutrients, enzymes etc of a bread. So is this also termed as sprouting the bread? Then I am on the right track as we are consuming your bread! Bravo! Well, although not daily as we make a trip to your shop from Bandar Utama once a week…

Have a great day ahead!! Cheers!”

BU


Dear BU,

Sprouted bread is a bread made with sprouted wheat grains. Sprouted wheat are usually added to regular bread recipes in the form of whole grain, paste or dried powder as malt. But most of the content in the bread is flour. Flour is milled from non sprouted wheat grains.Sprouted Wheat GrainsFirst, you might want to ask yourself, what happen when wheat is sprouted. To sprout grains, we need water to dampen the grain. During this soaking process, a significant amount of phytic acids (which is an inhibitor in most grains and legumes) starts to break down. Gluten in the wheat also gets broken down for better digestion eventually.

I personally believe that consumption of high phytic acid products in the long run will weaken our body immune system because it inhibits our body to absorb 4 main minerals (iron, zinc, magnesium and calcium) which is fundamental for growth.

Therefore, similar to sprouting wheat, flour also needs to have a significant amount of timespan in water. In making bread, the longer the fermentation process, the longer will the flour be soaked in water before we turn it into real noble bread. Fermentation is a process to cultivate taste in bread with yeast or natural leaven but also simultaneously soaking flour to breakdown complexity of nutrients for human digestion.

I subject all my breads to a tedious process with pre-ferments we culture in the shop, main purpose is to breakdown as much as possible the complexity of grains/flour. I have always say this to many people: If we do not respect the nature, the nature will harm us. So, respecting the fundamental of fermentation is my business.

I have many customers facing the same problem as you with bread. Stomach bloating, eczema etc…I have a bakery today and I can tell you this is an alarming social problem. But don’t panic and don’t blame other breads. This social problem can be understood by reading social history, in this case, the social history of bread. Malaysia don’t know so much about history I am talking about because the bread we know until today was introduced much later by the English after their post war industrialisation…so to say, our bread is already “modern”. Everybody needs to go to work and build their country after war, so no time to make bread. Bakery also cannot supply the amount of bread a household needed. So build factories, make lots of bread in the shortest amount of time to feed the population. What population? The population of “baby-booms” after war. So these population of baby-booms ate a lot of “no-time” bread during economy growth. So i guess you can imagine how much mineral deficiency they already suffered. If a mother cannot absorb the minerals when she was carrying her baby, how can her baby be born to be full “mineralised”? And I guess, this is why ppl blame gluten. This modern disease of gluten intolerant has taken such a huge hooha. If gluten is so dangerous, all the civilisations that eat bread would have vanished by now.

This model of industrialisation was entirely reproduced in Asia and hence Malaysia kena! The methodology in milling to bread production we know until today, is modernised already.

Lastly, please don’t just polarized on bread. Your daily stable is not ONLY on bread. Other foodstuff in our economy also suffered from similar disrespectful treatment that eventually will surface on our skins! In this case, A BREAD HAS TO BE GOOD TO THINK BEFORE IT IS GOOD TO EAT! So think about other food you eat also.

My breads are very inconsistent. I constantly neglect the image that consumers form of bread, because I know is an image that would influence their taste. And I enjoy telling ppl that I am selling inconsistency because I have a point to make. GOOD-LOOKING BREAD IS NOT ALWAYS GOOD BREAD.

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A CONVERSATION WORTH SHARING

發芽麵包

和你们分享一則我答覆顧客的郵件──

親愛的湯米你好!早安!給你寫這封信的時候,我正朝你們家的法國棍子麵包上灑莫札里拉芝士再大快朵頤一番──最簡單,也是最美味!如果你不介意回信,我可 以向你請教一個名詞“發芽麵包”嗎?我最近用谷歌搜尋適合濕疹患者的食物時發現這名詞,幾乎大家都大力推荐它。從你的網站上,我讀到你的麵包經過繁複的發 酵過程,從中擷取出豐富的營養素和酵素等,如此說來,你的麵包也是“發芽麵包”嗎?如果沒錯,那我就做對了,因為我們正在吃你們家的麵包啊!太棒了!雖然 不是每一天,但每周一次,我們就會從萬達鎮駕車去你的店子買麵包!祝你有個愉快的一天!乾杯!

以下是我的答覆──

親愛的萬達鎮:

謝謝你的提問,每次客人寫信來,希望瞭解更多關於他們的飲食問題時,我都非常高興。

發芽麵包是用發芽的小麥做成的麵包,發芽小麥常被加入一般的麵包食譜,也許是全粒小麥、麥芽糊或乾燥麥芽粉,但麵包裡主要且大部分的材料還是麵粉,而麵粉是用不經發芽的麥子研磨而成的。

首先,你可能要问自己,当小麥發芽時,里面会産生什麼變化?要讓小麥發芽,我們需要水,在浸泡過程中,大量植酸(存在於大部分穀物和豆類裡的抑制劑)開始分解,小麥裡的麩質(gluten)也會分解,讓人體更好吸收。

我個人認為,長期食用高植酸食物會削弱我們的免疫系統,因為它會抑制人體吸收4種主要礦物質(鐵,鋅,鎂和鈣),而這些礦物質對成長十分重要。

因此,和小麥發芽類似, 麵粉也需要長時間充分浸泡。製作麵包時,發酵時間越長,麵粉和水接觸的時間也越長,才能做出優質的麵包。發酵的過程,是讓酵母培育出美味的麵包,也促使麵粉中複雜的營養成分在 水中分解,以利人體吸收。

在我的店裡,麵包都要經過漫長的發酵,以便分解穀物或麵粉裡的複雜成分。我常對人說,如果我們不尊重自然,自然就會反噬,所以,尊重發酵,是我做麵包的宗旨。

我有很多客人面對和你一樣的問題,胃痛、胃漲、濕疹等,今天,我經營自己的麵包店也有一些時日了,所以我可以告訴你,這絕對是一記敲響警鐘的社會問題。不 過,不要驚慌,也不要責怪其他的麵包,你可以通過閱讀麵包的社會歷史,來理解這個社會問題。馬來西亞人不會知道太多我接下去要說的這個歷史,因為今天我們 所知道的麵包,是英國經歷戰後工業化洗禮後的麵包,換句話說,是很“摩登”的麵包。戰後,人人都必須工作,重建國家,於是就沒有時間自己做麵包,麵包師也 無法為家家戶戶供應麵包,這時候,麵包工廠就出現了,利用現代工業大量生產麵包,在最短的時間內餵飽最多的人。這群人,就是我們說的戰後嬰兒潮。在人人大 力拼經濟的當兒,戰後嬰兒潮就吃這種“簡化”又“省時”的麵包長大。所以,你可以想像,這群人缺乏了多少的礦物質。當一個懷孕的媽媽無法攝取足夠的礦物質 時,孩子出世後,也勢必面對礦物質不足的窘境。但人們不瞭解這個問題,大家一味責怪麩質 ,麩質於是成了過街老鼠,人人喊打。麩質不耐症這個現代病全球失控,但是,你不妨想想看,如果麩質真的那麼危險,所有吃麵包的文明早就滅絕了吧。

這個工業化量産麵包的模式,被亞洲國家包括馬來西亞複製,直至今天,從研磨小麥到麵包的製作過程,都已經全盤現代化。

最後,請你不要對麵包心存偏見,因為,造成你健康失衡的不止是麵包,因為其他食物也像麵包一樣,面對同樣的情況,到最後,所有問題就一一反映在我們的皮膚上。所以,我的看法是,在吃麵包之前,應該好好思考如何做麵包。此外,也想想其他你吃的食物吧。

我的麵包長得不一致也不好看,我常常故意忽略它的長相,因為我知道,麵包的賣相會影響它們在消費人心目中的美味程度。但我喜歡告訴人們說,我賣的就是不一致、不好看,因為我想傳達一個訊息──好看的麵包,不一定是好麵包!

謝謝你,希望我冗長的回答不會讓你悶慌了!

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