- At The Moment of My Mind -

Taking leaps of faith only to fall in step with Him.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

There's a Calm Before a Storm

Last night I was chatting with someone whose opinion I respect. He has a blunt frankness about him which is refreshing, and it is thanks to his awakening insight that has made me come to realization with myself at some level.

I shall not divulge in specifics as it was at the time 2.30 in the morning and I must admit details are a little fuzzy right now. When I woke at the sound of rain beating against my roof and window, I find the interesting coincidence I am in as I’ve always been partial to rainy weather. Its like nature’s way to wash the grit and grime of yesterday. It possesses the astonishing ability to refresh the living. Introducing new sounds and smells around me. The chill, the coziness it brings, enhances the warmth and protection I feel within my home.

It was with such awareness that has taken root deep in my mind and began to grow, even though it is a barren wasteland, perhaps from years of neglect and abuse of my part. So many things I could enrich myself with and yet haven’t done so. I haven’t studied as I want to study. I mean to begin afresh. Like rain, my friend’s curt and perhaps bruising honesty washed the dust and watered the ground.

We have discussed at length the differences between belief and faith. What romanticisms we have in life, general or otherwise. Along those lines came the discussion of trust. A moral value I’ve long lost in the opposite sex. It is with my negativity and distrust that has caused me to lose something precious to me before. Although I hope it is not forever lost but I have monsters of my own to tame before I can re-establish anything.

First thing first is to have faith and belief in myself before anything else. More or not, I would like to have faith in myself again as belief can be fleeting whereas faith is lasting. Perhaps with belief and faith in myself again, I can come to love myself. For how can a person give love and deserve love in return if she doesn’t love herself in the first place?

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Bread - Its Sticks, Just Got Sticker - Part II

Okay, so I found another bread recipe online for dinner rolls. Who doesn’t love dinner rolls? You can have them with almost anything, right?

But wait… this dough called for 3.3/4 cups of all purpose flour.

Now we all know what all purpose flour is for. It’s for everything from baking cakes to making sauce, so how come it’s being used for bread rolls? All purpose flour has very little, if at all, protein and gluten formation possibilities. Every time the tiny bacteria eats the protein and churns out CO2, it ain’t gonna get trapped in the dough.

I don’t want that to happen, and yet this recipe states it so. Hmmm…so going with my gut instinct, I reduced 1.3/4 cup of the all purpose and added the same amount of bread flour into it.

And when to work beating the hell out of the dough.

This is really messy work so forgive me if I didn’t take an pics of the dough and all that. I really need a solid kitchen table to work the dough. The one I have in the kitchen is unacceptable work surface, with all the paint flaking and cracks, nuh uh. The counters which are solid however, are all occupied to the max with my mother’s collection of kitchen appliances and quaint ‘might needs’. Like the 3 blenders, or the 2 juicers, and for the love of Martha Stewart, throw that broken scale already. She has a new one from last Christmas and yet the old one is still there, occupying space.

I know, perhaps one day, God willing, I would own a place of my own and perhaps clutter my own kitchen the same way. By that time I will give permission to whoever resides with me to question and in certain extreme cases, take action when necessary (like calling my mother for instance).

*Ahem* But I digress, back to the dough.

To my pleasant surprise it raised rather nicely. Although a bit smaller than I liked. The loaf earlier on was only 1 cup of flour and yet rose twice the size this one is, but then size doesn’t matter, its how you handle it. It ended up even smaller once I punched it lightly for the 2nd rising.

After the 2nd rising, gently took it out, shaped it, cut it into small mounds and rolled it into a semblance of a ball and placed them in greased trays. I also painted some egg yolk over each just for the colour and shine.

Into the oven.

Okay, this recipe had butter and sugar, so it bakes rather fast…which I forgot when I went into my room for a break and was lost in the internet reading on more bread science.

By the time I remembered, the 1st batch’s bottom was burnt. Awww crap. In goes the 2nd and 3rd batch.

Now the 3rd batch, I ran out of baking trays (the 1st one still cooling) so I used a muffin tray and put in smaller balls of dough in there. The 2nd and 3rd batch came out rather well.

The rolls went kind of flat during the baking process and when I cracked one open, there’s no sense of gluten in it at all.

See when you break bread, you have the gluten stretching against the pull. You can feel it, especially when you bite into it and with all the pockets the gluten makes, the bread is soft and fluffy.

Mine was not.

Yet… it kinda was.

Kind of hard to describe, it had a strange consistency between a muffin and a dinner roll. This I blame on the all purpose flour. Think about it, the recipe that uses all purpose flour, butter, eggs and sugar, can be made into muffins, cakes or pancakes, but if you add yeast to it, it makes dinner rolls? Doesn’t add up.

So I learned my lesson to trust my gut instinct more and to use more bread flour the next round.

Glad to say though that this time, despite the confusing texture, the taste was good. The 3rd batch of the mini bread bits in shape of the muffin tray was gone by the time I remembered to take pictures.


This time, even mom liked the taste. Heh.

PS: I would've uploaded 2 more pics but for some reason I keep getting an error whenever I try. Could be my crappy connection. It's been acting up these past 3 days.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Bread - It Sticks (Part 1)

For the past two weeks I’ve been diligently applying myself in the study of the art of bread making. I mean, how hard can it be? Flour, yeast, salt and water, mix mix mix, leave it to ‘grow’ then bake. Right?

At least that’s what I thought before I found out I don’t even have the right type of flour in the house. Not to mention the yeast is at least 3 yrs old and probably all the little buggers have retired and died.

Never mind, just means a quick stop at supa save. Lets see, bread flour. I must get good bread flour high in protein so the little critters in the yeast would have plenty to eat and burp carbon dioxide to form the little pockets that makes the bread light, big and poofy. High protein also meant it’s easier for gluten to form during the kneading process.

I never kneaded anything in my life before. Can’t be all that bad.

Turns out there’s more to do before I can actually make the bread. See, there’s this stage where you make the ‘sponge’ or ‘spool’ or is it ‘spooge’? Whatever, it’s a pre mix of yeast, flour and water you mix, knead and let it rise in the fridge (yes fridge) over night. This helps make a better bread because the more you let a dough sit, the better the flavour. However can’t let the bread sit for too long or else it would have a beer like kind of taste. Therefore a ‘sponge’ is recommended.

Now for the actual bread making. Flour, water, yeast, salt, ‘spooge’ (or is it ‘sponge’?) = one yucky goopey mess. I don’t know what I did wrong but should it be that sticky and goop like? I thought I was making bread, not Slimer. Maybe the gluten hasn’t formed enough, I kept kneading but the dough refused to cooperate. 20 mins later my arms ached, my table was covered in flour and the dough which I have fondly named ‘damn blob’ sat there like a smug overstuffed fat kid on Halloween.

Flour, yes, perhaps it needs more flour. So I kept adding, until it started looking like a more manageable dough. Cut it into 3 parts, and put them into the pan for one final rise before popping into the oven.

One hour and a half later, the lovely smell of baked bread wafted through my mother’s kitchen. It had this wholesome bread smell, like toast, only better.

I took it out and poked it. Actually, poking is an understatement, the crust was so hard, when I wanted to let it cool on the side, it actually fell out of the pan and went ‘KLUNK!’ on the table.

The crust was [this-thick] and slicing it was like sawing a log. Inside was brown and spongy and a little undercooked. Well, so much for ‘mastering the art of baking’ and dreams of making little mouth watering buns.

The final blow was from my own mother. “Smells nice, doesn’t taste so great though. I make better bread than this.”

Okay, I admit, my first loaf of bread isn’t that impressive but still, ouch!

So I swore to keep on trying until my mother admits that I too can make good bread, or at least in par with hers.

- To be continued -