How Many People Does it Take to Bake Bread

Nearly everyone in the house apparently

Photo by Anu Anniah

We are a family who has never baked. Heck! We don’t even own an oven.

But Covid-times are different times. Everything has changed.

We are busy looking up all kinds of recipes and cooking up a storm. And attempting to boldly go where this family has never gone before!

One recent discovery has brought us much pleasure.

We have discovered the next best thing to fire. Sliced wheat bread! Home-made! Oven-less! Yeast-less!

With just wheat, milk, oil, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and a pressure cooker, we can apparently make yummy fresh bread at home!

Having made this discovery, we made haste to bake.

Who is the Head Chef?

The teen decided that it was her project. She was the master chef. I was merely an assistant. Beats me why she thought that. She hadn’t even gone through the recipe.

So the teen and I started. Since she was chief baker, she asked me to gather all the ingredients and went off to catch another bit of The Big Bang Theory. The series could not be abandoned since people were getting engaged, and babies were being born. If she came away, they might have to wait, and that would not be polite, would it? That was her argument anyway!

I assembled the ingredients and was going about the next steps. The teen burst into the kitchen and accused me of baking without her. A small scream-fest later, baking preparations resumed.

All the ingredients had to be measured and put into a bowl. Suddenly, the teen wanted to take over. I was relegated to measuring out the ingredients while she smartly tipped the spoon into the bowl.

It was time to mix them all. The teen had spent the summer growing her nails into a nice length. Mixing the dough by hand would involve scraping the dough out of the nails later. How gross is that! She quickly backed off, and before I knew it, I was the ‘poor and the kneady’!

The Beast Called Yeast

Around this time, the husband sauntered in to offer his expert advice.

Don’t forget that none of us have ever baked a thing in our life.

He wondered why we were not using yeast to bake. I told him this was yeastless bread. He again wondered why. I told him this was the easiest recipe we found. Then we proceeded to have an argument about why it was better to use yeast. The teen chimed in by saying we could add yeast even at this stage.

Somewhere between all this, I lost it and hollered that if they both were such experts, they should just take over, and I could go chill and watch TV. There was a stony silence followed by the husband exiting the kitchen.

I kneaded the dough and added some spices to spice up the bread. Again, the teen insisted on measuring out the spices. However, I was the assigned one to get my hand all sticky. Carefully cultivated long nails, remember?

The dough was kneaded, and the lucky thing got to rest for some time. I didn’t have such luck. I had to make coffee while it rested.

Bake it Already!!!

The teen had gone back to deliver the second baby of Howard and Bernadette (The Big Bang Theory)! Hmph! People were having babies in the time we were taking to bake some bread!

Meanwhile, the husband couldn’t keep away from the scene of such excitement for long. He was back to lend his expertise to assemble the makeshift cooker oven. Apparently, ever since I confessed to some discomfort with Maths and such like when it comes to cooking, the family thinks they have to help me with everything.

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The cooker was heated, the tray was greased, and the dough was ready. Or so I thought. The expert baker husband inspected the dough and commented that the dough had not yet risen. He pointed to the YouTube video we were referring to and noted how much the dough had risen in that one.

He felt we need to give our dough some more rest. The teen was anxious. She was hungry and salivating for the warm bread. I felt the dough had rested enough, and it must now get to work and rise to the occasion!

Another scream-fest where no one heard anything the other was saying.

By this time, I was very worried that all the commotion would cause the inlaws also to appear at the scene. Since none of us were qualified bakers, nothing could stop them both from giving their little bit of advice. After all, the mother-in-law knew a thing or two about pressure cookers!

Luckily, things accelerated fast, and the teen won by virtue of having the shrillest voice. We had to stop and do as told. We put the dough in the cooker.

The recipe told us that we had to wait for half an hour to see the magic of dough turning into bread. We noted the start time and went about our business.

None of us remembered to check at the end of half an hour. It was a classic case of ‘someone else is responsible for this step’.

I remembered at the 40th minute and screamed and ran to check on the poor bread. Was it still bread or was it burnt to cinders?

We are the Bread Winners!

We were lucky. In spite of the high drama, the poor bread had turned out pretty well. It was sitting there looking smug and golden brown and smelling delicious.

At the speed of light, a plate was brought, pictures of the bread were taken from different angles (I swear I thought the bread turned a little pink under the glare of the flashlights), and sent off to various friends.

Our first ever baking project was now termed a super success.

I shudder to think of the next one…now that all of us are actually experts…

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