Tuesday, September 9, 2008
Pardus Uses Child Labor to Make Dough
Ok, it's back-to-school time. Reading this blog, I'm sure you pack your kid's lunch, but if your kid is anything like mine, the Ciabatta bill is gonna be into triple digits -per-month. So...in order to afford the demand for Parma Prosciutto instead of PB&J, I had to come up with an financially sound, educationally prodcutive, emotionally satisfying, and FUN way to quell the carbo craving of a 10 year old food snob.
A few months ago, Ruhlman challenged me to bake my own bread each day - too simple and too cheap not to, he said - only a whimp would buy when it was so simple to make. Hmmm...I felt a reverse snowstorm effect brewing if I didn't at least TRY to get there. So I did...turned out to be amazingly simple - less than 10 minutes a day of active work, easily incorporated into the daily routine. So much so that when my daughter started back to school and wanted WHITE bread in her lunch, I just told her "make it yourself".
And she did, and has continued. We find that it helps us bond, gives us something to do while we talk and unwind; she finds that it increases her social status in the lunch room - "I baked it myself, want some?"; and I find that I can tie it into math, science, social studies, and art.
Ruhlman is right - a well organized adult can whip out two loaves a day in less than 10 minutes active work. Toss in the bonding and fun factors and it's a 30 minute routine that we enjoy almost every day - especially now that her market share in the lunch room has overtaken Pillsbury's.
A Kitchen Aide mixer with dough hook(or similar stand-up, heavy duty machine)
A digital scale
A vessel for holding 300 ml water
A set of measuring spoons
A rubber spatula
A dough cutter (bench scraper)
A sack of Bread Flour (we use King Arthur brand Bread Flour)
A box of salt
A jar of active dry yeast
A cookie sheet (sheet tray) or some ceramic oven tiles
A bread peal
A sack of corn meal
A spray bottle with water
A willing 10 year old food snob
500 grams flour
300 grams warm water
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
15 grams (1 1/2 Tablespoons) Salt
Meet kid at bus stop
Talk about the day and offer to make a light snack (keep it light as as not to diminish motivation)
While you make snack, have kid set up station (watching Ratatouille several times before hand helps keep things clean here)
Weigh empty water vessel, tare scale to zero
Add warm water to vessel, check weight at 300 grams
Add yeast to water, stir, allow to sit
Zero scale, weigh mixing bowl, tare scale to zero
Weigh 500 grams of bread flour into mixong bowl
Add 15 grams salt to flour
Place mixing bowl - with flour and salt - onto mixer and attach dough hook
Turn machine onto "low" setting
Add yeast and water to flour mixture - don't' be afraid to add a "splash" more water to help get all of the yeast out.
Increase speed of machine to combine liquid and solids. Stop machine and scrape down sides into center, if needed, to combine
Set timer for 12 minutes, allow bread to knead until timer goes off
Remove hook and bowl from machine, remove dough from hook.
Pat dough down into bottom of bowl, cover bowl with kitchen towel or plastic wrap and allow to sit until dough has doubled in volume - about 1 hour (enough to do 5th grade homework or practice trumpet and clean bedroom).
Remove dough from bowl, divide into 10 equal portions and shape into rolls for sharing at Lunch table.
Place shaped dough onto dough peal which has been dusted with corn meal or coarse flour.
Place kitchen towel over rolls and allow to rise again while oven (with tiles or cookie sheet) is preheated to 375 degrees F.
When rolls have doubled in size, remove towel and slide rolls off of peal and onto hot tiles or sheet.
Spray water into hot oven - about 6-8 "spritzes" - and close the door.
Set oven timer for 20 minutes and bake until rolls are a light golden.
Remove rolls from oven, place on mesh rack to cool, call kid into kitchen and allow 1 hot roll - with butter - to be consumed before they cool.
When rolls are cool, place in zip lock bag, pack into school bag the following morning, and wait until kid returns with head full of "awesome" praise to repeat.
If you're lucky, you can tie this in with math - ratios, division, metric conversion; science - yeast growth and by-products of CO2 and alcohol; social studies - breads of the world/staff of life; and manual dexterity/arts and crafts.
And it's gonna save you $25 bucks a week in bread bills...honest.