Wednesday, April 16, 2003

Baker Science

As a science lesson the boys read about the properties and purposes of yeast. The article they read focused on bread, and I found a clover leaf roll recipe for them to follow, so they could apply what they were learning. We got cookin' this morning. William and Alex gathered the ingredients and took turns measuring and mixing. They did well, but I managed to repeat a recurring error: I followed the recipe to the letter, and the results were disappointing. I have never successfully followed a recipe exactly as written without the meal being dry, too salty, flat, over cooked, under cooked, tasteless...only when I improvise or alter do I find satisfactory results.

"Knead the dough for only 5 minutes," but this was too little time and we should have kneaded more. "Let the dough rise 1 hour, then again in the pan for 45 minutes," but once again I think we could have given the dough more time to rise. We missed the classic baking bread aroma, and the dough was somewhat dense. Nothing like the ones Geoff baked at Thanksgiving from Grandpa Corm's recipe; those clover leaf rolls are angel light and smell heavenly. Ours were mediocre. However, the boys inhaled them anyway. Even bad homemade bread is better than store bought. But now I am craving the good rolls and so tomorrow we will have to try again. Incidentally, Geoff does not cook, except for this bread recipe, but when I told him about our results he immediately guessed: "Are you sure you let the dough rise long enough?" I may be taking the wrong approach trying to teach this lesson. I should ask him to "please show us how to do it properly."

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