Oh dough

8/03/2016 10:52:00 pm

When you find yourself in a far away place, with an outside temperature approximating that of the underworld (only more humid), you gotta have a focus in life.

I have a few options, given that uni started again last week and I have only 2 (of 48) units to go before I finish the longest Master's degree known to man, but you know.... I don't really feel like reading up about health economics right now, so I've chosen hobbies over studies.

Specifically, baking.

My By the Book challenge has stalled. I don't want to say failed, but there hasn't been a great deal of cooking going on simply because I don't have any pots or pans, and my KitchenAid is not going to arrive until September. I had thought that the KitchenAid (and the pots and pans) was floating towards me on the Indian Ocean, but it is, in fact, on a dock in Perth, patiently awaiting a ship heading towards the UAE.

September. September. Come September I will have all the things.  I will have my sewing machine again, so that I can put it in the bookshelf, look at it, and think about all the things that I might make one day. I will have the miniature kiln that I never got around to using. I might use it to make a miniature dish. Ohhhh and we'll have all our camping gear, so that we can imagine driving out into the dunes (in the car that we might buy at some point in the future) and setting up a glamorous camp in the desert, complete with a turkish rugs and an ottoman. I don't think we will need the goretex overpants.

I do have this awesome af measuring jug, purchased from an antique store in Arles that sold mainly loose stoppers from long-gone spirit decanters and spoons. Lots of spoons. Anyway, it has dry measurements for all different things around it, so next time I need to measure 200gm of semoule, cacao or riz I'm all set. 

I do have a couple of cookbooks with me and a lot of free time though, so I had a crack at pizza dough the other day.

A few thoughts: it is very difficult to find yeast in the supermarket when you don't know where to look, and I think I will wait until I have my KitchenAid before trying again. Too much effort kneading when you know that a dough hook could do it for you.

I haven't yet made a dough that turned out right. It's always too bland, or the texture is wrong, or in this case, the taste was too yeasty.  After some googling, I think that my choice to rise the dough out on the balcony was perhaps a contributor. The airconditioning is set to arctic, and so I thought it would be too cold for the dough to rise. Instead, I made a little cover from clingwrap, pegged on the bowl, and put the dough in a shady spot outside. But this may have been too hot, causing the yeast to go crazy. After spending some time out there myself, I fully understand.

Also, when the instructions say that you can tightly wrap the dough after the first rising and put it in the fridge to use later, do not believe them. It will keep rising, even though it is in the fridge, and then the dough will start to extrude itself all through the fridge door. Just put it in a baggie, and give it room to grow.

Like something from Ghostbusters. The clingfilm was no match for the power of the yeasts. 

And speaking of room to grow, look at my little container garden, off to a good start. It's amazing what you can do with empty water bottles, a leatherman, and more spare time than you ever had before. Ever in your life.

The version with a drip-down irrigation system failed almost instantly, but the self-watering ones seem to be doing ok.

So many hobbies right now.

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