(Edited, old post! :))
Have I written a blog about how everything’s different here? I must have, it’s like my mantra. Everything’s different here. Everything!
Having made several loaves of beautiful bread over christmas – plaited, filled, farmhouse, you name it – I decided to replicate my baked goodness here. I like fresh pita bread, but it’s very sweet and I’m not a huge fan of it. Plus I’ve been trying to bring as much of home to Jordan as I can.
Let’s just say the ingredients didn’t react in the way I’m used to, and I ended up with a rock solid ball made sticky by my desperate/hysterical tears. I can’t do anything here, I’m such a failure, who am I? etc. Needless to say, everything that goes wrong is either ‘Jordan’s fault’ or indicative of my total failure at life. The immigrant life is hard, yo.
(Edit: oh god, did I really type that?)
So, I left it a month and tried again. This time I read the yeast packet properly. Dried yeast, not instant yeast.
I called my mum:
Do you remember how to use proper yeast?
What, like, real yeast?
God, haven’t used that in a decade.
So I spent the next two hours experimenting with a large packet of yeast. I brewed up six bowls, played with temperature, heated the bowl first, wrapped it in a towel, add more sugar etc etc. The kitchen stank like musty armpits.
But huzzah, success. Dough that looked like real dough. I was so happy. I can’t explain the profundity of achieving these little things. These are affirming moments when I’m trying so hard to maintain my sense of self.
The previous dough disaster was due to different yeast, softer flour, and very-virgin olive oil. It’s all a learning process; everything is different.
I made little buns and filled them with soft cheese and za’atar (a herb blend consisting mainly of thyme and sesame seeds) and crouched in front of the oven while they rose up like beauts.
They went down a treat, and now faith is restored that the photos I sent back from the UK were in fact my own creations. I can pat myself on the head and say that I am a functioning human being after all. This must be a common issue – cooking in other countries. Is it? Somebody share their disasters with me, please!