Monday, February 08, 2016

About breads, buns, and yeast

Last year I decided that every quarter I am gonna learn something new. I had been obsessing over baking breads as long as I can remember. So, quickly I decided, it is high-time I should buy an Oven.

And I bought one. After which began an incessant period of trial and error, in which I consumed humongous amounts of all-purpose flour, olive oil, and yeast from three different continents!

Yes, yeast is what makes or breaks your bread. Being a vegetarian, I do not use eggs and hence the entire fluffiness of my bread was dependent on yeast only.

So, I read about yeasts. A lot. Different varieties, how to activate them, how to test them, supporting reagents to be used, popular brands, etc. I cajoled my friends traveling to Europe and US to get me sachets of popular Yeasts from there. A friend from Germany brought me enough Yeast to suffice for a year, provided I can store it well.

While the long-distant stuff was still in transition, I decided to experiment with the local varieties. From the three brands that were available, one performed quite good. I made pizza twice with that and the base-bread came out really really well and fluffy. So I tried my hands on egg-less garlic rolls - my long cherished recipe - that I could not try because I did not have an OTG. The rolls came out great. Every bit of effort was rewarding. Sadly, I did not take pictures. I was so consumed in admiring the real thing ;)

After these roles, I tried my hands on stuffed buns, which were so great that I cannot even describe how much I liked them. Then came Ladi Pav buns, which were not that great but good enough to bid adieu to market buns. I prepared Burger buns from the left over dough of Ladi pav, needless to say, readymade Burger buns are out of my kitchen too ;)

Then arrived my distant Yeast varieties. Sadly, not all of them preformed as expected, especially, while baking buns. Pizza bases and flat breads were still fine. May be they did not go very well with the Indian ingredients. Two brands did pretty nice so I am gonna order more of them next time someone goes abroad. The Honey-oats-banana-bread that I made came out very well. For remaining projects, I am gonna stick with my locally available and cheaper Yeast satchet.

It's been two quarters since I have got this OTG and I could not seem enough to get of it. Taken from quick cake recipes to quickers snacks, I am totally in love with it. Baking has come natural to me, in fact, cooking itself came natural to me. One could say this happens to a lot of Indian girls after they get married. The feeling of having a kitchen of your own and the possibility of being totally creative in it really pull you into cooking; and once pulled in, you can never really come out of it.

My daughter, just 4 right now, shares my excitement of baking. She is always suggesting me if we can make cakes out of random things. I am still learning basics right now, so a bit cautious in trying out something outrageous, but I know it won't be long when this mother-baby combo would be going guns over cakes, pastries, and muffins. It would be a loving day with sweet aroma and sweeter love inebriating our house. I can imagine that.

P.S.:  Baking happened to me in the third quarter of 2015, and the last quarter was spent Crocheting. An update about it will come soon.