Back in the day my Mum made her own bread, and a nose memory that lingers to this day is the kitchen and corridor filling with the smell of fresh loaves, wafting through the family home.
Bread making is someat that we have lost in that fight for time, & money. Losing what is a foundation of family, & the basics of our cultural heritage.
There is an urge in me to go back to many lost skills I once had, or rekindle dearly held memories.
It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but for me bread making brings joy, relaxation, & breaks many myths I have held about this art form.
- Bread making is a science of measures & patience.
The latter is true in my limited experience; never rush a bread. But I do not keep to recipes, or to the ounces/ grams of ingredients. It is more about the texture, the feel of the mixture, the dough, the time you take to kneed, & the willingness to change the heat in the oven.
But being experimental goes back to my mentor. As a Padawin I learned how to cook at the wheels of an amazing man who was paralysed & not happy with his care givers. As he loved his food, & they in his eyes failed in cooking , feeding him & therefore giving him a simple pleasure. So he made a deal with an American, & a French colleague of mine & me. Stay two hours longer than your shift ( we were his assistants come carers), & he would teach us to cook. From that day to now I have learned how to have the feel for the food, how to take a risk with the taste.
I have mixed yoghurt in with bread when I have not had honey or some other ingredient. I have replaced the basics of Focaccia; rosemary & sea salt for garlic, leaving the basil and the toms. At the mo I am learning the nutmeg, ginger & cloves you have in flat breads of Afghanistan, India, & Turkey adds something with a nice twist.
- Keep to your ingredients & the tradition.
For an old Ma & Pa recipe this could be true. But I as of yet I do not have one in my repertoire. My Mum gave up bread making in my early youth. And I have not so far had the guts to pry the trade secrets out of the lightly floured hands of those peeps I know make good bread. My learning has come from the many, only until recently, mainly unused cookbooks collecting dust & crumbs in our kitchen.
But also one new thing I have learned in this last few months is to really have a feel for the texture of doughs or any other mixes. I think this could come from my tactile nature as a lapsed sculptor & oil painter. Even adding how to turn that planned bread dough into a dessert or an English style flapjack. Switching around flour, oats, oat bran a& flax. More of that in a later blog.
I think this desire has been hidden in me for too long. This could come from changing my diet from cereals to the typical Brötchen of Germany. And also a luv for the way a Georgian friend of mine spoke about her bread making. She also happened to be one of my first guest bloggers here.
Mainly as I have done quick/ flat breads, except Gypsy Bread (with cranberries and dried plums) with a Nutella topping, this apron wearer’s Meisterstucke are only a fresh behind the ears clone.
As a tactile person, the kneading is very enjoyable, but one thing I am so surprised at is how bread making is a great work out, & mood changer.
Try it out, & let me know if it breaks the loaf of your Warbutons & Wendel traditions.