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One thing I don’t knead

March 13, 2021

Damn it. This bread baking thing is supposed to be easy peasy lemon squeezy. Mix the ingredients, go to bed, wake up, bake the bread. That’s the deal.

So, now I’ve had feedback from Jane. It seems I should as much as sextuple the amount of yeast I use. Not sure that is actually a word – but she means use six times as much yeast. (Note to self: buy more yeast.) Or add a sugar source such as molasses (why not just more actual sugar?) to give the yeast more carbs to work with. And definitely add more water, although how much more is yet to be established.

And finally, apparently I might want to try a second rise. “Knock it down after its first rise, shape it and proof it again for an hour or so.” What the actual fuck? Okay, I am, for reasons which are beyond me, addicted to the Great British Bake Off and they do constantly use the word, but that doesn’t mean I actually know what “proof” means. Proof of what? That you know what you are doing? Sounds as if this just another way of saying let it rise again? (A bit new testament, no?)

Now I’m supposed to get up in the morning, punch the dough, shape it and then leave it for an hour before I can stick it in the oven? It all begins to seem like, you know, work. Which is far from the point. At least there is still no need to knead, which is what put me off ever trying to make bread in the first place. Goddamn the Robin Hood flour company.

Oh, well. At least there’s a second walk this week with Georgie (and Joe) to distract me from this annoying turn of bread baking events.

Yesterday’s walk includes one of my favourite places on the island – a nature reserve that introduces visitors to a coastal rainforest.

The “star” of the reserve is a 1000+-year-old cedar. (A professional photographer using fancy kit and lying on his back might be able to take a photo that does justice to the majesty of this tree, but this was the best I could do with my phone.)

The most amazing thing about this tree is the “hole” in its trunk – big enough for an adorable dog to walk through.

Once outside the reserve, our walk takes us to an area with wide trails, perfect for giving Georgie what she really wants – lot of ball throwing. When she’s galloped after so many balls she is panting, it’s a good idea to give her a rest with her second favourite thing – adoring pats. Yesterday, knowing the jeans were going in the wash today anyway, I couldn’t resist getting right down to her level.

And Joe couldn’t resist taking a pic. (Oh, dear, my roots really do need some attention.)

Back home there is an email waiting for me from my friend Maureen, with whom I once shared a flat in London. She’d been going through old photos and found some she wondered if I’d ever seen. Most of them I had (although they were still lovely reminders of how much fun we’d had together). There was one I hadn’t.

It was taken some years ago, at a time when my hair still genuinely was the “champagne blonde” a stylist at Vidal Sassoon had once called it. I can honestly count on the fingers of both hands the number of photos of me ever taken that I actually liked. There are some I don’t mind. Then there is the vast majority which I actively hate.

Startling to discover that I had never seen The Best Photo of me ever taken.

Check me out. Blimey. Those glasses are long gone, as are the earrings (a reminder that I used to have – and wear – a lot of fabulous earrings), but the Mickey Mouse watch remains. At least that’s something. Wow.

From → Blog

  1. janeshead permalink

    Ok but you don’t HAVE to proof it again, you can still just dump it in the oven. You just might find you get a better rise if you do, is all. And yes, go ahead and use sugar. I like molasses in a dark bread but anything sugary is fine. Or leave it out! It’s just that your new flour will have a lower carb-protein ratio, so a little help for the yeast could be good.

  2. donna deacon permalink

    Great photo of you from days past!

    On the bread front, I have an almost full jar of yeast from when I tried that recipe you gave me. It never worked very well for me and it turns out, I hate having the house smell of yeast while the bread is proofing (!). If you would like the yeast, you can pick it up next time you’re out…just let me know 🙂


    • How old is it? Yeast does actually have a sell by date. (This much I do know.) 🙂

      • Donna permalink

        Ahh…damn. I just checked. It says Aug 2019…sorry. Should have given it to you a long time ago 😦

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