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Local, fresh ingredients


hosinmigs
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This is going to be an unfocused question, but....

I'm reading On Food and Cooking and it has just been fascinating. And it got me thinking about how far one can actually go to get local, fresh ingredients, especially given government regulations.

For example, if I was so inclined, could I open a bakery and use raw milk, eggs from my chickens, butter from my cows, and maybe even my own cheese? It seems like maybe that's not even possible. Furthermore, is it even a good business model? Do consumers really care that the basic ingredients came from land within 100 miles from that bakery? I assume in places like maybe Vermont and N. CA, it might be possible. But I imagine no one really cares in Missouri, etc...

What does everyone think? What's worth it and what's not? Is taste from local fresh ingredients even the biggest issue?

“There is no sincerer love than the love of food.”

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I doubt very much you could, as a commercial venture, use raw (i.e. unpasteurized) materials in baked goods. I can't see how that would be different than importing cheeses made similarly and our government protects us from those (:wacko:).

I've spent a lot of time thinking about the other part of your question. Freshness certainly enhances taste - if you took seeds from the same 'parent' and grew plants as nearly the same as possible, reaped the fruit and ate one immediately but put the other on a truck for a week I'm fairly confident it would bear this out. More importantly, though, you're rarely getting the same fruit from long distance - since the varieties are developed/selected for their uniformity, ability to withstand machine harvesting and long distances rather than flavor - there is really more lost as a rule than just freshness.

Then there is the less-tangible 'feel good' factor that comes from purchasing more directly from local producers: saving fossil fuels, decongesting OTR truck traffic, keep $ in the local economy, having a face to associate with the food.

The funny thing is that we're having to consciously debate this. For milennia it's just the way it was - you walked down the street to the bakery, bought eggs from the neighbor. In a relatively short period of time, things have gotten really convoluted. I think it's called progress. :wink:

Judy Jones aka "moosnsqrl"

Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly.

M.F.K. Fisher

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I was just thinking about this because we had dinner at Blue Hill at Stone Barns. They have a charcuterie platter made from pork raised just outside, and bees to pollenate the vegetables and herbs they grow and cook. But they don't bake their bread in house. I got to wondering about whether for some people it is just not worth the trouble, or if they have a beneficial arrangement with a local baker to barter... by local baker it could be someone artisanal such as Dan Leader with his wood ovens, or just a bakery in town.

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I doubt very much you could, as a commercial venture, use raw (i.e. unpasteurized) materials in baked goods.

You mean, you have to cook your eggs before using them as an ingredient in baked goods? :raz:

Federal law bans the interstate sale of unpasteurized milk. Some states ban the intrastate sale of unpasteurized milk, and some don't. However, if you are using milk as an ingredient in baked good, the ingredient is no longer sold "raw." In most cases I imagine the baked goods will achieve temperatures during baking that pasteurize the milk. So I wonder if the federal and state laws apply to use of raw milk as an ingredient in baked goods, or just to the sale of raw milk itself.

"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced" - Vincent Van Gogh
 

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You mean, you have to cook your eggs before using them as an ingredient in baked goods?  :raz:

Maybe that explains why I've been having so much trouble incorporating them into my batters and doughs? :unsure:

Touche' - poorly worded but dammit, I knew what I meant!

Judy Jones aka "moosnsqrl"

Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly.

M.F.K. Fisher

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I doubt very much you could, as a commercial venture, use raw (i.e. unpasteurized) materials in baked goods.

You mean, you have to cook your eggs before using them as an ingredient in baked goods? :raz:

Federal law bans the interstate sale of unpasteurized milk. Some states ban the intrastate sale of unpasteurized milk, and some don't. However, if you are using milk as an ingredient in baked good, the ingredient is no longer sold "raw." In most cases I imagine the baked goods will achieve temperatures during baking that pasteurize the milk. So I wonder if the federal and state laws apply to use of raw milk as an ingredient in baked goods, or just to the sale of raw milk itself.

I thought about that. Since you're essentially pasteurizing the milk and eggs during cooking, what risk is there? But, also, what reward? Since you're cooking or baking with it, how much difference would it make in the end product? Of course, there are numerous other environmental benefits, but how much would taste be affected?

“There is no sincerer love than the love of food.”

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I doubt very much you could, as a commercial venture, use raw (i.e. unpasteurized) materials in baked goods.

You mean, you have to cook your eggs before using them as an ingredient in baked goods? :raz:

Federal law bans the interstate sale of unpasteurized milk. Some states ban the intrastate sale of unpasteurized milk, and some don't. However, if you are using milk as an ingredient in baked good, the ingredient is no longer sold "raw." In most cases I imagine the baked goods will achieve temperatures during baking that pasteurize the milk. So I wonder if the federal and state laws apply to use of raw milk as an ingredient in baked goods, or just to the sale of raw milk itself.

I thought about that. Since you're essentially pasteurizing the milk and eggs during cooking, what risk is there?

Essentially none, so far as I can tell.

But, also, what reward? Since you're cooking or baking with it, how much difference would it make in the end product?

You'd have to direct that question to the raw milk advocates, since I am also unclear what the benefits would be.

Of course, there are numerous other environmental benefits, but how much would taste be affected?

Well, I'm not sure what the environmental benefits of using raw milk would be, except perhaps that you are skipping one pasteurization, which would save energy. As to how taste would be affected, that's another question for raw milk advocates.

"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced" - Vincent Van Gogh
 

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