First let me comment on the average Thai kitchen, there isn’t any. No joke, most Thai’s do their eating outside, thus the availability of street stalls, family restaurants, cafes, the odd fast food outlet, and the occasional high end place. It’s just too damn hot to cook in doors, and if Thai’s do cook they have a make shift kitchen which is usually outside.
I do have a kitchen, which consists of a toaster oven, microwave, and convection oven that’s made in China, and that my wife bought cheap. It’s really a bulked up toaster oven–or as I call it a toaster oven on steroids. I bake bake bread in it, which, to the amazement of my friends and co-workers is actually very good.
The one drawback is that I can only make sandwich loaves, though I have experimented with bagels and other types of breads, and my success rate is pretty good.
A few weeks ago I made a green tea loaf–pretty good and a whole wheat and oat sandwich loaf which again, was pretty good–considering what I have to work with. I just can’t get enough self punishment so I continue, fail, have successes, good days, and bad days, but what the hell you only live once and why not bake a few dozen loaves of bread before you take the long dirt nap.
Plus it’s good, and it raises a lot of eyebrows, and I get to hear my Thai wife say “you’ve got powder on your face,” or something like that when I walk into the living room covered in flour. The white bread she likes, the whole wheat and the sourdough she can do without, and refers to these as ‘Farang food” (foreign food).
So the sourdough was good–tasty as it should and was a nice piece of bread, and fun to make, since it kind of brings you back to the old days of making bread. This helps me practice patience, something in short supply in these days of instant gratification gone wild. Slow down, make some bread, enjoy how it feels, and how it smells when it’s baking, and get that mellow, chill feeling when you’re waiting for it to rise, sitting there reading a good book (not the Kindle kind), or just thinking about how good it’s going to taste, take a nap, start that novel, or teach yourself wood carving. Whatever floats your boat.
Ok, so the sourdough bread was simple, the starter, the flour, butter, water, salt, and sugar–basic as basic can get. No yeast, because you made it yourself, or you cultivated it, growing it like something you’d do in a garden, except it’s in your kitchen. The starter lives on! Maybe it will outlive me, sitting in my refrigerator waiting patiently.
p.s.–if you’re in Chiang Mai and want a bit of the living, breathing sourdough starter, just drop me a line and I’ll help you out. Next a whole wheat starter, or maybe a bit of Rye.