The history of food science – episode 4 – We survived on the rye bread

University of Copenhagen
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In the history of the Food Science part 4 - We survived on the rye bread Professor of food chemistry Leif Skibsted is interviewing associate professor emerita Åse Hansen (both from UCPH FOOD) about the importance of bread for our nutrition and about the research in bread, sourdough, taste etc.

The rye came to Denmark at the end of the Iron Age, and the first clay ovens found for baking raised bread are from the Viking age. When people talked about bread, they always meant rye bread. The wheat bread was only eaten by the nobility and the rich, but today we know that the rye is far healthier for us, because we traditionally eat the whole kernel from the rye. We have traditionally milled the wheat to flour in such a way that 25% of the grain - and precisely that part with most nutrients - was sorted and used for animal feed. However, when eating whole wheat flour (also called graham flour), these nutrients are not lost. It is not about eating very coarse bread with lots of whole grains in it, but just about having to grind whole grains into flour instead of sorting out the coarser parts of the kernel, including the bran.

You also get an answer as to why the sourdough is so important to the taste of the bread, about the researcher Mikkel Hindhede, who during the First World War made experiments with his assistant Madsen to prove that a diet without much meat was preferable.