True to our Italian roots we revere tradition and the old ways of baking. For us, a truly nourishing food with the richest flavors is prepared in small quantities, following traditional methods and using organic, whole and truly natural ingredients.
We say NO to genetically modified foods and also to foodst have been altered in substantial and harmful ways in order to adapt them for the industrial production of food. Modern Wheat is a good example of the later, it has been highly hybridized to increase the gluten content so bread can be industrially produced.
Whole Grains store a variety of nutrients to feed the future germinating seed and myriad phytochemicals for the protection of that seed. By stone grinding Whole Grains at the bakery we preserve every nutrient and health protective substance. But we also include some compounds that decrease the nutritional value of food by making a nutrient unavailable or indigestible. They are known as antinutrients and they have to be neutralized.
The phytochemicals, that function helping plants resist pathogens, are extremely beneficial in protecting humans from cancer and other modern disease, we know them as antioxidants. Whole Grains have antioxidant levels as high as the richest vegetables or fruits but they are tied up in the bran layer and in the germ. They have to be freed to become bio-available to protect our health.
Antinutrients and Gluten in the Whole Grains can be detrimental to our health. Enzyme inhibitors interfere with our digestion, Phytic acid combines with iron, copper, calcium, magnesium and zinc blocking their absorption in the intestinal tract. Gluten intolerance is on the rise worldwide because modern wheat has become so prevalent in the Western diet that humans are actually overdosing on it (scientific research has linked Gluten to a variety of modern autoimmune diseases (our immune system attacking our own ccells).
Making the antioxidants bio-available and neutralizing the potentially harmful substances is accomplished by the action of our fermentation cultures. They in effect predigest the Whole Grains for us. The Lactic Acid Bacteria in our cultures generate the molecular building blocks to feed their growth by breaking down complex substances through enzymatic action. The important cosequence for us is that the protective antioxidants are released, the phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors are neutralized, and the gluten content is reduced.
Like traditional societies have done for milennia, the doughs for our breads are naturally fermented for a period of more than 24 hours by the microorganisms in our Sonoma Cultures. For our Cookies (Wheat Free and Gluten Free) we use the simple traditional practice of soaking the grains for 12 hours. Soaking allows enzymes and microorganisms to neutralize antinutrients and free antioxidants, but Gluten is not as affected as with the long fermentation with the special cultures we use for the breads (the same is true for sprouting).
Grindstone Bakery was founded in 1999. We started in a small "garage" in Santa Rosa, California, experimenting with alternatives to modern Wheat and creating cultures for an authentic sourdough fermentation.
My father was a partner at a flour mill. I grew up among grain fields and all kinds of flours and breads. I wanted to be a chemist, so my father thought that the natural path for me was to be the mills chemist.
But during my studies I was captivated by the world of science and decided that just testing flours was not enough of a life. So, I went on pursuing an elusive career in science.
Today, I am extremely happy that I have found myself again. Baking, being a science, requires the precision and rigor, the experimental and inquisitive skills that are rooted in my scientific background. Baking is also an act of love that now provides meaning to my life.
Thanks for your interest in Grindstone Bakery!
-- Mario Repetto