thinking outside the tank

Creative avoidance – with yeast

with one comment

I’m experiencing a bout of creative avoidance – finding useful and easily justifiable tasks to do in order to avoid tackling a bigger, more important activity. At Christmas, our daughter Frances made a delicious batch of bread following a no-knead recipe which originated in the Sullivan Street bakery in New York, courtesy of the New York Times. Her results were inspirational. I’ve dabbled with yeast for many years with varying degress of success – basic loaves, bloomers, plaits, bagels, croissants, muffins – I’ve tried them all and with a wide range of flours. What made me try again was a combination of Fran’s superb bread and the availability of fresh yeast at a nearby supermarket.First, I repeated the no-knead recipe and followed this with a bloomer and two coburgs. The results with the fresh yeast, I found, were much better than with the dried yeast I’ve used before.

So, what else could I make in order not to do that other job? First it was baps (see first photo). That went well – nice and soft – thanks to a heavy dusting of flour and covering them with a tea-towel as they cooled. The drawback was the 40g of lard that get rubbed into the flour at the start of the recipe – that’s more fat than I would like in my diet.

What else? We recently bought a Czech cooker. This is a low energy cooker that can be used instead of an oven. The difference in power is considerable – a typical oven might consume 3 kilowatts while the Czech cooker at full power consumes 450 watts. I made the casserole, shown left, in 2 hours with the power set to 1, which I think equates to a 100 watt light bulb.

My problem with the yeast was that it was sold as four 1oz packets and had an imminent ‘use by’ date. I realised that, to get the best out it, I needed to get kneading. I like making bagels; they have extra ingredients compared with plainer bread, like whisked egg white and melted butter. There’s also a poaching interlude when you get to toss the rings of dough into simmering water for 30 seconds. Glaze with the egg yolk and bake for 20-25 minutes and you get the bagels shown here.

I suppose I should get on with that job that’s looming. I know, I’ll just blog about creative avoidance first.


Written by netkingcol

February 8, 2010 at 8:43 pm

One Response

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  1. Yes I AM rather inspirational, aren’t I?


    February 24, 2010 at 2:25 pm

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