What do we know about pasta?
Before we start, I would like to say that pasta is an incredible component to our diet and a wonderful source of carbohydrate. (Wait, what?. Are carbohydrates good?. Shut the front door. !! ) Making them the building blocks to fuel our bodies. Now, let's begin.
Elder people might ask, why pasta and bread are not the same as before, some of the youth might argue that is bad for us (I am generalizing, please don’t take it personal). In this matter, could I say that pastas are not the same as before? It might be. All pastas are bad for you?. I have good and bad news depending on how you look at it. Pastas are good essentially.
Flour has essential minerals and nutrients for your organisms. But, why am I saying all this? Simple reason, industrialization and high demand have allowed short cuts in flour production.
So, now you might be wondering “do I really know what pasta is?
I am not going to be historical about pasta today. However, pasta was created as many other dishes around the world throughout many cultures, under poverty and necessity.
If we think carefully for a second, (CARBOHYDRATES and proteins) have always been around us, since modern anatomic humans diverged, around 150 thousand years ago (approximately). Furthermore, Grains have been with us for millennials supporting our civilizations. So, how come now people debate, whether is good or bad.?
The anatomy of a kernel is quite complex
For purpose of today's topic let divided in to three pieces.
Endosperm (outside), hull (middle), and germ (inside)
In a short paraphrasing, pastas started, by crushing the wheat by hand with a mortar made out of stone, at the time not white flour exist. Then, with the invention of a machine called stone mill. (In case you are wondering what on earth is a Stone mill? It is the machine where you "grind" the wheat grain) but the catch is, that it milled the whole grain, which lead to the now infamous whole wheat flour (which it is way more nutritious and flavorful). Furthermore, with the creation of rolling machine, a machine that instead of crushing the whole grain, extract the germ only, leading to the creation of white flour for the purpose of more gluten, elasticity, and durability of the dough.
So, why is different now?
There are many variables. For instances, the rolling machine heat up the grain, killing the nutritionist components inside of it. Which is the reason we see fortify flour on the supermarkets which help them get some artificial nutrients.
To explained a better, let's take an ancient technique, that now, is very popular. (It is not a pasta process but serves the purpose of today's topic). The name is sourdough, is a good example to understand everything better. Why ? Because resembles everything we have lost in the past but slowly and steadily we are recovering in the present.
When you make sourdough a lot of things happen
- The starter: the creation of life that permits the enzymes and bacteria to thrive in the correct ambiance.
- Autolyse: the process where a lot happens in the inside the mix by itself
What happen in this process, is while the enzymes are working, gluten is decreasing, and nutrient are juts procreating like crazy when it get in contact with oxygen.
Explained that humans were never able to fully digest gluten without the help of fermentation, because our digest system is relatively fast.
In modern society all the above, simply do not happen (as often as it should). One reason, time consuming.
This principal is referred to bread, but in way we could see it on pastas. Because if I left my whole grain pasta rest, a brief fermentation process will begin, oxygen will get in to the dough and carbon dioxide will start to rise. In addition, white pasta could also do it but not with the same amount of nutrient and enzymes.
Now, do not get me wrong, I do not have anything against white flour but we should know when and how to use it properly. Although, as debatable this topic might be, let’s not be afraid of any type of flour, just try them all, get your own opinion and most importantly. ENJOY IT!!!
- Tom Standge. An Edible History of Humanity. #1. New York. Bloomsbury. 2009. Print.
- Vanessa Kimbell. The Sourdough School. Vicky Orchard and Judith Hannam. #1. Great Britain. Kylebook. 2008. Print.