I love bread- I could try gourmet breads, butters, spreads, and cheeses for weeks and be content. Carbohydrates are my weakness; that’s why when I heard we were baking fresh bread in our freshman seminar course, I couldn’t contain my excitement. I was surprised to find that we were essentially making pan-fried bread; the funny thing is, I’m even more familiar with this quicker baking method because of my Indian heritage. I’ve grown up watching my grandmother’s quick and nimble fingers poking and flipping naan on a hot pan, secretly being amazed at her seemingly heat-resistant skin. Mixing the actual dough was easy enough (I bake cookies and brownies quite often at home), but determining when to flip the bread and how to avoid burns proved to be more difficult. Unfortunately for my future self, I enjoy quite a bit of salt in my diet, so I insisted that our group add salt to our dough (which, we all agreed, turned out to be a good idea). I was delighted to find that our bread was actually very tasty! We experimented further by smothering it in olive oil, caramelizing sugar on top, or drizzling honey over it, all of which worked pretty well. We also tried different shapes (I even made a pretzel), that were not as successful but definitely made the experiment more fun. All in all, the bread-making exercise was an intellectually and physically filling experiment (that ended up being my lunch for the day… freshman 15 here I come!). I have no complaints about the class- it was obviously my favorite one all semester!
– Isha Kawatra