Thursday, 22 March 2018

In Praise of Bread (Part Two)

Sarah, who just happens to be, probably, the nicest person in the world, also happens to be a good friend of mine.  This is Sarah:

As you can see, Sarah is highly intelligent and imbued with many useful skills, one of which is  knowing exactly how to bake bread.  It's particularly impressive because she knows actual recipes, and why they work, as opposed to simply assuming that if I followed my intuition, everything would be fine, which is what I did (as documented in Part One).  After hearing of my failures Sarah took some time out of her busy day to visit me and share her wisdom.  A most satisfactory experience.  She didn't take her coat of while she was here because she said my flat was cold, not because I put her immediately and inhospitably to work, just for the record

Here are some things I learned:

1.  If I wanted low effort bread, I should have bought "active yeast" instead of "easy bake" yeast.  These two things aren't quite the same.  In fact, "easy" is misleading here.  Unless your yeast is active, you're going to have to knead your dough, twice, if you want your bread to rise.

2.  Use room temperature/luke warm water when mixing your dough.

3.  Kneading is repetitive, and that repetition is important.  Fold, twist, and fold again.  Like this:  

4.  When you've done kneading, you have to leave your dough to rise, somewhere warm, for about an hour.  When you've done that, you have to knead it a little bit more, and then leave it again.  Patience is essential.  Wait for your dough to go from looking like this:

to looking more like this:

A lot of recipes suggest you need to wait for it to double in size, and then again after the second kneading, but this was never going to happen for this particular batch of dough.  That was obvious.  Nevertheless, when it was all baked off, this was the result:

I hope you're happy.  I am.  Thanks, Sarah.  The sound on the video I made of you explaining all this didn't come out so well, so I reversed it and made it into a piece of art.  Didn't think you'd mind.  I now have 12 YouTube subscribers.  That calls for a celebration.  Perhaps I'll make more bread.

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Related posts

In Praise of Bread (Part One)
Resurrecting Basil
Zero Waste Eating is Good For You
Another Soup Made of Scraps

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