I fear I have not been paying attention. I completely failed to notice that yesterday was World Bread Day. So I thought I would try and do some catching up. Hmmm. Easier said than done. The fresh yeast in the fridge was a little the worse for wear, but hey, what have we here? My goodness, it’s a Bread-in-a-Box kit.
Courtesy of IKEA, where the weird food is half the fun, this is a box containing the ingredients for what looks like my kind of wholegrain rye loaf. They include wheat flakes, rye flakes, various seeds, malt and dried yeast. And of course a couple of other things that may or may not be doubtful but I don’t have them in my larder. However I put my faith in IKEA.
Opening a Tetra Pak is always a bit of a challenge, but I did that successfully and poured in the requisite 20 ozs of water. That seemed rather a lot to me. Could they have meant to say fluid ozs? Do you know, I rather think they did. So now I have rye soup. I pour it into a big bowl and add about six or eight handfuls of wholemeal flour until it is the consistency of thick mud. The original instructions say to shake the contents for 45 seconds and empty the dough into the tin. Would that have made what I know as dough? Or would it have made a thick mud pie? Trying to deduct the extra water and compensate with extra flour is difficult when you don’t know how doughy the dough was supposed to be. I end up with not one but two tins full to the brim with mud pie.
Now the instructions say wait 45 mins for it to rise. But I have doubled the quantity of water, flour, dough and therefore halved the quantity of yeast so that may be 90 mins. If the dough rises at all it will dribble over the tops of the tins. I spend the morning running anxiously into the kitchen every ten minutes to see what it happening. After half an hour – absolutely nothing.
I read the instructions again and notice that the baking time, at 200ºC, is 60 mins. 60 mins – for a little tin like this? Maybe that’s to allow all the water time to evaporate. I wish I knew a bit more about chemistry. 45 secs shaking, no kneading. How is that going to make the whatsit molecules bind together and form gluten? If the raising agent was bicarbonate of soda, maybe. But it’s yeast. I’m baffled.
Another scoot into the kitchen to peer at the tins. Can’t see any difference. Not a micron.
Maybe the yeast has turned up its toes. What does the sell-by date say? 290607. So, still got a while to go then.
I start to bargain with myself –
“I’ll leave it for another half an hour and that’s tops. Then it goes in the oven. If it ends up as hot muesli I can have it for breakfast.”
“But suppose it boils, and billows up, and explodes all over the oven which I have just, as it happens, cleaned?”
(Exploding muesli – there’s a thought…)
“Surely the fierce heat will make a crust, and the mixture will be contained within it, so the worst that will happen is it will be a very soggy loaf.”
(Maybe the birds will like it…)
"But I want it to look like the picture on the packet. Ohhhh, bratwurst…"
The half an hour is up. No movement upwards, sideways, any way at all from the muddy mixture. Into the oven with you then.
(I wonder if this tale will have a happy ending?)
Well, not really. Looks like a brick, feels like a brick and tastes like – actually it tastes not bad, pretty stodgy and not enough salt but, if sliced thinly enough it might be good with smoked salmon…
Oh for goodness sake, who am I kidding?