As for the recipes themselves, there is an intuitive process of cooking and baking where you tend to put things together that grow together, or are similar, or come from a similar geographic region or culinary tradition. Mileage bakers think similarly, and it’s very common for bakers to combine dark grains with dark flavors like brown sugar or chocolate, or assertive spices like caraway seeds with rye. I don’t want to say that I’ve never seen some of these flavor combinations. Rye and chocolate are not uncommon, brownies with rye flour, our rye and chocolate babka.
But I need another brain that I can bring in more new ideas. Many of these recipes seem like revelations like, “Oh, why haven’t I thought of it before?” And others: “I know there is something, but I need to explore it further.”
I always put small pieces of different flours here and there. If I was making a biscuit, I would put cornmeal in it because it has a nice grain. Nancy [Silverton, of La Brea Bakery and Campanile, where Jullapat worked from 2000 to 2002] a bit of semolina used here and there. And when I made crepes, I always put some buckwheat in them. The bread I buy for my house has always been whole grain bread.
I had a two year hiatus before opening Friends & Family in 2017, testing, doing research at home and thinking about the bakery we were going to open. It was a time of curiosity. I’ve baked with flour from everywhere, but when Nan Kohler opened her mill in Pasadena, Grist & Toll, the whole thing broke up for me. She showed me the possibilities when you have really good grain and a robust grain economy. If you have someone who makes beautiful flour, makes it easy to use, then half the job is already done. If you don’t, the mission in the field could die.
Yours made the difference.
I already eat healthy baked goods. I love bran muffins.
I love a bran muffin. Throughout college, my breakfast was a big bran muffin I bought at the corner cafe, nothing special, probably full of sugar, wrapped in plastic. I really like this bran flavor.
But I realized that in this whole grain renaissance we don’t have any bran muffin recipes – because bran muffins are made when you extract the bran from whole wheat flour and turn it into an ingredient itself. How can you recreate this without checking the bran removal misstep? Because we don’t want that at all. I don’t want to send this message out there.
I just realized this so I’m not there for a solution yet, but it happens all the time. Immediately I thought of tons of orange peel and dried black currants. We’ll find out the rest:: I would have to coarsely grind wheat so I could sift out larger pieces of bran and then grind those myself so that they are easier to use.
Gluten is the enemy. Sugar is the enemy. One ingredient is the enemy.
There was an awkward time in the mid-2000s when there was a lot of gluten-free stuff, a lot of quinoa and amaranth, kind of a moment with chickpea flour. Very healthy, very LA, very Brooklyn. Very Gwyneth Paltrow, for lack of a better word. And people focused on “no”: I’m on an elimination diet, or I’m not making sugar, or I’m not making gluten.
It was big; it’s still huge. It’s very smart marketing because it sounds like an alternative cooking culture and is aimed at a specific group of people.
But bakeries have been around for a long time and they have always played a role in society, like bars. Should everyone go to a bar every day and have a drink? Should people have a drink at 9 a.m. No. There is a time and a place for things that we also consume in a bakery, just like in a bar. Nothing good will come from bakers who slander one type of food: If we use adjectives like “healthy” or “nutritious” or “high-fiber”, we put ourselves in a niche before we bake something.