in Extra Matter

Eat This Newsletter 114 Wring out the old


  • AgroBioDiverse


  • Rachel Laudan




  1. Height width is an indicator of volume, or in baker parlance, oven spring. The red color are flat squat loaves, not usually appreciated by most consumers, while the purple loaves would be more upright and, I’m guessing, probably more open crumb.

  2. Not sure what you mean when you say “height is significant”. Are you talking about the height/width ratio of the loaf, which is what this graph shows? Plant height is significantly heritable, as expected, but the paper says nothing else about it.

  3. Ha! Well fortunately, you don’t have to do that. While science may capture the chemical/physical diffs, discerning better/worse is not measurable in that context & is out of my professional venue. My non professional side, however, agrees with @Rooftopvegplot. I like Einkorn. 🙂

  4. Certainly wholegrain makes a difference. It would be interesting to see if “white” flour forms were different. I wouldn’t rule out varieties, however. Wheat has primarily been bred for yield, milling, & baking qualities, not taste. That’s relatively unexplored.

  5. Interesting. The descriptors, and more importantly, the quantification of those, is pretty crucial and difficult to do as we all “taste” things differently and whatever consensus we may have is fluid over time. Were these taste panels? Consumer or professional?

  6. I think the most important contribution modern bakers can make to bread is to go back to wholemeal production, preserving massively more nutrients than refined. My bet is that also preserves far more flavour, texture and aroma than any minor fiddling with strains.

  7. “What I’d really like to see is a study of modern wheats versus truly old wheats under a range of fermentation timescales.”

    Yes, this would be very interesting. Also grown in multiple locations as that is likely as or more influential.


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  • Another example of why it’s so important to be careful with words. @EatPodcast is older than German researchers ‘old’
    wheat, I’m as old as some breadmakers’ heirloom wheats.