Without a Paddle, or, Ali Whines a Lot in this Post

So, though I have banished most of my fears concerning the craft of bread making, I’ve spent the last week researching recipes and it appears that some of my apprehension is well founded.  Let’s dive deeper, shall we?

  1. Many recipes have been calling for use of a mixer with paddle attachment (because dough needs to be spanked, apparently).  My mixer, a well-loved hand-me-down Sunbeam Mixmaster circa 1994, does not have a paddle attachment, and I doubt I could find one considering it’s age and make.  A new, fancy mixer with one of these paddle things would be great, but I work for a non-profit (read:  I am always poor). *

    Take a long, hard look at this ancient sexy beast.

    Take a long, hard look at this ancient sexy beast.

  2. I really like sourdough bread and was excited about the prospect of baking some, but according to everything I’ve read, I have to have a ‘starter’.  A starter is primordial sourdough ooze and takes, from what I can tell, like FIVE DAYS to make.  I guess it has to age (the scientific term is ‘ferment’) like a fine wine or some crap.  If that’s not enough, you have to feed your starter little daily meals of flour and water, like it’s a tiny prisoner and you are a stingy prison matron…the author of one post I read said she went out of town while her starter was fermenting and so she had to get a sitter for her starter.  Yes, she had to hire someone to feed her tub of bread ooze while she was out of town.  This stuff is too good to make up.
  3. I am not a patient person and even if I had a starter all ready to go, sourdough is one of many loaf breads that requires a prolonged rising time.  You mix everything up and then have to wait at least 12 hours before you can do anything else to it.  Which means that if I wanted to begin making my bread in the morning so I could eat it before bed-time the same day, I would have to wake up at like 6:00 AM….  On my day off….  No.
  4. Many loaf breads that require that prolonged rising time also require use of a dutch oven (an actual dutch oven, not the kind associated with pre-adolescent flatulent boys/immature flatulent men).  I have a dutch oven, so that’s good, but I have ONLY one, and if I’m going to spend more than a day waiting for my bread to be at a bakeable state, I’m going to want to make more than one loaf  at a time.  Did I mention that I am not a patient person?
  5. I keep seeing rapid-rise, or quick-rise, or instant yeast mentioned.  All these otherwise great recipes call for rapid-rise yeast but I don’t have any, and the recipe providers don’t provide a work-around involving plain ol’ active yeast.  I have looked at both King Soopers and Whole Foods and have had no luck.  Those are the two stores within walking distance of my apartment (I don’t have a car) but if the generic grocery store doesn’t have it, and the snobby natural grocery store doesn’t have it, WHO HAS IT?  Maybe Denver is just having a fast-acting yeast shortage?  Or I have terrible luck?  There is also a 7-Eleven a couple blocks away, but something tells me I shouldn’t bother.  It turns out I can get some on Amazon, BUT I WANT TO BAKE BREAD TODAY, DAMN IT.
  6. This hot toddy I’m drinking is reeaaaally good.  That has nothing to do with bread, but I just thought I should inject a little positivity into this otherwise whiny list.  Hmmm.  Wordpress spell check is telling me ‘positivity’ isn’t a word, but I’m 99.9% sure it is. Maybe WordPress spell check has been Sunday drinking, too.

That’s all I can think of at the moment.  I’m going to make that awesome pita recipe again (see first post), because I know I can handle that and I have everything.  Maybe I will take pictures for you, yes?  Just don’t expect them to be all fancy and well-composed like you get on many food blogs, because my camera is old and basic and I know absolutely nothing about food photography.

*If any of you, most wealthy and lovely and generous of readers, feel like sending me a shiny new KitchenAid mixer, I would definitely not hate you.  Yeah, I’ll put it that way.

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4 thoughts on “Without a Paddle, or, Ali Whines a Lot in this Post

  1. I would recommend using a dough starter and leaving it in the refrigerator the night before (not for sourdough… sourdough is way outside of my bread baking experience). It will add a depth of flavor to your bread and most recipes requiring a starter only require a two hour rise time. You can also make 2 or more loaves at a time and freeze them- only a little bit more work than only making one, but about the same amount of time.
    As far as the yeast goes, use about 1 teaspoon of instant or rapid rise yeast for every 1 1/4 teaspoon of active yeast. Hope that helps.

  2. While I’m in bread mode, I think you should invest in “The Bread Bible” by Rose Levy Beranbaum. She breaks down the science of bread, all the recipes are fantastic, she gives instructions that are altered for the equipment you have, and it’s pretty much just a fantastic book for anyone aspiring to bake all of their own bread.

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