Starter

10 Jul

Call me a bread-head, but I’m on a personal quest to bake the perfect bread.

Yeah, I know. I’m devoting a blog to that predictable hunk of flour and water that occupies a 30×10 patch in your fridge, cupboard or parlour. That dehydrated, pre-sliced white pan that must, must be made of reconstituted plastic because it’s unchanged after several weeks.

But bread is amazing: it’s been a staple of our diets for millenia. I won’t go into the history, but it’s undoubtedly been a steadfast companion to the human race over the years. It’s also the friend of innumerable dishes – curries, boeuf bourgignon, koftas – and serves as the basis of others. Even the term bread covers all manner of different types: it’s incredible the diversity that can be achieved working from such a narrow base of ingredients.

Plus, it’s got to be the most moreish foodstuff I can think of. I hate myself for it (and my hips hate me more), but I turn into a complete pig when presented with a pre-dinner basket of bread. Forget dessert, primi, secondi, cheese and wine: bread is the star of my show.

Good bread, that is.

I’m pretty into my food in general, but The Sound of Music taught me at a fairly young age to start at the very beginning. And perfecting bread seems obvious as the first port of call. I mean, it’s got to be incredibly simple, right?

Wrong, wrong, wrong. There are an overwhelming number of variables – if you want to learn about them in depth, I suggest you take a peak at The Fresh Loaf – not to mention a certain skill involved.

Nevertheless, my current inability to defeat Waitrose’s finest rather warms my cheeks. Right now, I aim to conquer our familiar, Western  loaf or baton. So, what do I seek? An open and moist crumb; a caramelised, crunchy crust; a nutty, full-bodied flavour; a firm shape.

Easier said than done. But when did that stop anybody?

 

 

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4 Responses to “Starter”

  1. When Harry Met Celery July 10, 2012 at 7:14 pm #

    I love that phrase bread-head 🙂 Good post. When you have the time, do drop by to my space. I just made this unique custard and would love to hear what you think 🙂

    • crumbs23 July 10, 2012 at 8:53 pm #

      Thanks 🙂 Unique custard? Sounds dangerous, but I’m curious 😛 I’ll check it out.

  2. fudgingood July 10, 2012 at 8:21 pm #

    Bread scares me. It’s all the variables you mention, but I too am on a quest to conquer the crust. Let me know how you fare.

    • crumbs23 July 10, 2012 at 9:01 pm #

      Will do – I’m planning on using this blog as a sort of bread diary. I know, bread is terrifyingly fussy. For the crust, have you tried steaming up the oven by putting a tray of hot water on the base? Works for me! 😀

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