As chefs, we must be curious about the impact of our work and purchasing decisions. Currently, food production creates more greenhouse gas emissions than the entire transportation system. This is primarily due to the beef and dairy industries. Regenerative agriculture is within our ability, as we become a more inclusive society that takes care of the planet while providing for ourselves. My passion is to help people live healthy, productive lives through the food we provide and improve the condition of life on earth while doing so. Chefs can use food to become personal biosphere stewards. Controlling food waste and using plant-forward cuisine that delivers on flavor is paramount to slowing the rate of the accelerating negative impact our population is having on the planet.
A recently made available product I have been using to enforce this belief is Kernza flour. Kernza grain plants are deeply rooted, and this perennial grain sequesters carbon from the atmosphere, trapping it deep in the soil. As a perennial, it is not replanted each year and is raised in a no-till farming practice, where only the grain tips containing the seeds are cut away each harvest, after which they grow back. I have been replacing 25% of the flours in the bread I make with sprouted Kernza flour with exceptional results and this 25% rule of thumb can work well in most recipes without affecting the final outcome. The flavor is great, and I would like to provide a simple bread recipe for all to try for themselves. At home I use a sourdough starter but have provided this recipe using dry yeast for those would don’t maintain a sourdough. When you buy Kernza perennial grain, you can be certain that your eating product was grown on a field that is preserving topsoil, building soil health, helping retain clean water, sequestering carbon, and enhancing wildlife habitat.
- 1.5 cups warm water
- 2 tsp dry yeast
- 1 tbsp honey
- 2 cups bread flour
- 1 cup Sprouted Kernza flour
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 tbsp salt
- 2 tbsp olive oil
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- Place water yeast and honey in a large bowl and mix well (stand mixer bowl if you have one). Allow to sit for 10 minutes until foamy. Add flours, salt and half the olive oil. Knead with dough hook or by hand about 5-8 minutes until a smooth elastic dough is formed. Adjust consistency with flour if sticking to surface or bowl bottom. Add second half of the oil to coat the dough and keep it moist. Cover and let rise until doubled in volume, about 2 hours at room temperature.
- Punch down and briefly kneed again to form either into a loaf pan or a Boulle as shown in the picture below. Let rise again at least 1 hour until doubled in volume, and bake in a preheated oven at 375 for approximately 45 minutes depending on your bread shape. It should be golden brown, with a firm crust and hollow sound when tapped. Allow to rest on a rack out of the loaf pan if you used one, so air can circulate around it, for a good 10 minutes. Slice and enjoy!
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