Photography by Tracey Creed
Assisted by Amandine Paniagua
Recipe by Amandine Paniagua and Tracey Creed
Words by Tracey Creed
Published May 7 2020
In a small bowl mix the olive oil, garlic and parsley.
Using a serrated knife, slice your baguette however you feel, we went for verticals, similar to the kind you find in tin foil at the supermarket. Or you could go straight up the middle so you have two halves.
Now take, ideally a pastry brush (we used a knife, make use of what you have) and start slathering the garlic and herb oil all across that bread. And when you are getting to the end, pour it on. Sprinkle over sea salt.
Once your bread is adequately and evenly coated, place on a baking tray in the oven to bake at 175°C for 4 to 5 minutes. Perhaps up to 10, that will depend on your oven. Ours was done in under 5.
Garlic bread is best eaten in the moment, straight from the oven. It tends to go a bit hard afterwards.
With most of us voluntarily sequestered into our homes, much of us are, apparently making sourdough bread. We made vegan garlic bread — use quality olive oil, no butter. It’s not needed. During the winter months, house dinners frequently involve soup and this garlic bread. Otherwise when I am feeding myself, I’ll usually resort to large salads, some roasted root vegetables with sourdough bread — garlic bread is like a secret sauce, quality olive oil, herbs and salt. It also goes alongside a lot of salad bowls. Or straight from the oven, just the bread.
I much prefer to prepare my food, even pre lockdown and the closure of well, everything, I would rarely eat out and never ordered takeout. For me, it’s about what I’m eating, and everything that leads up to the meal, and that also means avoiding highly processed foods. In part the significance has to do with understanding the transformation all these foods go through, the energies this might bring, or take away.
Convenience culture has completely normalised highly processed, packaged foods, I think if anything, eating less out of packets in itself is a health move — as much about what these foods contain as it is about what they leave out. For the most part, the food industry creates ultra-processed foods that have taken over our supermarkets, disease and a real sense of disconnect — a spiritual and physiological erosion. Something is being depleted here. And on some level, my food philosophy, centred around eating plants, organic and locally sourced where possible is a deep desire on my part to regain it.
I had never considered how much went into humble staples — bread, for example, or chocolate, any food really until I was studying nutrition at university. And part of the issue is that food is so heavily commoditised. It just shows up at the grocery store. Some foods you will spend more on than others, and I think that is like anything. We are fortunate to have access to incredible sourdough that we have delivered weekly from The Dusty Apron. Daily Bread is another. This baguette is one of theirs. Baking is very physical with long working hours, at the very least, given I can, I choose to sustain those who grow and produce the foods that sustain us. Not that I am advocating for us all to buy $10 loaves of sourdough but rather that we consider that we eat our values.
Being perfectly honest, the kind of bread you choose will define your outcome here. Real bread is about the ingredients, the science. And it also takes time. While bread is considered a high carbohydrate food Lactic Acid bacteria in sourdough reduces starch availability, lowering your glycemic responses. Long fermentation periods reduce and degrade the gluten — a fermented loaf is easier to digest. The fermentation adds depth to flavour and dough strength. Lactobacilli are naturally produced during fermentation creating lactic acid — essential, protective to the gut, helping maintain a healthy digestive system. Also, sourdough is a fermented food like kimchi and tempeh. Sourdough is microbiome friendly bread. Some gluten-sensitive people can still eat sourdough.
The supermarket loaf, less digestible, stripped of all it’s nutritional potential, degraded — white bread sold for a few dollars is additives combined with processing aids. And a radical reduction in fermentation time. It was the shaping, compromising the system — green revolution, intensive farming, the want for producing more for much less at the expense of everything else. That is what industrial bread is — a reflection of who we are becoming as a society. And now you begin to understand the implications of consumer culture and everything that implies.
This is a system that is working to normalise the harmful consequences of industrialisation, the formulation and assembly of chemically modified food substances. And I think we have to ask ourselves if we want to financially support commercial and corporate interests that place profit and efficiency above all other outcomes, instead of preserving agricultural biodiversity. Our groceries are a public health statement, and within that, there are social and ethical implications for our food choices. And if you would like to know more about how all of these themes come together, I would recommend the following reads:
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