Friday, January 26, 2007

Showdown in Baker's City: Organic vs. Non-organic

Johnny & Denny turning towards the screen

Johhny: Welcome, welcome everybody! Tonight e have one of the biggest games EVER on our hands!

Denny: Thank you for joining us here in Baker's City, where tonight - people, I'm telling you, tonight - well, the results are bound to go over in history!

Johhny: That's right Denny - none other than the game we've been asking, begging, pleading to see for the last couple of years -

Denny: That is true -

Johhny: The fight between our days biggest stars, isn't it, wouldn't you say?

Denny: None other! It is game time!

Johnny: But how's about a little background story for the new-comers to boxing, Denny?

Denny: Sure, of course - and I'm sure noone will mind a lowdown on tonights stars!

intro, flash across the screen, then...

In the left corner: Mr. Manitoba - in the right, Herr Ølandshvede!

voiceover, Johnny: In the left corner, we have Mr. Manitoba. A strong wheat, originally grown in the province of Manitoba, Canada, he's known for his high gluten-developing properties. Mr. Manitoba shows no fear when it comes to wet doughs and Italian-type breads - in fact, those are the challenges he likes the most! His white color is a tell-tale sign of his love for working with bleach and pesticides in general - no organic frilly-nilly works for this guy!!

voiceover, Denny: ...and in the right corner, we see the slightly exotic looking - and by the name alone, also sounding - Herr Øland! Herr Øland is from an old, old family, stemming from Sweden, but was re-discovered by a Danish organic farmer, who noticed him for his pest-shunning qualities and high protein-content, compared to the usual wheats. The farmer brought him to Denmark, and look at what he's gotten out of him! Strong gluten - a true MONSTER!

- Back to Johnny and Denny -

Denny, looking at Johnny: it really is amazing, I mean, tonights game: you have the strong, well-developed Manitoba, and, dare I say it, the somewhat underdog, Øland, going head to head Johnny: you're right Denny, you're right. I can't wait to see this game, it's bound to be full of surprises!

Denny: So should we have a look at the preparations for the participants in tonights game?

Johnny: I think that's a great idea, Denny!

Denny: Well, Johnny - it seems both the competitors has started out by pulling the well-known trick of doing a BIGA - adding water (118 g.) and fresh yeast (5 g.) to just a part of themselves (150 g).

Johnny: I guess half the fight lies in the preparation, doesn't it, Denny?

Denny: Sure does Johnny - they've beaten themselves together more than 6 hours ago, some even have them start up to three days in advance, leaving them in a cool, cool place meanwhile. Do you think that's what they've done in this case?

Johnny: Well, judging by the looks of them, as they're entering the ring right now, they could have spend just a day or so in the shade! Here we have them:

ØLAND!!! MANITOBA!! The crowds ROAR!!!

Johnny: Now, is it just me, or does Øland there on the left look just a slightly bit - deflated?

Denny: you know, Johnny, I was thinking the exact same thing - do you think it will be to his disadvantage?

Johhny: I don't know Denny - you know, these fighters have their own ways of making things happen!

Denny: Don't I know it!

Johnny: It looks like we're getting ready down there...

Denny: Now, let me just point out to your folks out there: tonights game is of course in the bread category, but the judges are also giving out points for looks, texture and of course, taste!

Johnny: That's right Denny - its' going to be a big game! Not only will there be pushing and shoving and kneading - there'll be flour, yeast and water as well!

Denny: So, any last minute preparations going on down there?

Johnny: No, I think we're ready to start! Let's get ready to RUMBLE!!!!

fight starts...


Johnny: It seems both of the fighters have teamed up with a well-known persona down there...

Denny: Yes, it looks like the sports-psychologist, Dr. Durum Flour (142 g., organic kind) has been working with both our flours - is that even legal?

Johnny: Well, I guess you could say it's only fair to give the participants the same psychological ballast when going into a game like this - and yes, it's most definitely legal...

Denny: You're right, Johnny. Not much going on down there right now, is there?

Johnny: It seems they're mostly trotting around each other, trying to incorporate the first rounds extra flour (142 g.), fresh yeast (20 g.) - and is that a special brand Ø is using there? I do believe it's an organic brand, isn't it? -

Denny: You've got that right, Johnny - Ø swears by his organic yeast, he does. The yeast has been dissolved in a bit of water (236 g.) and oh - a bit of salt (10 g.) got into play there, didn't it?

Johnny: Well, an uneventful first round there...

Denny: It was, but don't judge the book by it's cover, Johnny...

Johnny: I know. Now, let's go to commercial...


Johnny: Welcome back to the game, folks, tonights game between Manitoba and Øland!

Denny: We're looking forward to the second round!


Denny: So, wait - is that extra flour I see beeing incorporated into mr. Manitoba's already huge corpus?

Johnny: I think you're right - it's amazing how he can keep incorporating and incorporating, isn't it, Denny?

Denny: Especially considering Øland already looks filled to the brim!

Johnny: Don't let that fool you - he might have some aces up his sleeve!

Denny: They're moving on to the business letter turns now, aren't they?

Johnny: Looks like it, Denny - they're right there on the table, being stretched and turned every half hour, two times in total.

Denny: And I know, this looks like it won't mean a thing, that they're just being lazy - but don't mistake, they're building strength as we speak!


Johnny: So what's happening now, Denny?

Denny: I think we have a classic game on our hands here, Johnny. They're going to stay in low gear, for another 2 hours or so, rising up as we wait for the action to happen - but I think we could wait for a while. They might even withdraw to the cooling area, which will have us waiting for hours...

Johnny: I hope that won't happen! Here's a couple of words from our sponsors...


Denny: Welcome back - well, Denny, you were right - they withdrew.

Johhny: They sure did. But now they're back, and look at the shape they're in!


Denny: I must say, they've grown quite a lot, haven't they?

Johnny: That's what you get!

Johnny: And we're on again!

Denny: It seems - it looks like they're shaping themselves!

Johnny: ...and tucking into a couple of rising baskets... Let's se how they're going to get on here!

Denny: I must say, they've been pretty much on the same level so far, haven't they?

Johnny: I agree, Denny - let's see if something happens once they go into the oven...


Straight to commercial...

Johnny: Welcome back to the fourth round here - we're just about ready to go into the oven!

Denny: ...and we've had to do one bread first, seeing they need pretty much space in there -they've drawn straws and it looks like Øland is starting...


Johnny: Some problems getting out of the rising basket there, hasn't he?

Denny: He does, indeed - oh, but there he goes! Onto the baking stone...

Johnny: Now there's just waiting...

Denny: But wait, what's that smell?

Johnny: Oh my. You're not going to believe this! Manitoba is moving in for the kill! I can't believe this, would you...

Denny: Øland's DOWN, he's out, oh, that is one DEADLY blow!

Johnny: That is some unhealthy wounds he caught there, that Øland!

Denny: And I thought he was just getting of on the right foot there - will he be able to come back, you think, Johnny?

Johnny: It's hard to say, Denny - let's have a look at how Manitoba turns out from the oven...

Denny: He's taking the sure path, on a baking sheet, instead of the baking stone...

Johnny: Well, you learn from your opponents mistakes, don't you?

Denny: Looks like it - oh I can barely bear to look at Øland - that is one sad, sad way to end this...

Johnny: It isn't necesarily over yet, Denny!



Denny: And we're back form commercials, round five, now, folks - the breads will present themselves to the judges and be awarded points and comments on texture, looks and of course, taste - and here we go:

Voiceover, Johnny: He sure does look good, that Manitoba - a beautiful, white crumb, high rise - he has got things going for him!

Voiceover, Denny: Herr Øland, the underdog - but look at that, despite his wounds, he looks amazing! A hole-y crumb, a beautiful suntanned look - he's ready for the judges!

Johhny: Judge Martin, pokes the two breads sligtly, taps underneith them - he does throw a sceptic glance towards Ølands wounds, but he declares - yes, he does declare Øland the winner of the looks and "sounds" category!!

Denny: And here we have judge Martins Mom, the other judge in the competetion tonight - she does like the look of our Manitoba, yes, she does! She notices the slightly doughy look of Ølands interior - not something she approves of, but she must admit it might have to do with him getting sliced before he was completely cold. No, no she sticks with Manitoba!

Johnny, low voice: Now, they blindfold the taste judge, just to make sure she wont know which is which when she tastes them...

Denny: Here we go, first bite...

Judge: It's a little bit bland, this one - the texture not quite as chewy as I'd like - but there's a nice crumb here, it's definitely got something going for it!

Johnny: And the second bite...

Judge: Now, the crumb here is a bit more chewy, but still airier, somehow. There's also a more complex taste... Definitely a good crumb here also, and the crust is plain wonderful.

Denny & Johnny: ...she's going to deliberate with the other judges - wait, here they are again already!

Judges: In spite of all his efforts and accounting his somewhat sly tricks with scorching mr. Øland to a burn, we declare Mr. Manitoba to not posses enough complexity and "want-to-eat-more"-capabilities to be able to win this competition - the winner of this competition is therefore HERR ØLAND!!!!!

Crowds ROAR!!!!

Johnny: Well, that was an exciting game, folks!

Denny: Indeed it was! Let's have one last look at the competitors tonight, they sure fought well! Thank you for joining us here tonight, and 'till the next time!

Tonights winner, Herr Øland!!

The loser, Mr. Manitoba...

Outro credits:
Pugliese recipe - from Rose Levy Berenbaum's The Bread Bible. Made in double portions, in two versions - one with Manitoba flour, one with Ølandshvede. Both batches used organic durum flour and the bigas were both done with non-organic yeast.

Where did YOU bet your money???;-)


Alanna said...

Amazing!!!!!!!!!!!! What a face-off!

Melissa said...

Fantastically creative post, Zarah! And so interesting (and gratifying) to know that you CAN tell the difference between organic and non in bread!

Anonymous said...

That's funny, this ends differently than I thought! When I first read this in Bloglines, the feed ended at the "deadly blow" and I thought Manitoba won it. Glad I was finally able to read the whole thing - good job!

Anonymous said...

Really cool! Although as a Canadian I feel a bit obligated to root for Mr. Manitoba...

tim said...

Ding! A knock out post!

bakerina said...

Wow. That was *brilliant*, Zarah. Thank you. :)

Zarah Maria said...

Hi Alanna! Yup, those fights get EXCITING!

Hi Melissa! And thank you - it was fun to write! Indeed, indeed, there is a difference - and now the boyfriend doesn't mind me shelling out those extra bucks for the real organic flour. Next, I wanna try small-mill organic vs. huge corporation organics - could get interesting, too...

Hi Cathy! I know, the first version I had up I'd tampered too much, so the html-code was all effed up - and there has to be a happy ending, doesn't there?:-)

Hi Sara! I totally understand you feeling obligated in Mr. Manitoba's direction - hey, maybe if he turned organic he'd have a better chance?;-)

Hi Tim - thank you!

Hi Jen! Thank you, and you're very welcome!:-)

Eva said...

Just stumbled over your blog - this post is hilarious! Honestly, just by the looks of it I couldn't have made a decision - both of your breads look fabulous! For some reason mine is tasty but always turns out a bit flat. I should probably invest money in those baskets I suppose...

Zarah Maria said...

Hi Eva! And am I happy you did, 'cause you seem to have a fabulous blog yourself and I'd never have known, hadn't you stopped by! I'll definitely drop by yours - often! Re. the baskets - you know, half of the time, I don't use mine. Often, the dough gets stuck in there and that makes for even flatter bread than when you do them free form, if you ever get them out! These breads were made in made-up baskets (a colander lined with a heavily floured dish towel) It can still be tricky not to have them deflate totally, but I'm getting the hang of it - practice makes perfect, as they say...

Anonymous said...

Hey, i loved your post! I am living in Denmark and am thinking of buying the Ølandshvede wheat. Usually, I grind it myself and make bread and pancakes out of it. Do you know if Ølandshvede is a type of winter wheat? Can you grind it well? Do you know if its like any other wheats you can get in other countries? Im glad it came out on top in the show down you did:) Thanks for the post!