Who was the first person to come up with bread? Was it an accident? Was it experimentation? Was it born of necessity or excess? One can guess that perhaps bread, much like cured meat, lasted longer than its fresh and raw grain form, thus providing food in the winter. Bread has been a staple food dating as far back as ancient Egypt, showing up in heiroglyphics, even having preserved loaves show up in tombs. In the old testament they talk about the making of the bread, when a substance called ‘barm’ was added to make the dough rise, now we use yeast. Apparently the Romans even made a specific class for the Bakers, being all free men, which were not allowed to go to shows or gladitorial events so they weren’t tainted and thus wouldn’t taint the bread. Interesting stuff huh? Apparently yeast was originally made by the fermented hops of beer (ooooh), but our contemporary pre-packaged yeast comes from a whiskey distiller. Yeast itself is its own plant. In any case, it makes the bread rise, and oh how we love it.
Crunchy/chewy crust, moist, warm, fluffy center, what smells, tastes, looks better than fresh bread? I, personally love it. So over the weekend when visiting my boyfriend’s parents, the lovely Cath and Dave, I asked Dave to teach me how to make bread. He showed me, I paid attention, Cath had my arms filled to the brim with yummy cookies, and a bread maker. I came back to my dormitory flat kitchen, after a long day of looking at the Norwich Cathedral, and I decided to make bread. I remembered most of what Dave had shown me, but I was unsure of myself. I put the oven to 50ºc for swift and strong rising, as he had shown me. Here are the ingredients:
2 cups strong flour
1.5 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
2 tbsp butter
1 packet yeast
3/4 cup water
and now for the secret ingredient… which I have never even heard of before…
UNFLAVOURED CRUSHED VITAMIN C TABLET
Crazy huh? but trust me, it works.
Mix dry ingredients (including the vitamin C) together with the butter. Add water little by little until dough forms into a sticky yet cohesive ball. cover said ball and bowl in a light towel or plastic wrap. Place in 50° c oven, leave door slightly ajar. Let rise for 45 minutes, or until dough is roughly double its original size.
Then proceed to knead the dough until the dough goes from tough to soft, knead it into a loaf shape, bringing the edges of the former ball onto one side (seam). Grease a pan or cookie sheet with oil. Place loaf on cookie sheet, seam side down. Cover and allow to rise for fifteen minutes. It should have risen to roughly a little less than double its size. Gently, and not deeply, cut small lines into the top of your loaf, this will make it easier to cut when its done baking. Set your oven on 220°c, put loaf back in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes. Allow your loaf to cool for 3-5 minutes.
How to tell when your loaf is done: Use your knuckles to gently knock on the bottom side (pan side) of your loaf. If you hear a firm sound on the middle and sides then your loaf is done, if it isn’t done just put it back in the oven for five minutes.
This is the first time I have ever made a loaf of bread on my own. Dave taught me well, because quite frankly it was delicious. And looked and smelled amazing.
Bake on Comrades!