Sunday, December 2, 2012

Bread Pause – Between Three and Four

Bread Pause – Jotting Down Observations Between Three and Four

Spent a good part of the weekend immersed in this new obsession, searching through bookstores for bread books. Even better was searching a used book store, exploring previous bread baking trends, finding something good. Love picking up a book that someone has already read, especially if the book has underlining and writing in the margins.

Observation #1
This niche of bread baking, in the larger baking literature, includes many books, which themselves contain about 50 percent of what are called “dessert breads,” though they are consumed, really, as cakes. This leads to the following observations. Not counting dessert breads in the 108.

Observation #2
There are too many websites with bread making information to possibly read in one lifetime, particularly if that lifetime includes any of the following: Children, work (including housework or volunteering), watching stupid television, reading, playing games, or hobbies.

Observation #3
The vast majority of “whole wheat” bread recipes are not 100 percent whole wheat. Many are two thirds whole grain, such as the Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day master recipe. Saw a recipe yesterday in what looked like a wonderful book on bread baking technique and properties of bread that was 25 percent whole wheat. At this point, it seems to me, one really is stretching when calling that loaf “whole wheat.”

Many recipes include a good deal of, or at least some, sugar, honey, molasses or other sweet ingredient. Do not rule this out. After all, my basic recipe for the bread machine contains one-quarter cup honey. With this 108 project, aiming for something authentic, which gets me to the next step in this journey. In addition to the plan to buy myself a bunch of bread baking books for the holidays, might search for book on history of bread making. When reaching back to my great and great-great grandmothers, what ingredients did they grow up with; did they use communal ovens and what is the history of those; how did humankind go from – oh, that’s a nice wheat stalk – to set the oven to 450 degrees for a little more than a half hour? Very curious.

 [London flags in a window just after the jubilee.]
Post Scripts
P.S. Between a work-at-home day and mail delivery of the King Arthur’s Flour Company catalog – or, as we call it, food porn – spent my lunchtime flipping through the pages and adding to my holiday wish list. Indeed, they sell a baking cloche (something I had not even heard of until the other day), giant spatula-like things for scraping dough, oven thermometers, digital scales, and large vacuum-packed packages of different kinds of yeast. Really have to think about whether to buy and where to store what could be an extra kitchen’s worth of baking paraphernalia.

P.P.S. Wish list of tools growing to include razor blades, not for shaving or killing, but for slicing into dough before baking. Serated bread knife not working well. Must find time to head over to Barnes & Noble to make my preliminary wish list of books.

Easier than you think to become addicted to youtube breadmaking videos. Many, many of the easy-ways-to-make-artisan-bread variety. An entire genre.

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