Modernist Cuisine founder Nathan Myhrvold and head chef Francisco Migoya join Michael Harlan Turkell on Modernist BreadCrumbs, a special series taking a new look at one of the oldest staples of the human diet: bread. Each episode explores bread from a different angle; from its surprising and often complicated past, to the grains, tools, and microbes we use to make it, and the science behind every loaf. The show looks at the discoveries and techniques from Modernist Bread, as well as interviews with the scientists and bakers who are shaping the future of bread.
Episode 16: Still Life with Bread
In this episode, we’re exploring the intersection of bread and art, and the idea of bread *as* art. From Renaissance paintings of The Last Supper (complete with pretzels) and still lifes from the Dutch Golden Age to scoring videos on Instagram—the aesthetics of bread, and all that it symbolizes, have long been on display.
Episode 15: Deck the Challahs
It’s a season of celebration, and no matter what you’re celebrating, that usually means baking. Sweet or savory, traditional or cutting-edge, more people fire up their ovens during the holiday season than any other time of the year. In this episode, we're exploring holiday breads and the traditions that bring us back to them, year after year.
Episode 14: Emboiled in Lyes
We're going down the rabbit hole of breads with holes! From the New York vs Montreal bagel debate—and the power of water and lye—to the twists and turns of pretzel history, focusing on the presence of negative space is a positive thing.
Episode 13: Breads Across America
We're hopping in our Winne-bread-go and hitting the road—to explore the state of regional breads in America! We'll travel to New Orleans for a Po'boy, New England for Anadama, and to Appalachia for Salt Rising Bread, all in search of an answer to the question, "Is there a regional bread culture in the United States?"
Episode 12: Flatter, Better, Faster, Stronger
Flatbreads and quick breads may seem like strange oven-fellows, but hear us out. In the Venn Diagram of bread baking, they both fall in the overlap of “speed” and “differently leavened.” So we're firing up the tonir, the tandoor, the griddle, the bastible, the wok, and even a rock, to travel around the world through bread.
Episode 11: Something in the Air
Bread has been paired with other fermentations for millennia—with beer in Russian literature, wine in religious texts, and cheese in sandwiches around the world every day. What is it about bread that makes it a natural ally to these fermented products? Well, bread itself is a fermented product. In this episode, we’ll look at co-fermentations and variations on the process of yeast eating sugar and releasing carbon dioxide.