Amy wrote about making bread the other day and I was reminded of the Holy Grail of bread that I have been chasing ever since I started making bread.
As many of you know, when I was a lad I would go up to a lake in Canada every summer. The place where I lived was rustic. The family I stayed with had a small farm and nearly everything we ate was grown there, animals included.
Emma, the matriarch of the family did all the cooking and baking. She baked bread every day and I have yet to find a bread as good. All of my attempts at baking her bread always fail miserably. I even drove up to Canada once to ask her if I could watch her make bread. She did nothing out of the ordinary other than using potato water where the recipe called for water. There was nothing remarkable about the recipe at all.
Her bread had a sturdy crust all around, but the bread under the crust was the amazing part. It was very light in weight. The gluten was stretched to the maximum it could possibly be stretched. The walls of the bread bubbles were like dragon fly wings. One could nearly see through a slice and it’s cellophane like structure.
Nothing was uniform in this bread. The bubbles in bread are basically a product of yeast farts. The yeast consumes the sugar and then it releases gas. If you take normal slice of bread and count the bubbles or craters in a square inch you may be able to count hundreds, but a square inch of Emma’s bread would only have ten at the most. This bread was light and airy.
If any of you are bread experts out there and can guide a fellow, please pipe in and let me know what I can do to recapture this sort of bread.