Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Lets make some bread

I've been working on this for a couple days and the first try was embarrassing, the second was a lesson and the third was decent but needs a lot of improvement. Talking while making attempts would have been like a certain woman in Melaque telling everyone she was quitting smoking and then she couldn't quit. Better just work on quitting and talk about it later. So I made some bread and quit smoking ;)

So the first one didn't rise and I have no idea. The second was way too wet and didn't rise much but it did make a couple of bricks. The third try was a lot drier, rose a lot and resembled a loaf of bread. What I found was parchment paper is heat resistant but not moisture resistant. The paper tears easily when damp and it stuck to the bottom of the loafs. So I'm thinking it's almost a moisture guide for the dough. Maybe an oiled pan but the paper makes it easy to transfer to the oven. Also think my old oven's temperature does not match the dial. A little hotter next time.

It's hard finding the right utensils and materials to work with in Melaque. I'm sure Manzanillo would offer more choices but I'll make do for now. I bought some plastic wrap and it was thinner than thin and totally stuck to itself. I had to throw it out and use a plastic bag. Can't find a good rubber/plastic spatula. No heavy all metal cookware. Pyrex like glass ware are all the wrong shape and size. My local small store had that bread knife and I think she sold it to me for 20 pesos because she'd had it for years and couldn't get rid of it.

Time to take a break for a couple days, maybe look for a few more things in Cihuatlan and try for a drier dough soon. Also need to find some yeast or levadura. I didn't bring a lot down from Seattle. Does corn meal exist here .... we'll see.

My bricks

Just mixed

Rise after 2 hours

Very edible with olive oil and balsamic vinegar 


barbara said...

Hilarious! I suggest you get a breadmaking machine. They are almost a miracle - good bread every time. Even in San Miguel, one cannot find cornmeal. So I bring it from the USA. Maybe Hawaii can get it for you! He seems to be able to get anything! I have never used parchment paper and used to make bread when the kids were growing up because we were so poor. Good luck! I enjoyed this post immensely and applaud you for your persistence.

sparks said...

I may look into a bread machine eventually but right now I'm enjoying the alchemy similar to the process of making pottery like I did in Oregon in the hippy daze.

Steve Cotton said...

I salute you for taking on the project. Bread is not my favorite food, but I am certainly up for a challenge. If I am going to reduce the travels, I will need something to keep me occupied.

norm said...

The bread machine is pretty handy, I never cook the bread in the machine but I always use it to mix and kneed the dough. My mix is 3 cups of flour, a quarter cup of sugar, a half tablespoon of salt and a splash of oil. a table spoon of yeast and a cup of water . The water is added after it is mixed up a bit and it may be more or less than a cup to get the nice smooth ball you look for in the kneading stage. You can add a few eggs to make it a fine soft texture-use less water. I cook on a stone or on iron pans. I have a four slot tin baguette pan that has made at least a thousand loves; it gets sprayed with oil to keep the bread from sticking. I have a half dozen cast iron bread stick pans, they are nice for the holidays. But the bread machine is what makes it easy.

sparks said...

Hadn't really thought of a bread machine but did after Barbara's post. Seems like they range from $50 to $250 but I just thought they cooked well.

You say they knead as well. That sounds like a fancy machine but I'm still willing to look

norm said...

They sell in the thrift shops for a $5 bill around here. Like I said, I never cook the bread in the machine, just use it to prepare the dough for baking or frying. I have worn out 3-4 of them over the years by overloading the machine and just running the wheels off the contraption. There is a dough setting on the controls that makes the whole process half foolproof...

sparks said...

No Value Village around here but maybe a $50 one would work. I'll shop around

jennifer rose said...

Cornmeal is not readily available, but just about any gourmet store or Superama generally has polenta, which is a reasonable, even if expensive, substitute. Yeast is available at Walmart-level stores and better.

DonCuevas said...

Sparks, what type or brand of flour do you use for bread? The flour is the first and most important aspect of bread making. Gluten percentage is important.

Second is the ambient temperature and the ingredient water temperature. Most of my breads are mixed on the cool side of the thermometer and raised in a cool environment, in the low to mid sixties, Fahrenheit.

Even local tiendas de abarrotes here sell yeast, in dry form, usually the TradiPan label. Some sell fresh, compressed yeast, but it's perishable. I buy 500 gram sealed aluminum packages of Sierra Nevada brand. It lasts forever. Once opened, I keep it in a tightly lidded jar in the fridge.

I bake bread at least twice a week. Usually mix it in a Kitchen Aid stand mixer, but often do larger batches of heavy rye and pumpernickel by hand, in a big bowl.

Some baking (and cooking) photos from 2012:

Don Cuevas

DonCuevas said...

I have started to use Maseca Harina para Tamales, as a sprinkle on the pan under the bread. I think of cornmeal as more of an esthetic addition to bread baking rather than truly necessary, unless you are using a peel to place the loaves on a baking stone.

Don Cuevas

sparks said...

I bought a "bulk" bag of cornflakes and mashed them up with a mortar and pestle ;)

Maseca Harina sounds easier

sparks said...

Great looking stuff ..... thanks. Brand? Whatever white flour they sell in the average store. I'll try different things as I move along.. Rarely is it in the 60's here on the beach

john Calypso said...

Pan de Yema al Chocolate wow - looks tasty

sparks said...

Exotic stuff. He is a real cook. He invited us over for pizza a few years ago. Super

The construction of the house finished in April 2011 and I'm pretty much settled in. As of March 2014 I'm in preparation for rain mode for this coming summer. That includes sealing and painting things and dealing with drainage issues from last year.

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