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68 (Baking | パン・お菓子作り)

November 13, 2010

Baking goods in Israel | イスラエルのパン・お菓子作りの材料

We became unexpected owners of an oven a few weeks ago. One of our neighbors who usually never acknowledges us barked something at Yuval as we were walking by. A brief dialogue followed, ending with Yuval turning to me and saying, “He’s giving us his old oven!” I actually had my eyes on the oven that had been abandoned outside for a few days, so I was more than thrilled!

Now I must admit that my interest for cooking started rather late. I’ve always loved and savored food, but not nearly as enthusiastic about cooking until maybe the last 10 or so years. And even then my few attempts towards trying a recipe often ended in a disaster or near disaster. So I’d say my enthusiasm towards cooking have been more or less from the sidelines, or the observant kind. (I’m always reading about recipes but rarely trying them.) Also during those 10 or so years I never had a decent oven. Many recipes that caught my eye had been put in the “when I have an oven some day” pile. And then one day, unexpectedly, I had an oven.

The first thing I wanted to make was banana bread, because first of all it is one of my favorite baked goods, and also because I had very ripe bananas on hand. I recalled the one time I had made banana bread with a former roommate in San Francisco who was a fabulous cook. We barely followed a recipe she found in an old cookbook that had browned page corners and no photos let alone drawings. It came out wonderfully, and I wanted to slip in to baking like that experience, fun, easy, with delicious results. I also told a few friends at the ulpan that I was going to try making banana bread. They both responded enthusiastically.

“Banana bread is so good and also one of the most easiest things to bake!” said one of them, a frequent baker.

“I love banana bread… and it’s almost impossible to screw it up, even if your measurements are a bit off!” said the other, whose mom bakes weekly.

Great! I thought to myself, already daydreaming of eating a perfect, warm banana bread fresh out of the oven.

数週間前のある日のこと。突然オーブンを頂くことになりました。帰宅途中、普段は挨拶すらしてくれない近所の人がユバルに向かって何か言いました(日本人の私には怒鳴るように聞こえましたがイスラエル人の基準だと普通)。ちょっとしたやりとりの後、ユバルが私に向かって、「古いオーブンをくれるんだって!」と。私は実は外に放置状態だったオーブンに数日前から目をつけていて、近所の人に聞こうと思っていたのです!

実は私は料理は苦手。食べることは大好きだし得意ですが(笑)。でも約10年ぐらい前から料理に関心は持ち始めたのです。それでも何度かトライしたレシピはほとんど失敗に終わり、モチベーションはあまり上がることはありませんでした(仕事上あまり時間もなかったし、、、って言い訳??)。ですので、私の料理に対する熱意というか意欲はスポーツ競技で例えればベンチ側からというか、遠いところからおとなしく見守っているような状態でした(レシピはいつも読んでいるけれど実際料理することはほとんどなし。)また、この約10年間の間、ちゃんとしたオーブンを持ったことがなかったのです。オーブンを使用するレシピをみるといつも「いつかオーブンの持ち主になった時のため」の山に積んでいました。そしたらある日突然、オーブンの持ち主になりました。

まず最初につくってみようと思ったのがバナナ・ブレッド。大好物だし、熟れ過ぎ直前のバナナがあったからです。いつもバナナ・ブレッドで思い出すのはサンフランシスコに住んでいた時のルームメイトとつくった時の思い出。彼女はとても料理が上手でした。彼女が見つけてきた、ページの角が茶色くなっていて写真はもちろん絵すらのっていない古い料理本のレシピを、なんとな〜く頼りにつくったらとてもおいしかったのです。私のお菓子作り入門体験はこのように簡単で、楽しくて、しかも結果はおいしいといいな〜、、、なんて思っていました。

ウルパンで友達にバナナ・ブレッドをつくる予定を話したら、予想以上にあたたかい反応が。

「バナナ・ブレッドはとても簡単だよ!しかもすごいおいしいし!」と、頻繁にお菓子やパンをつくる友達は言いました。

「バナナ・ブレッド大好き〜。それに、失敗は不可能に近いよ!量り方が適当でもね!」と、お母さんが大のお菓子作りの友達。

なおさらつくるのが楽しみになり、焼きたてのおいしそ〜うなバナナ・ブレッドを食べるのを思わず想像してしまいました。

Our adopted oven | 頂いたオーブン

I hit my first obstacle in the small kibbutz grocery store. “All purpose flour”, “unsalted butter”, “baking powder”… As I stood in front of multiple types of flour, I realized these were not exactly the most common words to know in a foreign language (or the kind of words we have learned in the ulpan). I made another trip to the store with Yuval a few hours later.

The second obstacle came when it was time to preheat the oven. The temperature came in the form of single digit settings, which we had no clue what was what. I searched online for a manual (a former colleague found the manual to an old 35mm camera easily over 30 years old for me once) but to no avail. We had no choice but to guess and before I knew it the top of the bread was burning. But the fork I put through the bread came out all sticky. We ended up nibbling the outside of the bread and throwing out the gooey rest.

I learned later on that the flour Yuval helped me choose was actually “whole wheat flour”, while my recipe called for all-purpose flour. Yuval apparently told me that it was whole wheat, but I guess I missed that part and only heard him say, “It’s healthier,” upon which I grabbed the bag. (And as you baking experts out there probably know something like this makes a big difference.)

まず最初に打ちあたった壁はキブツのスーパー内。「中力粉」「無塩バター」「ベーキング・パウダー」、、、数種類の小麦粉を目の前にして初めて、これらって外国語で通常習うような言葉ではない、、、と気付きました。数時間後ユバルとスーパーにまた来ることに。

次に打ちあたった壁はオーブンを予熱する時。頂いたオーブンの温度設定は実際の温度ではなく一桁のタイプ。ネットでマニュアルを探してみましたが(以前、会社の同僚が最低30年以上前に発売された35ミリカメラのマニュアルを見つけてくれたこともあったし)見つからず。結局あてずっぽうでつくる以外なく、あっと言う間にケーキの表面は焦げ始めました。でも中身にフォークを通すとまだまだ生の状態。外の焦げた部分をちょびちょびかじる以外は食べられませんでした。

また後で気付いたのはユバルが一緒に選んだくれた小麦粉は実は「全粒小麦粉」だったこと(レシピは「中力粉」)。ユバルは「これは全粒小麦粉だよ」と言ったみたいですが私はその後に言ったであろう「これはどちらかと言うとヘルシーだよ」に飛びついてしまったようです。(お菓子作りをされる方はご存知だと思いますが、この二種類、かなり結果が異なるようです)

The second try | 二度目の挑戦

A few days later, this time with the right flour and a tiny bit of wisdom gained, I tried again. And still, the top started to burn. Whoever said there’s really no way to screw up banana bread?? But it tasted pretty good, despite the deceiving looks. (Next time I’ll try covering the top with foil. Any other advice??)

And that’s my first baking experience here in Israel, and well, basically my whole life. Not as smooth and “fun and easy” as I had hoped, but I’m not discouraged yet.

(I actually started this entry many days ago – and since then I baked a batch of chocolate chip cookies and a lemon cake. The cookies came out much flatter than I had hoped, but they tasted great. The cake came out nearly perfect! Baking is fun… and fattening if I’m not careful!)

数日後、今度は「中力粉」を手に、また前の失敗体験をもとに、再挑戦しました。それでもまた、表面が焦げ始めました。バナナ・ブレッドはほとんど失敗しないと言ったのは誰〜??でも見た目は悪いけど味はなかなかいけました。(次回は表面をホイルで覆ってみようと思います。他にアドバイスがあったら教えてください!)

これが私のイスラエルでの、そして人生初のお菓子作り体験でした。期待していた「簡単で、楽しい」経験からはほど遠い内容でしたがまだくじけていません。

(実はこのエントリーはだいぶ前に書き始めたもの。バナナ・ブレッド以来、チョコチップ・クッキーとレモン・ケーキをつくってみました。クッキーはかなりぺちゃんこでしたが味は最高。レモン・ケーキはほぼ完璧!お菓子作りって楽しい!でも気をつけないとぶくぶく太ってしまう、、、)

Much love,
Kaori

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Abby permalink
    November 14, 2010 5:21 am

    I think your oven temp may still be too high. Try lower temp for longer. Here is a good banana bread recipe: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Banana-Banana-Bread/Detail.aspx

    I do half whole wheat half white flour to make it healthier. You can also substitute apple sauce for butter or oil to make it healthier…not as decadent but still goos.

    Happy baking!!

    xoxoxo

    • November 14, 2010 3:40 pm

      That recipe looks good, will try it next time! and will lower the oven temp too. Thanks for the tips Abbs!

      I think it will be a while before I start alternating recipes to make them healthier. For one because I don’t know baking enough to guess how much is okay to alternate, and second because I’m enjoying the straight up, too-much-sugar-and-butter-but-oh-so-good recipes right now. I’m just happy to be baking my own sweets instead of buying them off the counter with all the preservatives and other mysterious ingredients! But I will get there… some time!🙂

  2. sammi permalink
    November 20, 2010 6:14 pm

    Kaori, I am still smiling about your baking attemts with this old oven. It is intersting that banana bread should be the one you started with and had so much trouble with. I too love banana bread, as do the girls. I was baking a loaf not long ago, late at night. I fell asleep on the sofa and missed the timer. The bread baked for hours, and when I smelled the burning bread I was glad I hadn’t started a fire! Anyway, I could not get it out of the pan, so I but the pan in the sink and filled it with water to soak. The next morning the bread, (which had gone very flat in the burning oven) had plumped up and looked good! The water had completely soaked into the bread, leaving no trace of water behind. Carolyn didn’t realize what had happened and thought I must have just set the pan in the sink to cool. (?) She got quite a surprise when she tried to cut a piece. The bread was like a soaked sponge, and the water spurted out! All very funny!

    Good luck with the oven. You could get a temperature gauge at the hardware or appliance store to calibrate the temp. in your oven, so you will know where your settings are. Sending you much love! Sammi

    • November 20, 2010 7:53 pm

      Sammi, what a story! I’m still laughing. What a surprise for Carolyn!🙂 Would love to know your recipe? Do you send baked goodies in care packages to Sarah in college? Those are the best!

      I actually baked a lemon poppy seed cake today and it came out pretty terrific! I think I’m getting the hang of our lovely oven, although I’ve been meaning to get that thermometer. I’m kind of enjoying guessing and playing with the oven but probably won’t when I actually have to cook for guests one day!

      Much love to you and your family too!

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