How to bake away the pain of being a bad person: Bread
When carbs are cheaper than therapy
I stand before you Brothers and Sisters, a bloated, Gluten enthusiast. Here to preach the good word of bread. I know it gets a bad rap, being blamed for our weight gain when it is in fact, our [read: my] self-control and not the loaves that stop us from being thin. In this day and age, it gets treated like a wheaten representation of the devil himself, being spat on by those with both faux and real gluten intolerances. Gross, thin, healthy-looking people make bread alternatives under the guise of “health” but really when I look at these Frankensteins monsters made of nuts and seeds I see it's true intention: HORRENDOUS TORTURE.
Before we delve any further into this topic and how to improve your own efforts in making it. I'm not talking about just any kind of bread. I definitely ain't referring to your bagged loaf of 99 cent white mattress stuffing. That white clump they sell were sustenance and flavour go hand in hand to die, No! I'm talking about real Bread!
The Peter Reinhart tier cobb loaves. The kind of bread Nancy Silverton would bake and use to murder her ex-husband. A loaf Paul Hollywood would want to make love to. Something worth celebrating. An experience with that nostalgic fresh bread smell and the ability to elevate a bowl of soup. A loaf where some actual love and skill went into the making of.
1 - Follow your recipe
I was raised by a mystical woman who had her bread recipe memorised, she made it all look so, shockingly easy. Good bread should be simple, especially when you are starting out but learn from my mistake! Don't start throwing things about and magically expect bread. Much like my first marriage, it will be an incredible disappointment and not nearly as financially beneficial as my first divorce. Find a good simple recipe, something that has been reviewed positively by people who don't sound too annoying and really follow it. Follow it to the letter and then if something goes wrong you have something to blame other than yourself. I have included a good starting recipe [ here ]
2 - Get Greasy
Just like my least favourite cousin [ you know who you are ]. Your hands need to be suspiciously lubricated so that the dough won't stick during the initial kneading process. People like to flour up but I prefer not to add more flour to my dough unnecessarily, it can dry it out especially if you're also flouring benchtops and tins. I opt for a good grapeseed or olive oil. Unlike my cousin whose disturbing greasiness is, I fear, the result of being a massive dork.
3 - Under-kneaded dough is Shabby, it breaks easily and is floppy and loose. Much like the accounts team when there's an open tab on the bar at the office Christmas party. Proper kneading gets it to that beautiful stretchy and elastic stage. It should be able to stretch about 20 cms. Look for a result that is springy to the touch. It takes a bit of time when kneading by hand but you are able to feel that transformation in the dough when doing so.
4 - Proof that Yeastie Boy
Be kind to your yeast, treat it better than you would your own children. Make sure the water and sugar/honey mix isn't too hot, keep it at what we delightfully call blood temperature. There are two different kinds of yeast, Dry and Live [ wet ] yeast. Both are entirely acceptable but live yeast is rumoured to somehow yield a better result, kind of like me when I'm wet.
5 - Show some patience for once.
The rising process is one of the most important steps, next to proofing your yeast, this is part of the process that gives you a better end result. This can take anywhere from forty minutes to just over an hour. Make sure it's in a warm draft-free place. house it in a covered bowl and let it rest. Retreat into a period I like to call "Mamas therapeutic hour" but try not to take valium during this time as there will be an oven on and coming up to temperature during this time. I don't know about you but I cannot afford to lose another townhouse won in a divorce to a valium related oven fire. Not again, you hear me!?
At the end of the day it is just bread and it's meant to be something fun to make. A somewhat therapeutic experience. Don't take it too seriously. Not everybody gets it right first try. Hell, some of us don't even get it right by the ninth or tenth time. Just enjoy it. Deity and Queen of daytime TV: Oprah, has some of the best quotes in regards to bread, she yells "I LOVE BREAD' and " I EAT BREAD EVERYDAY"
I mean, if Oprah likes it then there's no way it can be bad. Right?