Greetings fellow bakers. I’d like to welcome you to my latest Meet the Baker Behind the Loaves series podcast interview. Beyond the inspirational quote that kicks off this podcast episode I’d like to share the following quote with you.
“It is our goal to support research that improves California wheat quality and marketability, and to develop and maintain domestic and international markets for California wheat.” (source).
With so much discussion about maintaining the financial viability of growing heirloom and ancient grains and the health benefits of baking and eating whole grain sourdough bread. Meeting passionate individuals like Claudia Carter, California Wheat Commission’s executive director, reassures me that these topics will only continue to become even more prioritized in discussions amongst those outside the sourdough baking community such as key decision makers and community leaders.
So without further ado, please join me in getting to know the baker behind the loaves, Claudia Carter, mother, whole grain advocate, and dedicated team leader.
The following topics were discussed during the course of this interview (podcast episode):
0:00-1:53 – Inspirational quote / Episode Intro
1:54-2:43 – Greetings and Recent challenges that California’s farmers have been facing (e.g. drought)
2:44-9:10 – Claudia’s food science journey, what sparked her interest in studying cereal science, and the evolution of her passion for whole grain baking since joining the California Wheat Commission.
9:11-22:29 The educating and promotion of a healthy and nutritious diet in children: How Claudia presents the importance of eating whole grains to schools and those involved in making decisions about school lunch programs. Including topics such as the whole grain element of school lunches, the history of refined and enriched flours, and the implications of the physical differences between modern commodity and heirloom/ancient grain wheat stalks (the grain revolution).
22:30-27:25 The unique history of cultivating and milling high quality grains in California and Keeping the growing of heirloom grains in California financially viable.
27:26-32:42 – How the California Wheat Commission helps facilitate relationships between with men and women at every link in the chain from the farmers all the way to the bakers and How the demand for specific wheat varieties is created through research, regular communication, and the unique level control that local grain elevators possess.
32:43-35:45 – Two of Claudia’s farmer relationships that to her exemplify the mission and efforts of the California Wheat Commission: Fritz Durst (Tule Farms: growing grain as part of an organic soil health program) and Paul Muller (Full Belly Farm: CSA – selling a diverse array of grains and produce directly to consumers). Both of them bring their grains to the CWC for analysis and feedback.
35:46-39:19 – Current research projects being conducts by both the CWC and UC Davis: 1) Finding varieties of Triticale (wheat and rye hybrid) that are suitable for bread baking. 2) Researching and testing new and old wheat varieties and then making them available to farmers year to year.
39:20-41:07 Wheat varieties that have stood out to Claudia recently: Einkorn and Rouge de Bordeaux (introduced to her by Grist and Toll).
41:08-43:49 The characteristics and sources of the California Wheat varieties that Claudia sent me to bake with: WB 9229, Summit and Patwin.*** Click here to view their baking experiment article***
43:40-46:24 – Claudia’s whole grain home baking: Pasta, carrot cake, tortillas, and more.
46:25-54:56 – Factors impacting the prevalence of gluten intolerance in the US and The benefits of long fermentation and eating local whole grains.
54:57-1:02 – “Living bread” and “Living food” – A) Producers and consumers honoring the food that we grow and eat. B) Working together to make whole grains and healthy foods in general affordable to the masses. C) One family at a time choosing to switch to whole grains. D) Exposing kids to whole grains and organic produce from a young age (at home and school).