Ode to good bread

Ode to good bread

Alessandra Guigoni

Making bread: during the lockdown in Italy we kneaded many times, with pleasure and emotion. It is one of those practices, in fact, more linked to food nostalgia, the rediscovery of one’s cultural roots, the revival of family memories.
Why did we insist on flour and yeast? Because bread is the food that perhaps more than any other is the cornerstone and symbol of Italian identity.
Is it still like that? Only in part: at the end of the nineteenth century the various parliamentary agricultural surveys showed a per capita consumption of almost a kg per day, it was the food almost exclusive to the working classes; today consumption is about 100 g per day.
The Mediterranean diet and its pyramid, at the base of which there are also bread and pasta, appears to us today upside down. Every day we consume red meats, sweets, cured meats, sweetened drinks, etc., while legumes, fruit, vegetables and cereals are becoming residual, especially in young people.
Today we live longer but suffer from the so-called diseases of well-being, which make our elderly long-lived but fragile, and the pandemic has shown us mercilessly all the defects of a health system based on pills and not on the prevention of metabolic and cardiovascular diseases. Instead the motto could be: give more life to the years and not more years to life; in this a good diet makes the difference!
If it weren’t for Covid-19 we wouldn’t have gotten those flours and semolina, those brewer’s or mother’s yeast, butter, eggs: comfort food to exorcise loneliness, anguish and the spectre of death, recreating the fragrant elixir of family nest and life, through simple baked yeasts.
Then it’s quick to say yeast. Beer yeast is simple, sourdough is complex. It is the “mother” of bread. The mother dough inflates the dough but also makes the dough more fragrant, digestible, preservable and healthy, as several clinical trials have shown. These experiments underline the nutraceutical role of these breads, which also nourish our microbiota, responsible, among other things, for a better immune defense and psychophysical well-being.
In short, it is not necessary to be afraid to consume bread, which is a functional food if it is made properly, but only bad bread.

pani