Friday, January 26, 2007

Tools of the trade/Bread

If you watch Grey's Anatomy, you know that Izzie is a baker. When she feels badly, she bakes. If someone is in need, she bakes. In a Thanksgiving show, when she is left to do the whole meal, she says something about being a baker, not a cook. I've thought about that statement a lot. I do make meals, I do cook, but in my heart, I'm a baker. I love to bake cookies, and muffins, and cakes, and most especially, bread. My mother baked our bread, which is probably why I began baking in my twenties, as soon as I had my own place. Fresh bread is like air to me. I can't really live without it. It is probably the most magical thing I do. There is no explaining why sometimes it rises well and other times it doesn't. Sometimes it is soft and fluffy, other times hard. I usually can tell as soon as the rising is done if it will be good or not. I've learned to just throw it away then rather than bother putting it in the oven. Bread making can be influenced by mood. If I'm just going through the motions, it is never very good. If I'm tired and try baking at night, it doesn't come out well. I want to encourage those who are thinking of trying, like Les, over at Lesley's Book Nook. Even those of us who bake all the time, don't always have success. Sometimes, I'll have three or four bakings in a row not be very good, and then the fifth is perfect, though I've done everything the exact same way. You'll see the finished product doesn't look like usual loaves. Again, my mother always made it with four rounds instead of two. I've found it rises better without a droop in the middle.






7 comments:

  1. What do you mean by "without a droop in the middle" ask she who hopes to try her hand a baking a loaf this Sunday. I have to admit, I'm not sure I like the idea of baking bread being such an tempermental endeavor.

    BTW, I love the color of your mixer. Mine is plain old ugly beige. But as you know, I've had it for almost 26 years!

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  2. Well, sometimes in a regular loaf, I've found it sags in the middle during baking. I guess my attempt at encouragement failed. :<( So many people feel like if it doesn't work the first time, it never will, and I was trying to let you know that the success or failure doesn't always depend on anything tangible. It doesn't take that much time or effort with a KA. I mix everything in it (saving those 300 stirrings I used to do with a spoon), let it rise in that bowl, and then knead it into loaves. The biggest time thing is just being home for that period of time.

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  3. Well I have the exact same food mixer and an Aga so there's really no excuse for me!

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  4. I am sure that bread baked in an Aga would be especially delicious! :<)

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  5. I want your mixer so badly! It has been on my wish list for quite sometime now but I just can't decide on which color to get - blue, green, red or cranberry! I have been baking a lot lately. Now that we have this cold weather it is so nice to have something freshly baked to nibble on.

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  6. Lovely looking bread!! I wish I had a mixer like that. My regular one is on the blink and I'm using a little hand mixer from Value Village.

    I've always done bread by hand. It's good exercise!

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  7. Island Sparrow, the mixer has made a huge difference in my baking life, bread and other foods. Actually, I have a yellow one now. I had the 'good exercise' for years and years, and it is a treat to let the KitchenAid do it for me. :<)

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