Week 3

Week 3: The Wonders of Yeast and Bread Universally Shared Throughout Time

For Week 3, I investigated the wonders of yeast by baking my own bread in my kitchen. I used the YouTube recipe provided by this class.

At first, I was nervous because I had never made "raw" bread before. I had made banana bread before, but this was a completely different recipe. When I make banana bread, I don't knead the bread by hand (or at all) or use instant yeast. This was a completely new experience for me. Because I did not have measuring tools for the very specific measurements such as for the 1/4 tsp, I eyeballed the tiny measurements. 

Week 3 - The Bread Chronicles

Admittedly, I was slightly intimidated by this bread project. I don't have a lot of experience with cooking or baking, as it's not much of a tradition in my family. I've sort of compiled in this documentary of all my attempts to make bread and the various thoughts that bounced around in my head as I was going through this process.

In the first attempt, I had just opted to use whatever ingredients we had lying around in our kitchen. Though it was a simple recipe, I was quite nervous that I would somehow still mess it up.

Human Selection vs. GMO

Unfortunately, I don’t have access to an oven to bake bread. The focus of this blog will be on the concepts of genetically modifying grains both through natural selection and laboratory methods. Grains refer to edible seeds of grasses from Gramineae family. Grains have contributed greatly in human history as they allowed humanity to survive and depend on alternative forms of food. The establishment of agriculture directly driven by the identification and utilization of grains enabled humanity to establish camps that eventually morphed into settlements and eventually cities.

Bread Day

This weekend, I set out to bake my bread. I had only baked bread once before and that was during the beginning of quarantine when bread baking suddenly became a super popular hobby with all the extra time at home. However, since last year, I have not made any more attempts even though my bread turned out really well last time. 

Kneading more than bread

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to ration my experience through the bread-making process, because of the fact I wasn’t able to access a kitchen - yet. I am able to access one tomorrow, and plan on updating my blog to hopefully experience the process first-hand. However, I haven’t delved into baking or bread making in my entire lifetime.

Week 3 Bread making

I moved to LA for spring quarter and when I moved in I was celebrating Passover so I did not buy any bread. I bought my first loaf of bread since moving here last week because my initial groceries lasted me two weeks but they were missing bread. Now that I have been living here for almost a month it was really interesting to make bread in the kitchen I had been breaking matzah in just two weeks earlier. 

 

No Need to Knead

I used to make bread with my mom all the time. We'd make dinner rolls, pizza crusts, cinnamon rolls, and use a variety of different flours and ingredients, but we always used a bread machine. We'd dump the ingredients into the pail, put it in the bread machine, and press start. I never really knew how it worked - how some flour and water turned into the sticky dough that emerged in a few hours. I never knew the significance of bread to global culture and human advancement until this week's assigned readings and videos.

Biotechnology and Art - The Gross Biology in Baking Bread

The first step in beginning this project was procuring the ingredients - my Mom was on her way to the grocery store regardless and picked up yeast - the one ingredient which we didn't have. When she heard that I was making bread, she suggested I use a recipe of her's for making challah, a popular bread in Asheknasi Jewish culture. 

After some time I was ready to start, and lined up all of my ingredients. 

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