I've always wondered if I need to knead spelt dough, because it never seemed to make much difference. So I've done a side by side bake test to see if you really need to knead!

Spelt Buns – Do I Need to Knead Spelt?

Gavin Wren Baking, Food Techniques, Recipes, Spelt & ancient grains

Throughout my blog, I've declared that there's no need to knead spelt dough.

This pearl of wisdom originated several years ago from a source that I've entirely forgotten, yet, as I create more spelt recipes for my blog, I've begun to question it.
It's all about the gluten
Roger Saul, in his Sharpham Park 'Spelt' book, says to knead spelt dough for 10 minutes in every recipe. I was surprised to read this, it seems excessive, however, I also realise that he grows the stuff and sells it in supermarkets, so I was interested to see what benefit this really has.

All varieties of wheat (including spelt) contain two proteins, gliaden and glutenin, which if combined with water and kneaded, create a complex protein known as gluten. Gluten is what gives dough it's elasticity and stretchability, resulting...come and read more...
Arrogance in the food world

Arrogance in the Food World

Gavin Wren Food Opinion Pieces, The World of Food

When it comes to food, we’re all equal.

Eating is a basic unifying experience within humanity. It stands alone, as a unique ritual which the global population, hopefully engages with on a daily basis. Every single living person’s existence depends upon hunting, gathering, buying, cooking or ordering to ensure a steady supply of energy, and these processes require interaction with the outside world.

Obtaining food can be fraught with danger, such as dodging herds of wildebeest sweeping majestically across the Serengeti, or boldly sailing across Columbia Bar, ‘the graveyeard of the pacific’. However, these experiences pale into insignificance when compared to the condescension of Rex Goldsmith, The Chelsea Fishmonger, when attempting to buy organic salmon on a Wednesday morning in south west London.

Quite how perilous SW3 might be pivots entirely on your understanding of aquaculture and wild-capture...come and read more...
fighting obesity

Stop Fighting Obesity – The War on Weightloss is Useless

Gavin Wren Food Education, Food Opinion Pieces, The World of Food

The bathroom scales have petrified me for weeks. I feel fear in the depths of my stomach when I see them, because I’m worried that I’ve eaten too much food recently. Adamant that my slender figure was consigned to history, I felt doomed to life in the third circle of hell with the gluttons. If you need me before I die, I’ll be in a branch of Chicken Cottage.

What’s the big problem? The problem is being overweight. 10 years ago my jeans required nearly eight inches more fabric around the waist and I nudged my trusty bathroom scales to nearly thirty kilograms more than this morning’s reading. I’m proud of having fought hard to remove that excess weight and I’ll be damned if it’s going to creep back into my life.

Losing that mass uncovered neurosis around food, which endures today in paranoia and hypervigilance about my weight. It... come and read more...
As I ponder the question of whether I should, or whether I can continue Eating meat, I see it's not a question of absolutes, but one of relatives and the fifty shades of grey that they encompass.

Eating Meat – Fifty Shades of Grey

Gavin Wren Food Opinion Pieces, The World of Food

Can I Eat Meat?
At the beginning of 2017, I wrote a blog post, asking the question "Should I eat meat?". The motivation for this question came from a desire to seek moral congruity, meaning that I felt my actions as a human were not aligned with my sense of morality. I don't like the idea of inflicting pain upon a living creature, I'd hate to see my dog in pain, yet I'm happy for other living creatures to be killed, simply to provide my food. It's clear to see the contradiction here.

More recently, I've come across the psychological term 'cognitive dissonance', which refers to the ability of people to hold two or more conflicting opinions. In my case, I hold the opinion that inflicting pain on animals is wrong... come and read more...
There's one small change which can make a massive difference to each consumer

A Tiny Consumer Change with Big Potential for Food

Gavin Wren Food Opinion Pieces, The World of Food

We Consume.
Those of us who live in developed, affluent countries fiercely defend our position as consumers on this planet. We have consumer’s rights, consumer organisations and carefully plan our path of consumption, be it food, products or experiences.

It’s seen as the great aspirational freedom, to be able to consume at will. The greater the personal success and resources, the greater the opportunities for consumption. We devour food, imbibe beverages and plough through products with joyful abandon, because that is what living in a free, democratic, capitalist country means. It’s even become a growing issue in developing countries, dubbed the ‘nutrition transition’, as rapid economic growth leads people to pursue an aspirational Western diet, eating lots of meat and sugar, heading directly into over-consumption.

The USA and United Kingdom consume so much food, it’s estimated the United States is ploughing through natural resources at a rate equivalent to... come and read more...
Oliver's Wholefoods at #wakeuptoorganic

Organic Food & Russia’s Little Known Fact

Gavin Wren Food Education, The World of Food

I want to take you on a journey east, into Europe, parting the tulip fields of Holland, via the Bundesbank of Germany, around the Masurian lakes of Poland and through the plains of Belarus, which serve as the European gateway to the world's largest country. Almost 50% bigger than it's nearest contender, it spans nine time zones, comprising both bustling cities and desolate isolation, extreme weather and lush farmland. It is the birthplace of the great author Fyodr Dostoevsky and home to the Kremlin, the chair of Vladimir Putin.

Yes, Russia.

Now, Russia may seem an unlikely place to start talking about organic food, due to it's infamy for vodka, potatoes and caviar. But this gargantuan state holds an interesting position which sets it apart from much of the developed world, and makes it a good place to start this piece.
Not Organic.
But first, I want to... come and read more...