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Bread in the Bone

After the summer months — during which I’ve been in hiding, of sorts — I thought I’d pick up with recipe blogging first. In the style of Ariya Hidayat. When he’s not doing ridiculously cool things, he has nice photos of various dishes.

During the summer months I’ve picked up making bread as a nice relaxing activity. The feel of the flour as it sticks to your fingers, the elasticity after kneading the dough, the stink of yeast and the smell of fresh-baked bread in the kitchen contribute to that relaxation. Yesterday’s exercise was a bread braid — just plain whole wheat rolled out and then braided, so that you get a loaf with some character. My intention had been to take a picture of it, but the kids (and myself) liked it so much that the whole thing was devoured in under a half hour. Well, that was dinner taken care of, at least.

No bread today, but I’ll point to a scone recipe on the BBC site that is quick and tasty. 20 minutes from “braaaaaains … I mean, scones” to the finished product is just right. I poke a single raisin on the top of each scone — a raisin which is duly removed and dropped on the floor by the kids.

Bread is different from software. You mix in the right ingredients, follow the build instructions, and what comes out varies based on the phase of the moon or the draught in the kitchen or a hundred other variables not under your control. Oh, wait, maybe it is like software packaging. But more on that some other time.

3 Responses to “Bread in the Bone”

  1. Anne Wilson Says:

    When I first made bread I was told to “add enough water to make a good dough”. What is a good dough? You can’t describe it – you have to feel it. There’s no way a recipe can tell you how much water. The degree to which the flour is affected by humidity seems to be the deciding factor, and in my experience the required amount can vary by as much as 30%.

  2. Ben Martin Says:

    Hey, the same BBC scone recipe I tend to use :) Or very similar to it… I find it works well with fresh strawberry jam and cream… and for added bonus points you get melting cream dripping to contend with, easy to make a royal mess.

  3. adridg Says:

    @ben: well, a scone is a scone. Clotted cream is hard to get here in Nijmegen, but butter and raspberry jam will do in a pinch.
    @anne: yes, “good dough” is one of those un-quantifiable things that makes cooking so much fun. When I’m in the kitchen with Mira (7 years old) that’s when I notice how much cookery depends on watching and tasting as opposed to following the numbers. I need to teach her sensitivity to those factors — fingerspitzengefuhl, for which I can’t think of either a Dutch or an English equivalent right now.