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— Sean Gerych, WV
Pleasant Hill Grain Baking Glossary
Parboil – To cook slightly by boiling for a short time.
Parchment Paper, Bakery Paper – A disposable, non-stick paper to bake cookies and other items on, that may otherwise stick to a baking sheet. Parchment paper is also convenient to bake artisan bread on (place paper directly onto hot stone). The paper is cellulose based and comes bleached or unbleached. Silicone is often used as the non-stick agent. (See our unbleached parchment paper.)
Pastry Flour – Ground from soft wheat, this flour has a lower protein (and gluten) content so it suits delicate baking better than hard wheat does.
Pâte Fermenté – (See Old Dough.)
Pearl – The round shape distinctive of some food, such as European pearl sugar, that is much like natural clam pearls.
For pearled grain see “Polish.”
Pearl Barley, Pearled Barley – Pearl or “pearled” barley is barley with its hull and bran removed and is the most popular variety of barley, especially used in soups. Because of this processing, pearl barley cooks up more quickly than other types of barley, and is less chewy. High in dietary fiber, B vitamins, and minerals, barley is one of the most nutritious cereal grains. Since it contains a good amount of beta-glucan soluble fiber barley is a low-glycemic food, great for diabetics. (See our non-GMO organic pearl barley.)
PHG – Pleasant Hill Grain
Phytate – This is the bond holding phytic acid together. A naturally occurring substance within plants which holds most of the phosphorus (phytic acid) a plant needs.
Phytic Acid – This is what we call the phosphorus inside a phytate bond. Unless already hydrolyzed, phytic acid cannot supply phosphorus to the human body since the human digestive tract is unable to absorb it while it’s still bound with phytates. These bound up molecules are structured like a snowflake, with several “arms” sticking out all around.
In the human body, these “arms” coming out from the phytic acid molecules will grab other minerals they come in contact with and bind with them (particularly calcium, iron, zinc, potassium, and manganese). This means that for humans to consume bound phytic acid we will not only miss out on some added phosphorus, but other minerals our body would otherwise benefit from are now being stolen by this phytic acid snowflake robber. Since mineral deficiencies lead to a wide variety of health problems, too much bound phytic acid can make a person very sick. Breaking down phytic acid into a usable form of phosphorus in food could allow bodies to absorb up to 20% more zinc, and 60% more magnesium than they would when consuming food with natural phytic acid levels.
Phytic acid can be reduced dramatically in seeds, grain, beans, and nuts through particular food preparation strategies that break the phytic acid apart from the phytates. These strategies include sprouting, soaking (in non-acidic liquid, or acidic liquid), fermenting and cooking (cooking is less effective than sprouting or fermenting); sometimes two or three processes are necessary to reduce the phytic acid as much as possible. Roasting will greatly reduce phytic acid as well, but will destroy the phytase enzyme within the food.
Soy products, sesame seeds, Brazil nuts, bran and almonds are exceptionally high in phytic acid levels.
Phytase – This is an essential enzyme for good digestive tract and bone health. The enzyme is found in plants and catalyzes the hydrolysis of phytic acid into a usable form of phosphorous for the plants.
Human bodies will typically not produce phytase, but by adding lactobacilli into our gut microflora there will be some production of this important enzyme—making it easier for humans to digest food with phytic acid.
This enzyme is destroyed if frozen, left over about 175˚ F for ten minutes, or if left soaking at 131-149˚ F; for this reason the naturally present phytic acid in plant-food can only be used to human advantage if food is kept under these temperatures during preparation. Phytase also dies off as it’s stored, so for this reason it’s best to grind flour (using a) fresh, right before it’s needed.
The amounts of phytase within plants vary, but its levels are high in some grains including wheat, rye, barley and buckwheat and particularly low in corn, millet, brown rice and oats. With proper preparation nearly all the phytic acid can be neutralized from food. 8 hours of wheat or rye fermentation using a wild yeast starter is sufficient to neutralize all the phytic acid within grains rich in phytase; and a food like rice, which hardly has any phytase in it but is very high in phytic acid, can have 96% of the phytic acid eliminated by soaking for 24 hours using the accelerated soaking technique.
Pinto Beans – These light beige beans with reddish brown speckles are a part of the common bean family. They’re predominantly grown in the southwest United States, and are the most popular bean eaten in the United States and northwest Mexico.
Like many other beans, pinto beans are a heart-healthy food since they're a good source of cholesterol-reducing dietary fiber, folic acid, protein, vitamin B1 as well as the minerals magnesium, manganese, iron, phosphorus, and potassium. The carbohydrates in these beans are complex, which puts them low on the glycemic index rating scale. Since they are helpful at keeping blood sugar levels steady and even, they also supply steady energy. Another way they provide good energy is through their supply of iron: 1 cup cooked beans will provide 20% of the suggested daily value of this mineral. Since these beans are low in calories, and practically fat-free too they are a great food to boost iron levels. In fact, pairing pinto beans with a whole grain will create a dish comparably protein-rich to red meat, for a fraction of the cost, calories, and saturated fat.
Soaking the beans (preferably overnight in 140˚ F water), and draining the soaking liquid off before cooking will lower the tannin, phytic acid, and indigestible starchy sugar levels (these sugars are the cause of flatulence for some people). Soaking overnight reduces the mineral blocking phytic acid by Soaking beans will also greatly reduce the cooking time, which means more nutrients will be better kept within the bean, and less energy and time will be spent on your part to prepare the beans. (See our.)
Polish (Polished) – When the husk of a whole grain is scoured off, this is referred to as polished or pearled grain. Polished grain cooks faster than the whole grain would. All white rice has been polished.
Poolish – A fairly wet pre-ferment/pre-dough process used widely in France with its roots in Poland. Typically, a poolish uses an equal amount of flour and water with a little (variable amount of) yeast. Development in a covered bowl usually takes 12 hours.
Powdered Sugar (also Confectioner Sugar or Icing Sugar) – Finely ground refined cane sugar. In commercial production, powdered sugar sometimes contains an anti-caking agent such as cornstarch. Powdered sugar can be made at home by grinding cane sugar in a coffee grinder, blender or with a mortar and pestle. Powdered sugar dissolves quickly and is ideal for sweetening frostings and icings. It is also used as a decorative finish for baked goods when it’s lightly dusted over the top of brownies, cakes, doughnuts, and other sweets. It’s also used in candy making and to roll fried foods in. (See our powdered sugar.)
Pre-Ferment – Also called “mother dough”. This is a pre-dough used in final dough to initiate fermentation. Pre-ferments or “fermentation starters” are used to create artisan breads with more robust, nut-like flavor, longer shelf-life, and easier digestibility. A pre-ferment may be either stiff or wet and loose, and rarely contains salt.
Pre-heat – Heating a heating element before it’s needed to cook/bake food with.
Sometimes bread recipes in particular will call for heating an oven about 50˚ F hotter than the food will need to be baked at, and then instruct lowering of the oven temperature as soon as the food is put in to bake. This higher heat at the very beginning helps the oven spring develop in bread dough.
Pre-Dough – Dough made with some of the flour, water and yeast from a final dough recipe. A pre-dough is used to achieve fermentation. Soakers are similar to pre-doughs, but contain no yeast—commercial or wild.
Probiotic – Live microorganisms, such as yeast and bacteria which benefit the host. Probiotic is a Greek word meaning “life promoting.” Having good bacteria in a body will promote a healthy gut microflora which will support the immune system and digestive tract, fighting against infection and disease. Probiotics can be found in food with lactic acid, but may also be obtained in supplement form.
- The technique of raising the dough for the final time before baking. This is a step in the fermentation process.
- Testing yeast to see if it’s active.
To proof yeast...
- Mix 1 tsp. sugar into 1/2 cup of warm water (110°-115° F)
- Mix in 2-1/4 tsp yeast
- If mixture has risen to the top of the cup by the end of 10 min, yeast is very active. If not, it needs to be replaced.
Popcorn – A type of whole grain corn. The kernels of popcorn will pop open when heated. Without heavy seasoning and butter, popcorn can be a healthy snack high in dietary fiber, and low in calories and fat. For healthy snacking air-popping the corn, and topping with olive oil and unrefined sea salt are great options. Besides eating, popcorn is also used for craft making. (See.)