Gas Toast – The Preamble
It has been a while since I wrote a recipe. Now, I know, I know, you still haven’t got over the fact that it took you 890 words to get to the actual chicken kebab recipe and it is 2 hours of your life you won’t get back. What? It doesn’t take you 2 hours to read 890 words of flowing, stream of consciousness prose? What’s that? Fifteen? Hours? oh, ok, minutes! So what are you complaining about??
Anyway, here we go, right away into the recipe. ( This has got to be the shortest preamble I’ve written for a post.. I mean, here we are at just about a 100 words and we’re talking about getting into the recipe… I must be losing my touch.)
So what is gas toast, then? To answer this we must go back in time. For this is a highly complex recipe. It uses techniques that have stood the test of time. By which I mean it’s a very old recipe. It must be at least 40 years old. That’s old to a millenial. For someone like me in their early 30s, it’s an aspirational goal. Oh alright… I know you know and I needn’t lie about my age. Got it. Shall we move on? To the recipe? We shall? Orlrighty then!
There are a few things we should set up as prerequisites. Bread, for one. Now bread has existed for centuries. To make real bread, though, you have to have a Facebook account. This is an absolute must. There are other things you need. Let’s list the list of things we need in a little list. Put on some Liszt, straighten up, stop listing to one side and move on to the equipment list, listed below.
- Mixer ( red, a blue one will work too. A pink one? Why do you have a pink mixer?? )
- Loaf pan. I like mine large. I like my slice to be of a half decent size….
- Bowls and things
- 1 tsp (5 mL) granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) water, warm
- 1 envelope (8 g) active dry yeast (2 1/4 tsp/11 mL)
- 1 cup (250 mL) milk, warm
- 2 tbsp (30 mL) butter
- 2 tbsp (30 mL) granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp (7 mL) salt
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) water, warm
- 5 1/2 cups (1375 mL) White Flour
At this point, you’re wondering, “Wow, he is actually giving real, precise quantities!” Very observant, but we’re baking bread and you don’t muck about with ingredients when you’re baking bread. This isn’t okra where you can let your imagination run wild and bung whatever you want and in whatever quantity. This is bread. And bread is the basic ingredient for toast. Check title…. it says “Gas Toast”.
Now for the fun part. The making. Be prepared for mess and a fine layer of flour over most of the kitchen, the cabinet handles, the counter tops, your nose, maybe.
- Find a bowl. Actually, here is a very helpful tip. Use the mixer bowl. You’re welcome. Rinse it in hot water. Pour in 1/2 cup of water. Not cold. Not room temperature. A tad warmer than room temperature. 1 tad = 4.716176 degrees. Celsius. ( There is a prize for guessing that reference to 716-176. Let me know if you know the answer. Hint: Think cartoons… ) Put in 1 teaspoon (5 mL) sugar into it. This is easily accomplished by staring at the contents of open cutlery drawer and the various spoon sizes that lie there. Click tongue in exasperation. Turn to the Bangalan who will say “Aren’t you going to use the measuring spoons and cups that you got with the mixer?” Click tongue in exasperation a second time, find the one marked “1 teaspoon” and scoop 1 level heaping of sugar into the warm water. Sprinkle in the yeast. Ignore it for 10 minutes.
- Find another bowl, much smaller one. In it, pour the milk, butter, 2 tablespoons sugar, salt and 1/2 cup (125 mL) warm water and mix it up a bit. Remember, 2 teaspoons = 1 tablespoon. So you could use the teaspoon measure you used earlier twice. Or find the one marked “1 Tablespoon”. It’s a little larger than the one marked “1 teaspoon”. About double the size, actually.
- Get back to the yeasty mixture and stir it well. Add the milk mixture to it followed by 2 cups (500 mL) flour. Beat with wooden spoon – huh! We have a mixer remember? SO ignore that last step. Put the wooden spoon away. Mount the bowl on the mixture, install the dough beater contraption and mix until you get a smooth and elastic ghastly mess.
- Leave the mixer running as you slowly add in 2 1/2 cups (625 mL) of flour. Take it easy. Add flour until you get a soft lovely dough which leaves the sides of bowl. Clean. Yes, Im serious, the dough will self clean the side of the mixing bowl. It’s a fricking miracle!! Keep mixing until the dough is as smooth as a baby’s bottom and an unsticky one at that. The dough must look smooth and not sticky.
- Find another big bowl. Grease it with butter. The inside walls… Take the ball of dough and gently place in the greased bowl. Turn dough over so the the top is greased top. Cover with parchment paper and tea towel.
- Now the boring bit. Ignore the dough in the bowl and turn your attention to the mess you’ve made. Wash and rinse all the bowls, spatulas, spoons, measuring cups, etc. Wipe down the countertops and all the surfaces that now sport flour.
- Stick it in a warm part of the kitchen away from drafts. Completely ignore the dough for 2-3 hours. That’s usually the time taken for it to blow up into twice it’s size. I’d it doesn’t double up, you’re SOL. Throw it all away, get live yeast and go back to Step 1.
- If nicely doubled, make a fist and punch it till it deflates. Find a board, wooden boards are good. Lightly sprinkle flour on it – the board. To do this, go back to the cupboard, take out the bag of flour you put away neatly in Step 6 and use some of that flour. Now clean up again. Turn the dough out onto the board. If making 2 loaves, divide the dough into 2. Duh! Now just cover the whole thing and let it sit around for about 10-15.58483 minutes.
- Lightly grease the sides of your loaf pan. Carefully, shape the dough into a loaf shape and place seam side down i to pan. Place seam side down in pan. Cover reverently with tea towel.
- Let is sit around again. I know… its a very lazy loaf. It just loafs around, doesn’t it? Quite a loafer. Keep it warm and away from until dough rises 1 1/2″ (3 cm) above top of pan in centre and corners are filled (45 to 60 minutes). If it doesn’t … hmm you may need to go back to Step 1.
- Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C).
- Place loaf pan in lower oven rack. Shut oven door and watch some old BBC Comedies for 25 to 30 minutes. Remember, BBC Comedies. Do not under any circumstance watch CNN!
- Remove from oven using oven mitts. Shake lose from pan immediately onto wire rack. Brush top crust with butter if a soft crust is desired.
- Let it cool.
You have successfully, I think, completed Part I of the Gas Toast Wonderdish.
Stay tuned, Check the blog frequently, read some of the lovely Memoirs, or the “Poetry” – some of it is pretty sombre and some exceedingly silly.
Plus there is other stuff to read.
Don’t be shy!
Gas Toast – Part 2 will be coming to this blog soon!!