The simplest of ingredients, can make the most wondrous of dishes. No where is this more true than bread. Flour, Water, Yeast, and Salt can combine into one of the comforting of comfort foods.
Every culture, every cuisine has some form of this most basic of foods. In this missive I’ll tackle one of the most basic forms.
Bread is a staple food prepared from a dough of flour and water, usually by baking. Throughout recorded history it has been popular around the world and is one of the oldest artificial foods, having been of importance since the dawn of agriculture.
Proportions of types of flour and other ingredients vary widely, as do modes of preparation. As a result, types, shapes, sizes, and textures of breads differ around the world. Bread may be leavened by processes such as reliance on naturally occurring sourdough microbes, chemicals, industrially produced yeast, or high-pressure aeration. Some bread is cooked before it can leaven, including for traditional or religious reasons. Non-cereal ingredients such as fruits, nuts and fats may be included. Commercial bread commonly contains additives to improve flavor, texture, color, shelf life, nutrition, and ease of manufacturing.
Bread is served in various forms with any meal of the day. It is eaten as a snack, and used as an ingredient in other culinary preparations, such as sandwiches, and fried items coated in bread crumbs to prevent sticking. It forms the bland main component of bread pudding, as well as of stuffings designed to fill cavities or retain juices that otherwise might drip out.
Bread has a social and emotional significance beyond its importance as nourishment. It plays essential roles in religious rituals and secular culture. Its prominence in daily life is reflected in language, where it appears in proverbs, colloquial expressions (“He stole the bread from my mouth”), in prayer (“Give us this day our daily bread”) and in the etymology of words, such as “companion” (from Latin com “with” + panis “bread”).
A few notes:
We will begin to utilize a more scientific approach, weighing ingredients, we will in later missives begin to deal with hydration levels, types of flours, as well as proofing, shaping, and cooking methods
I strongly suggest the acquisition of of a good digital kitchen scale. I will also post a chart of common volumetric measures to weight based measure.
A spoken prior, a finished dish is not better than the sum of it’s parts, use quality ingredients. Fresh when ever possible, but DO NOT go for the cheap stuff, it will have an effect. DO NOTE: Inexpensive is not always cheap, and cheap is not always inexpensive.