Saturday, October 25, 2008

If you need me, I'm in the bread box

... and it's a seriously cute bread box: vintage 50s Lustroware in red and cream. But I digress.

Around this time last year, I became completely obsessed with all things kitchen. I replaced just about every cooking pot and tool in there and started asking questions about how ingredients work together to make magic in the oven.

A cooking-expert friend recommended a possible book that led me to a shortlist of three. The very best and most exhaustive one is Harold McGee's On Food and Cooking. It's too scientific for everyday use in my house, though. I liked my friend's recommendation--Regan Daley's In the Sweet Kitchen, which I had to buy for her chocolate recommendations alone. But the one that I chose to help me understand what I want to know is Shirley Corriher's Cookwise.

Today's Cookwise discovery: sugar is not in bread recipes to feed the yeast! In fact, it's got stuff in it that kills yeast. You can only pair about 2 tablespoons of sugar with one cup of flour, and sometimes honey kills yeast outright, depending on the nectar that's gone into it. Which answers my question about substituting honey for sugar in today's batch of bread. (no.)


Kathleen Taylor said...

That's interesting about the sugar/honey/yeast connection because with winemaking, you need tons of sugar (or honey for mead)to feed the yeast (alcohol is actually yeast poop. So mead is really made from bee barf and the result is yeast poop, but I digress).

But you don't want your bread to get your drunk. And you don't want it taking over your kitchen either, so killing it eventually is probably a good idea.

Mary Keenan said...

So sugar must be food after all, and yeast as subject to the perils of overeating as the rest of us? And maybe the flour makes a difference too... must look that up as well.

How nice to be a bee and have even your barf admired by others ;^)