There is no bread in the Lory Student Center.
There are rolls and hoagies – and, yes, I will allow Spoons’ foccacia to count as bread – but I want sandwich bread and I know I am not the only one.
After a week of not eating anything that rises (remember it was Passover) and talking with my adviser, Holly, about the lack of bread on campus, I have been dreaming about different kinds of bread since April 3.
Before you judge me I know it sounds a bit crazy to dream about breads, but I normally live off of bagels, sandwiches and other derivatives of the glorious carbohydrate.
Just as the sun was setting on the last night of Passover I started making loaves of bread to satisfy my week-long craving.
It should be known that I am a bit of a purist when it comes to making bread and I do not use a machine. I find kneading bread releases the stresses and tension of my day and the dough doesn’t retaliate as my body would if I were to exercise instead.
If you have read my column in the past you know I have a tumultuous relationship with yeast – some days are good, others aren’t so much. I got lucky this time and all of my breads – I made Challah, pumpernickel and wheat – came out with chewy, flavorful insides and thin crusts.
Letting the yeast do its job is the key to good bread. I use active dry yeast when I make bread because of how easy it is to find. The pitfall of convenience is dry yeast can be finicky. In order to use dry yeast you have to wake it from its dormant state by soaking it in warm water for five to 10 minutes.
Remember that yeast is alive and grows best in warmer temperatures – between 70 and 85 degrees is ideal. Making the water too hot, 140 degrees, will kill the yeast instantly. The people at preparedpantry.com recommend not using water any warmer than 120 degrees.
Once the yeast is activated, it does most of the work for you. What is left for you is kneading and baking.
L’Chaim and B’Tay Avon (to life and eat well).
Verve Editor Liz Sunshine can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pumpernickel from Cooks.com:
2 packages dry yeast
1 cup each of rye flour and whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon instant coffee powder
About 1 cup all-purpose flour
1-1/4 cup warm water
1/4 cup dark molasses
2 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa
1/2 teaspoon salt
Soften yeast in warm water about five minutes. Add rye and whole wheat flours, molasses, cocoa, coffee powder and salt. With mixer, beat dough until flour is moistened. Then mix in 1 cup all-purpose flour. Beat at medium speed until dough is stretchy and pulls cleanly from bowl. Knead for about three minutes or use dough hook. If needed, add more all-purpose flour, one tablespoon at a time. Place dough in an oiled bowl, turn to grease top. Cover bowl and let rise until double. Punch dough down. On 12-by-15-inch baking sheet sprinkle corn meal in the center. Form dough into a ball. Place on cornmeal and press to form a six-inch round. Cover with a clean towel. When double in size, bake at 350 degrees about 30 minutes.