Modernist Cuisine founder Nathan Myhrvold and head chef Francisco Migoya join host Jordan Werner Barry and executive producer Michael Harlan Turkell for Modernist BreadCrumbs, a special series taking a new look at one of the oldest staples of the human diet: bread. Start with starter and then take a look at the discoveries and techniques from Modernist Bread. Enjoy interviews with the bakers, scientists, chefs, authors, millers, and Bread Heads who are shaping the future of bread. We’ll take deep dives into the microbial world, heritage grains, flatbreads, and breads with holes, but we’ll also step back and look at how bread intersects with culture, fermentation, immigration, art, and tradition. Fire up your oven and follow the breadcrumbs.
Episode 9: Mother, May I?
Welcome to Season Two of Modernist BreadCrumbs!
It seems only natural—and appropriately poetic—to start this season talking about starters. They’re the inception of the loaf, the first step. You don’t need a starter to make bread, but the story of cultivating yeast from the environment around us—whether you call it “starter,” “culture,” “levain," or “mother"—is what we’re focusing on in this episode, from microbes to miche.
We'll hear from Executive Producer Michael Harlan Turkell about his "mother," baker Sarah Owens about her "Beast," microbial ecologists Dr. Erin McKenney and Dr. Rob Dunn of "The Sourdough Project," and, of course, the co-authors of "Modernist Bread," Nathan Myhrvold and Francsico Migoya.
Episode 10: The Grain Revolution
Industrialization, and the semi-dwarf wheat developed during the Green Revolution, created a disconnect between farming and flour. But now, consumers are rejecting these commodities and rediscovering the foods, flavors, and farmers around us. This episode is about the growing movement to bring back heritage grains and strengthen local and regional food systems. In direct opposition of the Green Revolution, we’re going to hear from the front lines of the “Grain Revolution."
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.
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 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 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.
If you love eating or baking bread, this is a must listen!
Highly recommended to anyone who bakes bread
An in depth but somehow summarized view into the world of bread as, I imagine, is explained in the printed series. Highly recommended to anyone who bakes.
Please make another season
This is one of my favorite podcasts. Please do season 3!