March 1, 2010

Cooking Basics: Dough

For some reason, people freak out with the prospect of having to make a dough.  So, let's demystify the world of dough.

Grind up grains and mix it with water and you get dough.  Add more water and you get a slack dough that won't hold it's shape which can make bread with big holes like foccacia.  Add more water and it turns into batter for pancakes or crepes.  Roll it out, boil it and you get pasta.  Add yeast to a firm dough and you'll get bread.  Pound it flat and you get flatbread.  Let it sit for a few days and you get sourdough.

Contrary to popular belief, it's hard to mess up dough.  After learning the basics, I started making all my own breads, pastas and crackers.

Give this a try...

Mix by hand:

1.5 cups of whole wheat flour
.5 cup of water

This is a 3:1 ratio.  3 parts flour.  1 part water.  This will make a good-old middle-of-the-road dough.  Firm and a little bit tacky... kind of like touching a Post-It note.  Remember what this dough feels like.  You will have this consistency dough for many breads, crackers and pastas.

I will refer to this kind of dough and texture in future posts.

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