Sunday, October 14, 2007

Bread and Circus

"Bread and Circus" is a phrase that comes from ancient Rome. It refers to government programs that supplied free food and entertainment to citizens in order to distract them from more important political issues.

I participated in a class through the Experimental College on campus entitled "Bread and Circus," which took the words a bit more literally. We baked bread, and while we waited for it to rise we played; baking pies, running around outside on the grass, making cookies and pretzels, and dancing to African music. It was a fabulous Saturday activity, and I finally learned how to make bread that isn't a brick (see post from a few months ago).

My friend Ian was teaching the class, and he taught us the basic chemistry involved in bread making. Something I never realized is that the most successful bread has really long chains of gluten, which stretch and hold in the carbon dioxide created by the yeast. So in order to get the longest strands of gluten, you have to avoid any actions that will "cut" through the dough. This is why your mixing and kneading technique is so important.

We had all sorts of yummy things to put into the bread - nuts and grains and garlic, etc. I used poppy seeds in mine.

The dough in the bottom right corner of the picture above was made by me!

There it is again, in the center of the three loaves on the right of the picture. It has an E on it, because I thought I was being funny.

OMG, it's not a brick!

Mmmm, tasty.

Ooo, I just realized that this is my 100th post!


muffintop said...

Happy 100th!
Nice to have you posting more often, and clever you, you "found" me. ;)

This bread event sounds soooo wonderful.

Felicia said...

Wow, that looks delicious!

Nicole said...

That breakfast looks very wonderful- especially that incredibly non-brick-like bread! Hooray for non-brick-like bread!