BREADTalk: Amy Halloran and the Grain Movement

Hello Fellow Bakers!

A little side note to start: Sorry it has been awhile! I just completed my California State Board exam in order to obtain my Chinese Medicine License. I’m free at last! The test was a beast, as expected, but now I can finally get back to writing more blog posts and baking more bread!! YES!! This particular post has been a long time coming…I’m happy it is finally complete! Hope you enjoy!


A few months back I was talking to my friend Nan over at Grist & Toll, and she mentioned a woman named Amy Halloran. She suggested I look her up; that she is working on a book on the whole grain movement and that I might be interested. Uhhhh….Ya think?! So I went home that very day and looked her up. And to my surprise, she has an obsession for grains, just like I do.  But it’s not bread that gets her all riled up.  It’s pancakes. It all started when she was a kid apparently, and her dad let her steer the griddle one morning. The pancake mix was boxed, but the theme continued throughout her life, and the first meal she made for the man who is now her husband was corn pancakes. Finding fresh, stoneground, organic whole grain flour amped her serious interest in pancakes to a full blown mania that led her to write a book, The New Bread Basket.

Awhile after I met Amy’s writing, Nan sent an email to Amy and I, totally out of the blue, introducing us. Amazing how life works! We wrote one another and shared some grain love and what our favorites tend to be, how we have screwed up a mix and are frustrated, or how we might educate people enough to help them realize the importance of eating organic, whole grains; to emphasize how they are highly nutritious, can actually help you lose weight, and are not the devil (like so many people think they are). That longer rises and fermentations can actually help make the nutrients in your foods become more bioavailable, since whole wheat (that is intact) has a high amount of pre-biotics naturally. This makes our gut flora very happy indeed. It smiles at me now, no doubt. I have significantly less belly issues since eating my bread each week. I truly think of it as a medicine. And my hope is to spread this medicine out to everyone I meet, so they too, can have happier and healthier bellies/skin/moods, what have you.  Amy lives in upstate New York now, and she happily agreed to being my next BREADTalk guest. I had a few technical difficulties with my microphone on our phone call, so I apologize for the few random clicking sounds in advance. Maybe you will find them musical…? Ehhhh. But nevertheless, I hope you get to learn a bit about this wonderful woman who shares a similar mission to myself. The full title of her book is: The New Bread Basket: How the New Crop of Grain Farmers, Plant Breeders, Millers, Maltsters, Bakers, Brewers and Local Food Activists Are Changing Our Daily Loaf. SO COOL! It comes out in July this year, so be on the lookout.

In part 1, Amy discusses her flour of choice!

In part 2, Amy talks details on her upcoming book and about the magical people who inspired her to write it.

In part 3, Amy and I talk about The Bread Lab at Washington State University and all of the cool things that grain-inspired folk are up to in 2015. She begins this last segment explaining the importance of knowing the farmers and where the grains come from.


So there you have it, my friends.  Another BREADTalk.  Hope you enjoyed listening and learning a bit about Amy, and became inspired by her wholehearted awesomeness like I have! If you want to read more about her and her incredible work, check out: Until next time, keep on BAKING!

Love, Mary

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