04 October 2008

Lamb Leftovers; BREAD!

That Lamb Pasanda turned out to be a good investment, since it fed me again for both lunch and dinner today. The problem with most Indian food is its heaviness. The first few bites are delicious, but at the end of the meal, I feel like I have eaten a brick. As a result however, and because of the spiciness, I end up eating a lot less of it and feeling full faster.

Anyway. It has not just been weekend-of-Pasanda... it was the weekend where I finally attempted to make something, and not just from an instant packet, well, I guess yeast comes in a packet...

This summer I befriended a Parisian tourist on the beach at English Bay. Vincent told me about his daily bread-baking ritual. He described the simple process and it sounded so easy, I was moved to purchase a packet of yeast the next time I was in a grocery store. Which then sat in my cupboard for several months. While going through my kitchen recently I came across it, and asked Vincent in an email to send me his recipe. Here are his directions (Merci, Wine Blood!):

Bread by Vincent

For make bread:

1) Take a bowl and put 3 glasses of flour and 1 little spoon of salt. Mix a little.

2) In the middle of the bowl, pay the yeast (don't mix), and put 1 glass of water (little warm water).

3) Now you can begin to mix with a big spoon, and when the texture is like a blob, put some flour in a table, and put on your dough, you can mix it with your hand during 4 minutes.

4) After that, let the dough alone during 1h30 under a cover in a warm room (25-30 °C). Before put on oven: make cut with knife under the bread. And oven at 200°C

5) After that you can put it in the oven during 30 - 45 minutes.


PS: The first time you make bread is difficult, don't abandons! If the bread don't grow up, use 2 packets of yeast.

I love the smell of yeast. When I learned as a kid watching my mom bake that it was a living microorganism, I always felt a little mournful each time we drowned those little critters in warm water, their last breaths emerging as air bubbles in the goo...

Pictured above is the risen dough. For flour I used what I had on hand -- good old-fashioned Robin Hood All Purpose Flour. Since I let the bread rise in the baking dish, I skipped the part about cutting underneath with a knife before placing it in the oven. I also went to a dentist appointment while it was rising, so it was left to sit for 3 hours instead of 1 1/2.

The resulting bread is not much to look at. It looks naked and white and disturbingly exactly like the photo taken prior to baking. I was sure I had screwed it up. I didn't read about kneading prior to my attempt, I didn't grease the pan... but none of this matters. The flavour is all that you could ask for from such a simple recipe. It is fresh and yeasty and simply delicious. I can't believe how easy this was. It's a whole new world...

Problems sometimes occur taking food photos with a curious cat in the vicinity.

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