things to do with flour

I find it interesting to look at baking recipes and deconstruct them. During the times when I found myself with the least funds, I made it a bit of a mission to figure out just how far I could go with a bag of flour. it turns out you can go a surprisingly long way…

flour and water
pasta. very simple, make a pile of flour, dig a well into the middle of the pile, add water and begin to stir with a fork. as you stir, flour will begin to be picked up by the water, and as you continue, the mixture will become firmer and firmer until you have a dough. remove the dough from the rest of the flour and knead it a bit until velvety, then wrap it up and rest it for a while. when it’s settled, roll it out and cut it into noodles. cook in boiling water for a couple minutes and voilá, dinner. additionally, if you use more water and end up with a kind of soup, just leave it alone, somewhere warm, for a few days and it will start to bubble. add a bit more flour to thicken it up a bit and let it bubble for a while longer then bake. tada! you’ve made sourdough bread. yeast doesn’t have to come from a jar of packet.
flour, butter, and water
pie crust. simple concept, possibly difficult execution. use a couple of knives or a pastry cutter to cut the butter into the flour. when the butter is all granular, (no piece bigger than a small pea,) add just enough water to get the powder to hold together. the objective here is to add the water and mix it in without causing the flour to develop any gluten it might have. gluten free flours actually win out here… food processors are good for this, but they tend to cut the butter too finely for my tastes. Also puff pastry. actually, between pie crust and what’s generally called mille feuille (thousand leaves) there seem to be an infinite number of variations that all end up doing roughly the same thing. which is to use butter as a way of separating thin layers of flour from each other. I did a more detailed look at puff pastry a couple of months ago.

coming soon, we’ll add an egg…

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