Thursday, April 04, 2013

Baking bad

After the disconcerting news a couple of weeks ago that a school in faraway Canvey Island has banned the distribution of triangular flapjacks at lunchtime on the grounds that someone might get hurt, things could only get worse.

Mrs D did the weekly shop the other day at a supermarket that shall remain nameless (they’re all the same really, only the carrier bags are different) and came back with a baguette so floppy that...

Well, so utterly bendy and unbaguette-like that if you’d used it as a wand, or a baton, which is what “baguette” means, and tried to produce a rabbit from a hat, or conduct Beethoven’s Fifth, you’d have ended up with a vole, or Air on a Penny Whistle.

All of which leads to the inevitable conclusion (in Mrs D’s mind, in any case): why not bake our own bread?
It’s the latest big thing. Every other TV programme seems to be cashing in on the bread-making craze. And how simple could it be?

Grab a bag of flour. Weigh it out, sprinkle in dried yeast. You haven’t got any dried yeast. Go to shop and purchase same. Add salt. Engage in half-hour deliberation on relative merits of adding sugar or leaving it out. Chuck in some olive oil for good measure. Add water. Mix. You’ve added too much water, dough has consistency of treacle. Add flour to correct. Mix. Dough is too dry. Add more water. Mix. Repeat until quantity of dough is twice that required in recipe. Add more salt. Taste. Feel unwell. Knead until dough is soft and pliable. Remove leavings from under fingernails.

Cover and allow to rise in warm place. If such a place actually exists.

Wait for two hours, periodically peeking into bowl. Dough oozes, bubbles and quivers.

Pummel violently, leave to prove.

Form into Gallic-looking stick, bake until done, wait until cool.

Slice, tear, rip, chew.

Outside is like reinforced concrete, inside is like Blu-Tack.

It’s not as easy as it looks, this bread-making mallarkey.

Meanwhile, though, in the kitchens at Dixon Towers, Mrs D is whipping up a Schiacciata with Olives, Prosciutto and Porcini Mushrooms. That’s an Italian flatbread to you. And what could possibly go wrong?

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