Let’s talk bread.
I can’t remember if I already posted this, but I finally bit the bullet and ordered my very own copy of Bread Illustrated by America’s Test Kitchen. I had an Amazon credit and I couldn’t think of a better way to spend it. I’m sure the Squamish Public Library will be happy to see its copy returned (I think I’ve had it for like, 8 weeks).
This week, I have two breads to discuss… and a third AWESOME bread, with its very own post, will follow soon.
Bread #1: Pita
Of all the breads I have made thus far, the most exciting has been the pita. It is a simple recipe (consisting only of bread flour, yeast, salt, water, olive oil, and a little sugar) and it doesn’t take much time to make (between 2 and 3 hours – which isn’t a lot compared to many of the other breads I’ve made). I guess pita just always seemed to me like something you have to buy, so making it felt really exciting. (I acknowledge that this may not be as exciting to other people as it is to me.)
I halved the recipe, which originally yielded 8 pitas. Two of my pitas came out PERFECTLY, while the other two were a little overdone. Here’s why: when it comes to actually baking the pita, the instructions are as follows: “… bake until single air pocket is just beginning to form, about 1 minute [then you flip them and bake the other side]”. When I baked my pitas, a few small air bubbles would form at various points. Eventually, they would puff up and creep forward until they joined, forming one large bubble. (Side note: this was SO COOL to watch). With two of the pitas, I flipped them around the 1 minute mark, where only small bubbles had formed. For the other two, I flipped them when the one large bubble had formed, which actually happened closer to the 2 minute mark. The confusion stemmed from the fact that the two cues – the 1 minute timing and the single large bubble – did not occur simultaneously. The two that turned out best were the ones I flipped at the 1 minute mark. Waiting until the large bubble formed resulted in overdone pitas.
I served our pitas with a Buddha bowl type of dinner. DELICIOUS.
Bread #2: Parmesan Breadsticks
Next bread: parmesan breadsticks. There was nothing wrong with these, but they weren’t quite as good as restaurant breadsticks. The recipe called for 1.5 cups of parmesan, which is plenty, but I still would have liked an even cheesier flavour.
They were DEFINITELY better than grocery store breadsticks, however. The grocery store ones taste like they were made with Kraft singles – yuck.
(the left photo is the before baking picture)
My fatal flaw with the breadsticks was that I tried to keep them warm until the rest of the dinner was ready, but I think they kept cooking a bit so they were ever so slightly dry. They were still delicious. I halved this recipe, too (which originally makes 18 breadsticks).
Now, the bread that has really taken centre stage in my bread making life is a certain bread that took THREE WEEKS to materialize. Stay tuned for a Very Special Post about my new pride and joy … SOURDOUGH BREAD!