In an earlier post, I had shared about how my passion for bread started a few years ago.
However, with the big move back to a tropical island, it felt too warm to bake and sweat out in the kitchen. Physical inertia set in.
Besides, the climate change also meant that the conditions are different for baking bread now. What I had learnt earlier about bread making had to be adapted to the tropical climate. Mental inertia reinforced the physical inertia.
I can be so weak at times.
It was then that I met A who bakes bread loaves.
She explained to me that the baking conditions here are actually favourable for bread as it’s warm throughout the year. She shared with me about her preferred ingredients that could be bought in local shops. And she was kind enough to invite me to her home to bake bread together.
A’s home-made bread loaf was soft, chewy and fragrant like those at well-established bakeries. It was good enough to be eaten on its own. I felt motivated to try bread making again.
I started gathering with friends to bake bread. Together, we experimented with various recipes and methods.
Gradually, I understood how to make the best of the new environment for baking bread. I learnt where to get the best ingredients. I also saved up to buy an oven.
My passion for bread was reignited!
Along the way, H-chan and her mother introduced me to a quick and easy method by Murakami Sachiko that resulted in light and soft bread rolls in an hour.
By cleverly using the microwave oven, this method required only a third of the usual time needed for making bread.
The most appealing part was that there was no hard work of kneading by hand, so even a child could bake bread like a professional baker!
Kneading by hand can be challenging especially when working with a recipe that uses eggs and lots of butter. In the hot and humid weather here, butter melts really quickly and it is very hard to knead a very wet and sticky dough.
However, there is something I find immensely satisfying and relaxing when kneading a dough by hand .
I also get to practise working through the 4th dimension each time I knead.
I start off by visualising the end product – delicious bread.
No matter how sticky and unmanageable the dough is, I keep a mental picture of what I want to achieve – a smooth and elastic dough, which will in turn become delicious bread.
At the kneading stage, this is in the 4th dimension as it is yet unseen in the 3rd dimensional world. I keep kneading until the dough I can see in this 3rd dimensional world fits what my mind saw in the 4th dimension earlier.
The next stage of waiting and watching the dough rise is simply magical.
Of course, the climax is when the aroma of freshly baked bread fills the air and the bread reaches the mouth.