As I’ve written before, the bread here in Panama isn’t very good. In fact it’s pretty horrid. I’ve made several attempts at baking my own and they’ve been pretty lame.
A few days ago I tried a “no-knead” recipe. After mixing the ingredients it sure didn’t look like the photos on line. The whole thing was pretty runny but I had followed the recipe to the letter and figured that at the end of the 24 hour period prescribed things would be different. They weren’t it was pretty much like it had been the day before and I ended up throwing the glop in the garbage.
Today I set out to try another recipe. I did make one modification. While it calls for three cups of flour I used two cups of regular flour and one cup of wheat flour. I kneaded the glop until it was smooth like the instructions call for, put it in a covered bowl and waited an hour. It rose beautifully in the bowl. I punched it down and kneaded it a second time as per instructions and put it in the loaf pan to rise for another half hour. Again, it rose beautifully and crowned over the top of the pan.
I slid the thing in the oven and soon the wonderful fragrance of baking bread filled the house. At the appointed time I took the pan out of the oven and “thumped” it getting the hollow sound the instructions said told of a finished loaf. It slid out of the pan and after waiting an interminably long time for it to cool I cut off one of the ends and voila…a real slice of delicious bread. The butter melted into the still warm slice and I topped it with some strawberry preserves…with a name like Smucker’s you know it has to be good. And it was. Next comes tuna salad.
Right now the aroma of baking bread has been replaced by simmering beef as I’m going to try making that Cuban (and Latin American) favorite Ropa Vieja (Old Clothes). I have black beans and plantains to go with the rice. I rarely go wrong with cooking “food.” It’s just the bread that needed practice.