Monday, May 4, 2009

Getting to know my Reinhart cookbooks once again

Since my entire family is probably sick of challah and rustic sourdough batards, I signed up for the Bread Baker's Apprentice Challenge and will be using this blog to document my efforts.   Right now, the only Peter Reinhart recipe in my rotation is Pain a l'ancienne, which I use for pizza crust.  Honestly, I exiled BBA and Crust and Crumb to my livingroom bookshelf after some recent failed attempts at Reinhart's Whole Grain Breads recipes.  I am sure there are many wonderful recipes in this book, but I could not get past the whole Broom Bread headnote.... 

When I first saw the Broom Bread recipe, I did not immediately read the description, rather I began daydreaming of early Puritan settlers sweeping their floors while they fed their whole-wheat sourdough starters (wheat harvested with the help of their friends the Indians, of course)... then I thought of Sarah Plain and Tall in Kansas or Oklahoma or whatever grain-producing state she moved to in order to marry Pa and raise his kids. Even though broom bread wasn't mentioned in that book, I could imagine her sweeping up the chaff while her broom bread, made from recently-ground wheat, baked in her wood-fired oven. And I think her baby was getting warmed by the oven as well-- my broom-bread day dream was taking place in the winter. 

If you've made it this far, and I'm very sorry if you have, you will find out the true meaning of broom bread:

According to Reinhart, "All whole grain breads are high in fiber, but this one is a super-fiber loaf."

You might be thinking, "Huh? Is it called broom bread because it contains pieces of the broom?" That would be a better alternative to its true meaning.

Reinhart continues, "I call it broom bread because it really cleans out the colon as it works its way through your system."

It even comes with a warning, "As with all high-fiber foods, be sure to drink plenty of water to keep it moving and to get the full health value from it."

I'm not even sure if I should be posting this since I am known, on occasion, to share bread with friends and family. Here are some scenarios that could arise:

Strife among family and friends:
1) Me: "Do you want to try this bread? It is healthy!" 
Relative or friends at/nearing AARP eligibility: "What? Is that the broom bread you were telling me about? Are you trying to tell me my colon is dirty? Or do you think I'm at the age where I need to be eating more fiber????"

Awkward moments:

2) Friend: "Hey, that bread looks healthy."
Me: "It is. It's called broom bread."
Me (thinking): Rats. Now she's going to ask why it is called broom bread. I can't lie. I know the truth. The truth is painful.
Friend: Why is it called broom bread?
Me: Let me tell you about colons and the benefits of fiber.

Risk of physical danger!:

3) Me: Here, have some bread.
Friend: I don't have time to eat it here. I'll eat it in the car.
Me: In that case, you should take this bottle of water with you.
Friend: I'm not thirsty
Me: But it is dangerous to eat this bread without drinking a lot of water. This is BROOM bread. 
Friend: What's that?
Me: Well, Peter Reinhart calls it broom bread because it really cleans out the colon as it works its way through your system.

I'm sure there are many uses for broom bread. As I was writing this, I thought of one exciting possibility....

Sometimes we serve guests Underberg or digestives after dinner so people FEEL less full. One possibility is to serve broom bread... or, send the guests home with broom bread so that they won't just FEEL less full, they'll BE less full. 

If the effects of Broom Bread are intriguing or if you aren't into artisan baking and don't have 20 hours to spend making Broom Bread, I think Rite Aid sells Metamucil.


  1. hahahaha! I was actually going to suggest that we do his Whole Grains book next ;-)

  2. hahahaha I have found if the purpose is comedic value it is ok to lie to friends. Heck they would/have done the same to me.

    When you said broom bread my first thought went to the dirt floors too.