The musings of a (not-so) single chick in the city. (Don't think that the term chick is derogoratory. We refer to boys by a number of terms). The travails in the life of an ex-miss-goody-two-shoes, ex-journalist, ex-small time model, ex-television actress, of being female in Chennai/ Pune/Bangalore, of ideas old and ideas new....

Friday, September 26, 2008

Forget the bread

I finally made a perfect loaf of's a labour of love. Worked on and fermented for hours, just to yield one normal sized loaf. Baking a cake is 6th standard biology compared to bread making's understanding Grey's Anatomy. Cake batter is simple. You mix everything togther and bake it. Even if you did not do the sugar and butter creaming first, or added the eggs without separating the yellows and the whites, cake still tastes like cake.

Bread dough is so fickle.
The salt should not be directly added to the yeast+warm water mixture. the sugar should. too much flour, and your bread tastes like cardboards' cousin.
You have to knead and knead for ten solid minutes for proper gluten strands development.
Then it has to rise to double its size in the perfect temperature with good, living yeast of the exact right amount.
Then after the first time the dough rises,(it might not rise at all, if any one parameter is screwd up, old yeast, water not warm enough, water too hot that kills yeast,too much yeast it makes dough rise too fast and collapse, etc etc) you got to punch it down and shape it.
If you punch it down a little too much, your bread is flat and tastes a little of the alcohol that couldnt escape. If you dont punch enough, your dough will overrise and collapse.
After punching down and shaping it, it has to rise again.
Then you bake it in the oven at the exact right temparature, a small deviation could cause the crust to form too soon too thick that it cannot be broken through without a hammer.

So, after overcoming all the odds( many imperfect loafs later), yesterday I made the perfect loaf. Properly crusted outside, soft and spongy bread with good air-holes and slicing it was a peice of cake :)
Am thinking that now that I have troubleshooted and found out what I was doing wrong (it was the second rise, it just wouldnt rise, tuns out i was kneading again, when all i should have done was press the dough down softly a couple of times and carefully shaped it without pulling it too much) and perfected bread making, I should turn my attention to making croissants, which are much tougher, because of the many layers it has, that require folding and folding the dough over a rectangle of butter.

Did you know that money is called dough because of bread dough???? din't realise that before :) Too many conotations about bread being directly equalled to money in western idioms....bread and butter, which side bread is buttered on, put bread on the table bla bla....

To crossiants!!!!


ess said...

Tally ho!!!

Does that mean you aren't baking cakes anymore?

AV said...

Of course i will...occasionally...but its become boring compared to making bread :)