Well, duh! Of course ingredients matter. The quality matters. It affects the nature and quality of the end result. This is always true but most acutely noticeable when the number of ingredients in a recipe amounts to a mere handful.
Take your basic loaf of bread, for instance, which has some flour, some liquid material, some raising agents, and not a lot else. The taste and texture of your bread will have rather a lot to do with the flour you use. Rocket science this ain’t (and I should know, I used to work for rocket scientists!). So, for a 100% wholewheat soda loaf, you would do very well to use a nice, coarsely milled soft wheat flour. For me that means Abbey Stoneground.
It happens every time I go to the Asia Market. I can never restrict my purchases to those items on my pre-scribbled list. My eyes wander the shelves and I invariably leave laden with bags of beans, nuts, rice, lentils, tins of coconut milk, assorted Asian vegetables, various spices and who-knows-what-else, when all I really went in for was some ginger.
This time, I was hunting the shelves for cashew nuts, but something else entirely caught my eye…
Just some of the bunch...
Uh oh. The latest rash of flour purchases has finally pushed (the contents of) the baking cupboard over the edge. Jostling for position on the top shelf now are all of the following:
- plain white flour
- self-raising flour
- strong white bread flour
- wholewheat flour
- rye flour
- buckwheat flour
- 2 different kinds of maize flour
- corn starch
- tapioca starch
- rice flour
- manioc flour
- chickpea flour
…not to mention the cornmeal, oatmeal and 5 different kinds of sugar. Ok, so it’s not quite the equivalent of Imelda Marcos and her shoe fetish but it does tell me that I need to get to work further down the baking production line!