Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Unadorned Monkey Bread

I love bread. There's no carb that I love more. I eat them on breakdast, lunch, afternoon snack, dinner, midnight get the picture. SO, I was in such dismay when I realized we've ran out of bread that fateful morning, save for the measly grocery-bought white loaf that definitely tastes like the plastic its packaged in. For the record, I've never really been fond of those white breads sold in groceries. They taste bland and, more often than not, have a really tough texture.
I set out to make my own bread. In under 20 minutes, I already have a bouncy, smooth, shiny dough ready for its initial rising. I replaced a third of the flour with whole wheat and used unsalted butter, instead of shortening, for extra flavor. A note about these two fats--butter gives a better flavor and a richer smell, but also would make the bread stale a bit faster, due to the milk proteins it contains. On the other hand, shortening contributes little flavor, if at all, but the bread would have a smoother texture and wouldn't stale as quick. It's just a matter of preference.
I adore the striations that appear whenever I pull them apart
To make my bread a bit whimsical and more fun to eat, I divided them into 3 big parts and 5 smaller ones and stacked them together in a loaf pan. The bread was chewy and on the heavy part, a character mostly contributed by the protein found in whole wheat flour. The smell was lovely-- sweet, homey, rich. They are exceptionally good right after baking, when they're at their freshest (caveat: steam burns!). When breads are baked right beside each other, they come out softer and seem to stay fresher longer.
By the end of the day, I've survived. And once again thankful for this ability to make breads. Not only for convenience, but more so for experiencing a blissful satisfation every time I make them. It is a relaxation and not for exertion of stress or anger. And to date, no other kitchen activity is more enjoyable.

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