Posts Tagged ‘ 60-40 ’

Back to Bread….

Well, I’ve had a rather long hiatus. Mostly due to my own laziness. I blame it on the heat. I’ve skipped continents again, and am now writing from Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Yes, that’s in Asia.

My location has a lot to do with the theme of this entry. Having spent considerable amounts of time in two different Asian countries, and conversed with many an expat, I’ve come to the conclusion that proper whole wheat bread is really hard to find in this corner of the globe. The whole concept of eating bread, as opposed to rice or noodles or root veggies is still relatively new to  Cambodians, and so the selection around town is pretty dire.

Most Cambodian bakeries I have frequented don’t bake anything remotely similar to whole wheat bread. Some expat-minded grocery stores have what we’d call in North America 60-40… a mix of white and whole wheat flour. So, unless you are willing to cross town and dish out an extra dollar or two for a whole wheat loaf at a European bakery, you’re more or less stuck.

Enter our breadmaker. Now, we’ve had this little Panasonic bread maker for a couple of years, ever since a family friend moving back to the U.S. gave it to us, as they could no longer use it because of the difference in electric current. Despite my mother’s excitement, it sat unused in a pantry under our stairs for two years. Who could blame her? We were spoiled in Europe, as good fresh bread was basically a staple at our local grocery store.

Our move to Cambodia finally put us in such a desperate, breadless situation that I decided to see what this whole breadmaker thing was about. I’m still experimenting a lot with bread, and trying to understand the relationship between salt, sugar and yeast, so I’m not quite ready to start inventing my own stuff. I’m not quite ready for the heartbreak of an unleavened loaf just yet.

I found this great basic recipe on allrecipes.com, and tweaked it a little. I bought wholemeal grains… basically the ‘wheat’ part of whole wheat flour that you would usually buy in the west, and mixed it in with white flour to create whole wheat flour. I put in about 1.5 cups of wholemeal and then add in white flour until I have 3 cups of the mix. This usually comes to about 425-450g, which is important because you need to have the right amount of yeast, and because breadmakers usually have a maximum amount of flour you can put in. Ours has a max of 500g.

Anyway, the bread was a success! It’s very soft, slices well, and is great as sandwich bread. I usually make a loaf or two a week, depending on how fast my family eats it. I have to say, as a foodie, the most exciting part of baking the bread is the smell that fills the kitchen… and of course, cutting that first slice of the loaf. Yum yum!

In time, I want to try my hand at brioche and foccacia. Stay tuned for more breads soon, I hope.