Letter To My Bread
Hi Bread, my new lover. Have I told you that I love you?
I saw you first in the old shop’s rack, in late 1980ies when I was 4 years old. And since then I could never forget you. I mean, I still can’t eat and feel full stomach without eating rice; but you always comes first as my sweet nibble, my snack even my lunchbox.
A simple white bread sandwich with chocolate rice filling and margarine would always make me smile. And my smile will last until the end of the day if my mother grilled the sandwich until I can see the burnt slice in top and bottom of you.
If everybody raved for indomie as their holy angel to feed their hungry tummy, I would presumably choose you rather than indomie. Although indomie, well, I can hardly to resist. I mean, we all agree that indomie with chili bird eye and sawi and sunny side egg is the best combo so far, right? No matter they come with new varieties from sate to rendang to iga bakar, but still, the most delicious which win everyone’s heart is indomies goreng, the one and only.
But since my letter doesn’t address to indomie, so I would stop writing about indomie. And bring back the focus of attention to you.
My first homemade bread is when I was in college, off course. I never had any gut to step my feet into kitchen, as we all know for sure. And unfortunately, my first homemade bread turned into traumatic syndrome which always haunted me for years and double my paranoia to kitchen.
My first and biggest mistake is about your soul: yeast. I was wrongly bought yeast to make fermented cassava aka tape in bahasa Indonesia. And my second horrible mistake is, I poured the yeast with boiled water. So my dough never rose although I wait it for long hours, maybe million hours. I remember that until the next three day, my dough didn’t rise at all. There came fungi, a green fungis, instead. So I threw it away with full of tears and made promise to myself that I would only eat you, but not to make.
But then destiny calls. My never ending boredom as housewife forced me to step into the kitchen. And when I went to shop to food store, I found your instant soul (instant yeast). Hesitantly, I finally buy you. But I don’t remember how long you’ve been in my kitchen storage. Until I remember you, and I try once again. This time with long depth listening, reading and understanding about bread making. I read and remember all the instructions, the step by steps, and everything in between. And I remember, my first yeasty bread I made is pizza.
And guess what, believe it or not, my dough is finally rising, double in bulk. And although it result a heavy, hard, harsh bread (because overbaked), but it is edible. I mean, despite the unidentified flavor, I still could eat you by soak it in hot chocolate. And you feel so enormously delicious since what I taste is the rich chocolate milk.
Since then, I almost make bread every week. And always pizza. I mean, pizza is fool proof, rite? You can’t go wrong with flat bread topped with anything you like and find and have. Pizza become my addiction, and so is making you.
I don’t know, there’s something about you I can’t resist. Just like what Peter Reinhart said, maybe I like making you because I feel like I have a power, a tremendous one, to shape and change from dead ingredients (flour and yeast), feed it with sugar and water, let you rise to eat the sugar and create your gluten, then knead you once again and let you proof. To let you proof that you are alive: rise and double in bulk. And then the saddest yet happiest part which, eventually kill you yet turn you into edible food for our life: bread. Baker is like a God, that’s what Peter Reinhart said. And I nod, faithfully.
Maybe the biggest excitement I felt when I make you is in every part of making you. From measuring, mixing, kneading, proofing, resting, baking and off course, eating. I watch you rise in the room temperature for an hour, slow by slow. And watch you rise fastly in not more than 10 minutes when you are in the oven. I watch you, touch your texture, feel your bubble in your skin, and treat you like my lover. I feel amazing. And do feel relaxing every time I smack, slap, toss, punch and beat you. You are my boxing sack to punch. You are my enemy to beat. But you are also my idol to watch you rise.
I love you Bread. And though I sometimes still fail to treat you, sometimes too long to bake you, sometimes I do still make mistakes to make you, but trust me, my love for you will last till I find another excitement hobby, which I don’t know when.
And so is the reason I make a new blog to dedicate my yeast experiment to the readers who’s lost in their way when making bread. May this blog guide you to the right and the left way. Amen.