Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Art of Bread and Why My Life Sucks

So I'm on the King Arthur Flour website because I hear it has gluten-free stuff. And it does--I ordered me some ancient grains flour that looks mighty fine. It's just annoying that on the same page as the gluten-free flour, they're trying to entice you to buy a fine complement to it: 16oz of vital wheat gluten. Thanks, KAF, for being sensitive to my major and still very new dietary sensitivities.

But that's hardly what brings me to the Loquat to gripe this early in the morning. Just being at the King Arthur Flour website is enough to make one sick at heart. They've so perfected bread-making that I can't help but feel a little left in the dust. I used to enjoy bread-making heartily: I'd make whole grain breads and pick up weird flours to add to them (I still use mesquite meal, which adds a wonderful caramel-y flavor--I recommend it to all you gentle readers). While I may be a gluten-free baked-good goddess (though I certainly don't let it go to my head), I still haven't dabbled in bread. I know what I'm up for, though: disappointment.

But maybe not. Truth be told, I wasn't very good at making wheat bread. If your idea of good bread was a 3-inch thick, infinitely dense loaf, then I was your man. If you wanted something you could use for a sandwich, or say you wanted to make toast that wasn't brick-like, you'd best look elsewhere. It was gluten that did the rising, and I wasn't very good at harnessing it. So perhaps a gluten-free bread will prove to be my ... uh, what's the opposite of a downfall? I don't want to say uprising--that sounds too revolutionary (though very bread-appropriate).

Still, it's the accoutrements of bread-making that makes one jealous, envious, and slightly depressed. Look at this, and this, and this!! Oh, how I long just to need them! But what I really need is just another non-stick bread pan. I still need to do the de-glutenizing kitchen re-do, so I need less time at artisan bread websites at more time at Target.

Did I ever mention I bought a $300 stand mixer with a bread hook that I haven't used once? Did you know you can get a bread machine for $5 at a garage sale, put it on the dough setting, and have it do all the work for you? Craig's List, here I come.

I know I'm an expert griper. I actually don't think my life's that hard. It's just that I used to imagine myself as an expert bread maker, and now seeing all the awesome things available to expert bread makers and knowing that I can't eat that bread is a little disheartening. But griping is more amusing than coming onto the Loquat and saying, "There's lots of nice things in the world, but my life is great." That would definitely keep you coming back to this piece-of-garbage blog. My life isn't great: It's very frustrating, annoying, and different right now. But I feel like I could find joy in gluten-free bread baking if I'd just shut my big ol' complainy yap and give it a try. No, it won't rise like wheat bread, but perhaps it'll rise more than the housebuilding material I passed off for bread so often. There's always hope that I'll work better with xanthan gum than I did with gluten (both externally and internally).

Here's to Hope, gentle readers.

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