Since letting myself embrace my love for bread, I’ve been shamelessly strolling into bakeries, ogling the merchandise, adding bread blogs to my reading, and even watching youtube videos. Holy crap, I am scaring myself with this. Now I got my mom to actually show me how to bake some.
Did you know people made bread? No seriously, think about it. This miraculous, growing thing that can be savory or sweet, crumbly or soft, long or round or made to look like a crescent moon. People make it everyday, in this place called a kitchen many of us have.
And to think the same is true about skyscrapers, Facebook, and babies.
My mom is one heck of a baker, but she isn’t much of a teacher, so she walked me through a basic bread recipe that you could then manipulate to make different kinds of bread. (In this case, croissants and rolls.) She did most of the work, but I put in a few good kneads and twisted a few of the croissants myself. *proud*
We started by activating the yeast, which always sort of scared me. I mean, they’re real bacteria you’re cultivating. Good bacteria, yes, but still, little living micro-organisms that look creepy when you look at them through the microscope. I keep thinking if you spilled some, it’d melt your hand. And you invite these things to bake bread with you.
It’s simple enough though. And not the least bit creepy. Mix a bit of yeast powder, water, warmth, maybe some sugar or honey to feed the yeast. Wait a little and the brown stuff in the cup doubles in size, seemingly like magic.
Actually, a lot of the recipe involves waiting for the yeast to do its work. I was serious about baking bread with these little critters.
Add some other ingredients to the yeast and mix it until you get a nice lump of dough. Punch it up a little, then let the yeast do its work.
Slice up the dough, shape it however you like, add fillings (like cream cheese, raisins, etc.) if that’s how you feel. Then let the yeast do its work.
At some point it goes into the oven for some time and comes out as bread. I may have been distracted at this point, trying to buy plane tickets.
So this is totally doable by humans like me. A little time intensive, but making ciabatta bread! Pita bread! Who knows what else. In my own kitchen! Once I have one in DC.