Throwing stuff at the internet to see what sticks
Sunday, March 28, 2010 Flour Child
After my last entry about a bread maker, my sister DeBitch the Elder gave us hers. It works much better than our last one; a perfect loaf every time. We love it. And so, it seems, do the people with whom we share its output. It's possible they're just being polite, but last week when the neighbors up the street invited us to dinner and we brought along a loaf like the one we made last time we dined together, they didn't seem merely pleased, but relieved.
So it's not like we make our own bread just to be cheap. If that were the case, we wouldn't also be buying bread in the store. And even if we weren't, bread ingredients add up in cost as well. Or at least they would, if I hadn't realized a while ago that all the different recipes pretty much taste the same and I might as well just stick with the one that uses water, sugar, bread flour, and yeast.
Still, that bread flour and yeast isn't cheap. Or at least it didn't used to be. Yeast, of course, comes in a tiny little envelope that never contains the exact amount you need, so you always have to either tape a corner down or balance the open envelope upright in the pantry. And they're expensive for the amount you get in those little envelopes, but I suppose you're buying tiny little creatures, after all. Which must be how they're able to tip over their little envelope and escape from the pantry.
Then there's the bread flour. Regular flour doesn't work, for some reason. I've tried it; instead of a loaf of bread, you get a large, brittle, bucket-shaped cracker that tastes like feet.
Eventually, though,. Trash figured out that you can buy yeast in bulk at Costco. It comes in a vacuum-sealed brick, and although we opened it sometime last year, we haven't made a visible dent in it. The only downside is my fear that someday all those little creatures might realize they outnumber us and launch an uprising.
The bread flour, however, continues to be an issue. I've resisted her suggestion to buy Costco bread flour, because it only comes in fifty-pound bags and we're not a bakery. I figured that storing fifty pounds of anything edible in our house was the equivalent of putting up one of those multi-beam searchlights, only but for bugs. But the other day, when I was making a Costco run, she stated her position again. I think she had convinced herself that a 25-pound bag was available. She also made the point that we'd gone through a five-pound bag in less than a month, which I had to confess was a good one.
But then I got to the store and saw the bread flour, which, as I remembered, only came in the fifty-pound size. To give Trash an idea of the scale of fifty pounds of flour, I sent her a picture, with the only item of recognizable size I could immediately lay hands on:
Even then I don't think she got it, because at first she thought it was M. Edium's shoe instead of mine. Even though he wasn't with me at the time. And lest you think that you still can't determine the scale without knowing my shoe size, I should mention that just today, Trash made a charming reference to my "canoe feet."
Speaking of M. Edium, he was quite amazed when he got home later and found this massive sack of flour taking up most of our kitchen table. Sometimes, when he's being particularly fractious, Trash will tell me to pick him up like a sack of flour. And now here he was, next to a sack of flour that was almost exactly his weight.
I scooped one of them up in each arm and held them that way for a moment. It turns out that fifty pounds of human feels lighter than fifty pounds of flour, not least because the human knows how to hang on. I mean, I guess the flour does too, but in a different way and only if the bag is open. M. Edium thought this was hilarious. The flour, however, seemed indifferent.
He was fascinated. He kept wanting to get on the table with it and move it around and try to pick it up, which obviously I knew could only end badly. One might almost say he bonded with it. I think if I had let him, he would have tried to shape it into his own likeness.
There have been times when M. Edium has agitated for a sibling. I think he realized that this is probably as close as he's going to get. posted by M. Giant 10:29 PM 4 comments
The best place to store flour in large quantities is in the freezer. It keeps the bugs away. It's easier if you portion it first into 5lb containers. Also for pantry storage the buckets they use at bakeries are airtight and you can usually get them for free from any restaurant/bakery
Bay leaves. Don't know why, but a couple of bay leaves in the open bag or container in your pantry will discourage bugs.
You should also keep your yeast in the freezer.
Now that you already have your life-time supply of bread flour, this suggestion is too late, but you can make your own bread flour. The main difference between all-purpose flour and bread flour is that bread flour has more gluten in it. Add 1 T of gluten flour to 1cup of all-purpose flour. The gluten flour may last as long as the Giant Bag O' Bread Flour, but it doesn't weigh 50 lbs.