c/o Richemont Centre of Excellence
1. Thank you very much for taking the time to share your knowledge with our readers Mr. Pastor. You have been President of the Richemont International Club for several years and before that you were President of the Richemont Spain Club for many years. How did the relationship with the Richemont School of Lucerne come about?
I first heard about Richemont School when my son completed a bakery apprenticeship in Germany. I learned then that this school in Lucerne is probably the most advanced and best equipped training centre in Europe.
I contacted Richemont School, travelled to Lucerne and met with Mr. Walter Bösch, who was then the Director of Richemont and visited the facilities to learn more about the services and educational programmes. Following that visit, an interest on both sides arose in establishing a closer relationship with the possibility of starting a Richemont School in Spain at some point. I had been in the world of food and bakery for more than 20 years; I had also worked for Belgian and German multinationals in Spain and in Germany and knew the level of available training, both outside and inside our country.
I then tried to establish contact with administrations and with CEOPAN so that Richemont could establish itself as a training centre in Spain - unfortunately without success. After this failed attempt, we went through the Richemont Club Spain: this gave us the opportunity to bring Spanish students to the facilities in Lucerne and later to bring Richemont teachers to Spain.
2. Why did you choose Switzerland, and not Spain or another European country, for your dual vocational training?
After working as export director for a company in Germany in the 1980s, I was very familiar with the dual vocational training in Germany.
The Swiss model of dual vocational training is very similar to that of other European countries such as Germany, Austria, Holland or France. The advantage in Switzerland however is that initial and further training for the bakery, pastry and / or chocolate sector is managed centrally. Similar institutions still exist in Weinheim (DE) and Rouan (FR), but neither of them offers such a comprehensive range of services as Richemont in Switzerland.
3. Recently there has been much talk about intolerances and their connection with gluten. However, you stand up for healthy bread and give lectures on the subject at various events such as Madrid Fusión, where you talk about healthy bread. When did bread stop being a healthy food?
In our country, bread remains a questionable food as its production usually takes place in a record time of just two hours. On the contrary, healthy bread, which I call slow bread, is the millenary bread, i.e. traditional bread made with very slow processes, and with sourdough. The end of this type of bread began in the mid-late nineteenth century and throughout the twentieth century due to the concentration of the population in large cities with a growing number of workers who demanded cheap breads that were made quickly in large factories (bakeries). Quick bread contains no sourdough - that is, it does not contain lactic acid bacteria, and contains additives that make it difficult to digest. When I talk about healthy bread, I mean bread that can be easily digested with a low glycaemic index and good bioavailability.
4. Suppose I have to convince a five-year-old child that it is better to eat a piece of bread than a cupcake or croissant. How do I explain what healthy bread is?
I would explain it in a very simple way and offer the child a piece of healthy bread to taste while pointing out the advantages over industrial bread. I would further say that healthy bread is juicy, has a caramelized crust, that it gives off an aroma and has a characteristic taste. To then emphasize the difference, I would show that a "soft white piece of bread" tastes of nothing. I would tell the child about the importance of using nearby cereals, from local village fields. There are many arguments to defend the consumption of healthy bread.
It is important that children understand that bread made with sourdough is a food that will help them have a longer feeling of fullness, while pastry products that contain a lot of sugar will give them energy for a short period only. In addition, it is important for children to understand that bread is not fattening and can be perfectly combined with a lot of rich foods, such as chocolate.
5. You just said that soft white bread doesn't taste like anything. How is it that bread should now taste slightly sour? White bread has always had a rather sweet taste, why?
It is not a question of whether bread must have a slightly sour taste or not. The problem is that industrial white bread, as it has been produced in the last 50-60 years, tastes of nothing. If you close your eyes and bring your nose close to the bread, you will hardly smell any flavours - perhaps a slight aroma of pressed yeast - but nothing else. Such bread only tastes good when fat and sugar are added.
The slightly sour taste is the epitome of healthy bread and this should not be a problem, just as the light acidity of a tangerine or an apple is not a problem, i.e. fruits that we enjoy and eat daily. If the acidity is too high, as with acetic acid, for example, we would be talking about poorly made bread. Therefore it is important to understand that we are talking about a mild lactic acidity like that of yogurt.
Fermented foods contain a natural acid which is produced by the cultivated sourdough in the acidification process. This guarantees healthy and correct bacterial activity setting in motion several mechanisms. These mechanisms allow food to be more easily digestible, to have a lower sugar content and better bioavailability which means that minerals, vitamins and other nutrients can be better absorbed by the human body.
6. What does a low glycaemic index mean for bread and why is it good?
All foods have a certain sugar content. It is interesting to note the speed with which sugar is absorbed by the human body and enters the bloodstream. If the glycaemic index is high, i.e. over 70 - then the breakdown of sugar is very rapid. If the body absorbs the sugar slowly, it does not need food as quickly. Appetite and hunger are therefore delayed when the glycolic index in food is lower.
We are interested in the sugars being absorbed by the human body in a much slower way because the body will take longer to ask for new food. Appetite, hunger, food anxiety, is delayed when the glycaemic index in food is lower. When we have a peak due to an intake of food high in sugar, it drops again, causing the human body to generate anxiety and demand to eat again. This is the problem; a high glycaemic index generates the need to eat sugary foods more frequently. And this is one of the paths to obesity and with obesity we enter the development of other diseases such as diabetes, coronary heart disease, and even cancer. Therefore, the low glycaemic bread that we produce with the elaboration of a sourdough with long fermentation times is excellent. Sourdough reduces the glycaemic index for two reasons: 1- sugar is broken down 2- starch becomes more resistant and takes longer to be absorbed by the human body. These two reasons show why sourdough breads with a pH below 4.8 have a lower glycaemic index than quick bread.
7. Does this mean that there is a link between the ingredients from which bread is made and intolerances?
The links between the ingredients and intolerances are obvious. Bread ingredients consist of different compounds (proteins, sugars, fats), some of which are difficult to digest and cause food intolerances. For example endogenous histamin disease, non-celiac gluten sensitivity or irritable bowel syndrome.
A large proportion of cereals contain gluten, sometimes in such high concentrations that it poses a difficult digestibility protein complex for many consumers. In addition, there are various types of sugar (fructose, lactose, galactose, maltose) which also occur in cereals and ferment in the large intestine and / or have a of high glycaemic index.
The ingredients used in breadmaking therefore play an important role, since a correct selection reduces the development of possible intolerances, facilitates the digestibility of bread, reduces the glycaemic index and improves the bioavailability of its nutrients.
8. What are gliadins and why do we talk about toxicity?
Gliadins are proteins that are integrated in gluten. Normally when we talk about gluten, almost everyone thinks that gluten is somewhat homogeneous, but gluten is a mixture of two types of proteins that are totally and clearly different: one is glutenins and the others are gliadins. In the gliadins, which in turn can be divided into types, there are some that are indigestible Some of them are so difficult to digest that they are called toxic (33MER). Undigested gliadins have the ability to pass through the intestinal mucosa unhindered and enter the bloodstream, which in certain cases can cause an immunological reaction, such as celiac disease.
There are ingredients in which these toxic gliadins are missing, such as spelt, durum wheat or kamut. Similarly, slow processing processes and the addition of sourdough can destroy and reduce the gluten and gliadin content in bread. Not only the choice of ingredients is important, but also the bread-making process. Very long processes of 24 to 48 hours with a high proportion of sourdough culture make it possible to reduce the gliadin content, indigestible proteins, fermentable sugars and anti-nutrients. In this way we can enjoy tasty, nutritious and healthy bread again.
Mr. Jorge Pastor, thank you very much for this interesting conversation. After these remarks, the sentence "we are what we eat" makes perfect sense. And you have made an important contribution to the information on how food and nutrition affect health.
Through this blog we would like to provide special information not only to professionals in the world of bread, cooking and to professionals in the world of health, but also to consumers.
Thank you very much for your interest in reading our blog!