Bread enthusiasts discuss baking techniques and the ways that low-carb diets have villainized the starchy staple.






  • evocative – bringing strong images, memories, or feelings to mind
  • tangy – having a strong, piquant flavour or smell
  • carbohydrates (carbs) – any of a large group of organic compounds occurring in foods and living tissues and including sugars, starch, and cellulose. They contain hydrogen and oxygen in the same ratio as water (2:1) and typically can be broken down to release energy in the animal body
  • grain – wheat or any other cultivated cereal used as food
  • staple – a main or important element of something
  • sustainable – able to be maintained at a certain rate or level
  • crucial – of great importance
  • dough – a thick, malleable mixture of flour and liquid, used for baking into bread or pastry
  • to break sth down – separate something into a number of parts
  • sourdough – leaven for making bread, consisting of fermenting dough, originally that left over from a previous baking
  • loaf – a quantity of bread that is shaped and baked in one piece and usually sliced before being eaten
  • to resonate – evoke images, memories, and emotions
  • villify – speak or write about in an abusively disparaging manner
  • obesity -the state of being grossly fat or overweight
  • suspect (adj) – not to be relied on or trusted; possibly dangerous or false
  • additive – a substance added to something in small quantities to improve or preserve it
  • wonkypreoccupied with arcane details or procedures in a specialized field
  • tactile – of or connected with the sense of touch

Watch and listen

Answer the questions below.

  • How do you make really good bread? (00:35)
  • What is the role of a “starter” in making bread? (2:10)
  • What did Oprah say about bread (3:30)
  • Why does bread have such a bad reputation? (4:00)
  • What characteristics does bad bread have? (5:45)

Practice Makes Perfect

WORD FORMATION: Fill in the blanks with the correct form of the word in CAPITALS at the end of the paragraph. Go to The New Yorker to find out more.

Bread is deeply nostalgic and tied to so many memories. It’s the coolest thing ever to take this carbohydrate and turn it into protein that allows for human 1.__________.     EXIST

Every food culture uses grain. Grain is a food that expands and it’s natural that people would base their diet on a food that actually gives you more than the sum of its parts. This is why its such an important part of people’s diets, because it’s 2.__________, it’s sustainable.     ECONOMY

There are a couple other 3.__________ that I think are crucial to really making a perfect loaf of bread, and making the same loaf of bread every time, and that’s temperature and time.     CONSIDER

Certain doughs will like to ferment at a certain temperature and certain doughs might be warmer or cooler and certain doughs are very, very fast, but understanding how those two 4.__________ fit into the baking process are crucial to making good bread.     VARY

Bread is the foundation of our daily meals. It’s the number one food on the tables of people all over the world. A few years ago, Oprah came out with an ad for Weight Watchers. She’s one of their 5.__________. It was just this very simple, short video, in which she said– “This is the joy for me. I love bread.”     SPEAK

I think the current carbohydrate craze came when obesity became a big problem in American society, and that started in about 1980. That was when the number of calories in the food supply increased 6.__________ and went from about 3,000 a day per person to about 4,000 a day.     DRAMA

It was supermarket packaged white bread loaded with 7.__________, no fermentation, lots of sugars and artificial ingredients, and that bread is not good for people and I think a lot of us grew up with bread like that, and maybe still eat bread like that and so yeah, it’s making us sick.     ADD

Soft, delicious, nutritious, an American 8.__________. It’s what it is.     CLASS

I do think carbs are making a 9.__________. Bread has become a menu item in a way that it didn’t use to be. It’s really an art, and to me, it’s one of the best parts of a meal if it’s done well. Will the vilification of carbs continue? I hope not. I wish people could enjoy what they eat and not worry about this so much.     COME

As the world has gotten more 10.__________, as the news has gotten worse and worse, people are looking for things to throw themselves into and I think making bread is a really tactile experience that really requires a lot of focus and time, and I think it’s sort of the ultimate hobby for our age.     CHAOS

Answers:1. existence   2. economical   3. considerations   4. variables   5. spokespeople   6. dramatically   7. additives

8. classic   9. comeback   10. chaotic