Sunday, 28 October 2012

First tries.

We've been trying to rely only on our masonry heater and keep our main source off for as long as possible.  We've run into a bit of a snag, as our firewood delivery guy hasn't come yet!  So, when it was particularly chilly one morning, I decided it would be a baking day.  Nicholas grabbed the chocolate chip cookie recipe, Jaelyn and Astrin made some marvelous saskatoon berry muffins, and I decided I would try to make bread, and we'd get in a little science while we did it.

We experimented with yeast.  First, we learned about what yeast actually is (a fungus).  Then, we prepared three bowls with water of different temperatures - one cold, one warm, and one hot.  We watched, smelled, and learned how the temperature of water impacts yeast.

I've tried to make pizza dough from traditional yeast before - more often than not its been a flop - but never bread.  In the first few attempts, I didn't know anything about the science of bread or yeast and didn't pay attention to water temperature.  The recipes weren't that helpful either, as they mentioned "warm" water, which is open to interpretation (just ask my daughters if they think "warm" is the temperature that I draw their bath at).

Now, armed with a candy thermometer, a book devoted entirely to bread, and newly found resilience, we tried again.  And while the bread erred more on the heavy side, it did rise a bit and was satisfying.  After it all, the house was warm, it smelled marvelous, and we had home-made bread to fill our bellies.

The yeast experiment
Fresh bread!

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