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Friday, September 18, 2015

What I learned about bread... that you really can't stop learning about it. Bread is like cooking, as ballet is to dancing. This is where you learn all the basics of chemical reactions in the kitchen. I've decided that once you've mastered bread, you can make ANYTHING! 

I learned that SO many different results are possible, simply by changing the combination of ingredients and cooking methods: You could make the same batter and by simply changing the way you cook it, come up with at least two very different results (as is the case with crepes vs. popovers); By simply having a larger water to flour ratio, you can have cake instead of bread. 

I've dabbled in bread before, but never without help from an experienced bread baker. I'm happy to say that this chapter's assignment is one I did all on my own: Challah Bread. After it came out (warm from the oven) and I got to cut it, I actually took notice of the "crumb" (the name given to texture of bread or cake). I think it's something we all sort of take for granted. Many of us have taken notice of the huge holes that sometimes sneak itself into a loaf of bread, but have you ever really looked the much smaller ones? Did you even notice they were there? I never did, until I read this chapter. 

Those holes, (obviously) are caused by air, and happen in the early to mid stage of baking. Thanks to whatever leavener is used and the resting period, the inside of bread accumulates all these holes filled with gas. In the first few minutes of baking, the gases expand until the crust forms on the outside of the bread and then can't expand anymore. So what happens to these burgeoning bubbles? They explode causing the gases to distribute themselves in the parts of the dough that have not yet solidified. This is what creates the the crumb: that tender, delicate texture we all enjoy. 

 To learn more about this course, click here: Bread