Friday, August 22, 2008
Thoughts on Bread
I love bread. On the trip to San Francisco, we went to Boudin Bakery on Fisherman's Warf. The fact that it was a tourist trap and packed with people was all made null and void because it was positively packed with golden brown goodness in the form of bread. People from all over the world, with lots of beautifully mingling accents, all tried to communicate their need of bread. Any time a war starts, I always wonder if they could at least agree on the goodness of a good loaf of bread. Unless they are some of those anti-carb heathens, in which case, pass the T-Bone and celery?
Each native land has their own way of doing bread. Manna, sourdough, whatever. My people, Southerners, have an affinity for corn bread and the biscuit or roll found on almost every dinner table. Last week, I decided I HAD to have my all time favorite biscuit recipe before I went back to school.
First, we were out of buttermilk. A quick google search, I learned that lemon juice + milk will substitue. Maybe? The reciepe called for 90 degrees F water for the yeast. I could not find a thermometer that read under 110 degrees F. I ended up using a digital meat probe.
One of things I like about baking bread is its touchy feely-ness; the next step was heating until lukewarm. Now, I know what it meant, but that is one of the vaguest temperatures ever. I ended up poking my finger in it ever couple of seconds.
I rolled out this beautiful dough and reached towards Nirvana cutting out the neat little circles of beautiful light wheat floured goodness. Ah.
I was cleaning up and noticed that the yeast packaged had already expired- a year ago. It was too late to do anything, they were already in the oven, but I panicked. If it was just substituting for buttermilk or just the possibility of bad yeast, I think I would have just shrugged it off. But two boo-boos? How could this divine gift direct from God be acceptable with two major mistakes?
They turned out perfectly. I learned that bread is indeed the most magical of foods, forgiving and beautiful in its many forms. Its comforting and peaceful and its a food that everyone, no matter the culture, can find something to love. Of course, I also learned to always check the expiration dates.