Dr. Mommy Dentist

Monday, February 05, 2007

let there be bread!

yesterday it was just way too effin' cold to do anything (i even turned down an opportunity for furniture shopping so it must be bad). canuck and i had no big plans for the superbowl and the rest of the house was freezing so i holed myself up in the kitchen and baked away. i was nice and toasty, since there was about a 20 degree difference between the kitchen and the rest of the house.

now, i love to bake and and i have about eight different books with various recipes, some just dedicated to baking and some that have a smattering of pastry, cake and pie recipies thrown in with suppers, main courses, and appetizers. i use them pretty religiously and i've gotten my pie crusts, cakes, and doughnuts down t0 a science, but it seemed like my breads where always on the dense side, kinda heavy but definitely still edible and pretty tasty. i always tried to get that store-bought softness and springiness rather unsuccessfully and i always wrote it off as, "oh, it's the preservatives that make it that way, mine is the REAL DEAL." so a few days ago, my office manager and i were talking and i found out that she also makes her own bread, with a bread machine. that's cool, i said, while simultaneously turning up my nose at the idea of a "bread machine". hah! i scoffed. i knead it all by hand, all by myself (man, i'm such a brat). and she laughed at me and directed me to the feischman's website. i'm a regular user of fleischman's yeast, i haven't yet tried the compressed cake yeast that my bread book calls for because i can't find it anywhere and i'm just too lazy to look. anyways, i saw some great recipes for NON-MACHINE, die hard, old-school-that's-what-i'm-talkin'-about users like myself and i came across this recipe for soft pretzels. mmmmm, that looks yummy. then i came along another recipe for mulitgrain bread, mmmm, i could definitely do that! but when i scrolled down the list of ingredients i was like, NO! quick rise yeast???? that's the anti-christ of bread makers like myself! yeast is yeast, how the hell can you get it to make it rise quickly without altering the composition some way, shape, or form? why does everything have to be "quick"??? is NOTHING sacred anymore??? okay, i quickly got over that and thought, what the hell, i'll give it a whirl. and canuck was just so excited about the prospect of fresh pretzels that his eyes just glazed over when i told him about my reservations with the yeast. in his eyes, the ways justifies the means, it's fresh pretzels for crying out loud who cares! i will never expect him to understand.

so off i went, and i even did something else different for me this time - i specifically used a flour that was labeled "best for bread" as it claims to have a higher protein content and yields a more elastic dough than all-purpose flour. man, what a difference! my dough was soft, pliable, very easy to work with and quickly became super elastic. and that quick-rise yeast - wow, that stuff flew! the pretzels were PERFECT, golden brown on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside. my multigrain loaf made me want to cry. not only was it perfectly shaped and sized (i yielded 2 loaves) it was spongy and light and tasted absolutely wonderful. i made canuck his lunch for work and he said the sandwiches brought meaning to his life (his exact words). everything tastes great on that bread, i have to stop myself from snacking on it! moral of the story - never be a food snob, you may just miss out on something spectacular! my next project is going to be lahmacun, turkish flatbread wraps that are seasoned with ground beef, onion, peppers, and cilantro. i'm going to stick with the traditional yeast for that one, but if it turns out like crappola i will always have my beloved pretzels to fall back on.

man, i am just soooooo proud of my creations!


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