baking bread in the tropics

Multigrain Bread with Almonds

Naturally, part of my baking with yeast challenge is mastering the art of baking bread. I discovered this is no easy task because the humidity of tropical Thailand affects the behavior of the dough. It’s horribly icky-sticky. But I’ve learned that adding additional flour is not the solution. Instead, I’ve patiently scraped and kneaded the dough for 45 minutes hoping for it to magic itself into the storied smooth taut ball. Meh. As a last resort I’ve become an alchemist. I’ve tried reducing the liquid, even substituting bread flour for the all-purpose recommended in the recipe. All to no avail. Now I’ve taken to literally beating the crap out of the dough. It’s a form of baker’s masochism called slap-and-fold. I actually enjoy it. But most of all, I’m learning to appreciate the stubborn features of this nonverbal dough, and how it communicates when it is under-mixed, when it is well-kneaded, and how to tell. I’m still developing this recipe and will share it when I have achieved the texture and crumb that I’m looking for.

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