Sunday, August 12, 2007

Tales & Travails

Laura has posted her baked brick story at LGirl's Blog and Susan offers a story about a bread-loving cat at Wild Yeast.

Wan Bui has just recently started baking bread and shared her story with us:
Six month ago, I was alien to the baking world. I had no idea what is the difference between all purpose flour, bread flour and cake flour. The only thing I know is that each time I craved for good bread I would need to travel quite a distance to Carrefour (that's a French Supermarket), Market Place or Delifrance (a French eatery) to pick up few good loaves. I was born and raised in Vietnam, the place that according to Anthony Bourdain produces the best baguette outside of France. Married to a Singaporean, I moved to live in Singapore 10 years ago and although there are quite a few bakeries around, I hardly found anything that suits my taste.

It was at the 7 month of my pregnancy that I craved so badly for those French baguettes stuffed with plenty of sausage, pate and sweet-and-sour salad (the way they are served in Vietnam). I stared to search for bread making recipes from the internet, bought a new oven, find the way to local bakery supply shops and attempted to make a very first loaf of bread. Although heavily pregnant, I still stayed up late at night, tried out difference recipes. Success did not come easy. The biggest problem was weight and measurement. I am used to metric measurement and most of recipes out there are in cups and pounds. I did not have a mixer and did everything manually.

My first loaf was as hard as stone due to over kneading, too hot oven and probably wrong measurement of ingredients. However, I did not give up, keep on searching and found Susan's Foodie Farmgirl blog. I was amazed with the way she lived and managed her farm. I am sure it is much harder than working and raising my 3 little kids here. She is such an inspiration. I read her ten tips for making good bread over and over again and tried baking bread again. I used her tips with recipes from others who follow metric systems. Six months on, I now can bake decent loaves of bread and have moved onto buns, pita, pizza and biscuits. My kids not only love home-bake breads but also enjoy baking time when they can shape their own breads or biscuits.

Thank you so much for sharing your baking experience with us, guiding us and inspire us to be good baker. It would be even better if you could produce a little note to your every recipes stating your ¾ cup is equivalent to how many grams of flour or milliliters of water.

And Darby is a rappin' baker:
Making Bread, A Rap: "Rollin' (In the Dough)"

YO! I make bread cuz I like to knead
The dough in my hands doesn't make them bleed
I got a bunch of active yeast in the freezer
I got a bin of flour, a real crowd pleaser

Don't got much money, just a wad of tens
Don't need a Cadillac don't need a Benz
I got a secret weapon to make my endz

I be rollin' (rollin') Rollin' (rollin) Rollin' in the dough…
It be risin' in my kitchen mighty high and mighty slow
Don't need no BLING to reprezent
Just my bowl, my hands and ingredienz

YO My husband likes to call me honey
But he'd rather squeeze it on his bun-ies
My kids reprezent making little dough snakes
The bread they eat, the crust they hate

I prefer my slice with jam and butter
My serrated knife is a superior cutter
Adding too much wheat germ will make you sputter

I be rollin' (rollin') Rollin' (rollin) Rollin' in the dough…
It be risin' in my kitchen mighty high and mighty slow
Don't need no BLING to reprezent
Just my bowl, my hands and ingredienz

PROOF OUT, Homies!

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Blogger Riana said...

I love Wan's story! Those Vietnamese sandwiches (Bánh mì) are the best. I can see why she was craving them. ANd finding Farmgirl Fare's blog is the best place to learn about bread, she is an expert.

All the best,
Riana in France

8/13/2007 9:30 AM  
Blogger Riana said...

Oh, and here are some rough measurement tranlations

1 teaspoon = 5 ml / 5 gm. 1 tablespoon = 15 ml / 15 gm. 15 tablespoons = 1 cup / 225 ml. 1 cup = 8 fluid oz / 225 ml. 1 US gallon = 3.6 litres. 1 lb = 16 oz / 454 gm.

8/13/2007 9:32 AM  

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