Bread Basics

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Have you ever noticed that some sandwiches are really hard to eat? Have you noticed how some breads are tough, stretchy and gummy-like? If you haven’t noticed any of these things, then please go put a slice of bread in the microwave for one minute and eat it.. Or go grab a sandwich from Costa Coffee; same thing.

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I have recently had the privilege of tasting some sandwiches at Copenhagen (Zamalek). This little deli & dessert place on the 26th of July street is a force to be reckoned with! I ordered a Smoked Salmon Sandwich and was given just that. As I casually picked up the sandwich and took the first bite, something happened…! My eyes were the size of glowing tennis balls and I just couldn’t hide my total bedazzlement with the fluff I had just bitten into. Luckily, the owner got to witness my sheer pleasure as he was standing right in front of me when ‘it happened’.

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Here’s a little background story for you: I have lots of varied and serious dental health issues. My front teeth do not close tightly enough for me to be able to cut through food like most people can. But just for your information, no food should every be tough enough for you to need to use your incisors repeatedly to cut through it. In fact, that is how I would determine the quality of the meat I am eating. If it requires more than two to three bites to sever into two pieces, then it’s probably a cheap cut. Enough about my personal disabilities and let’s get back to the main topic of bread.

 

Making bread is not just a matter of mixing some ingredients together and throwing them into the oven. It is actually one of the finest arts of baking. Some of the reasons that could affect the softness/toughness of the end-product is the type of flour, the kneading process and the proofing of the dough. Without getting too technical, you need to know what the fuck you are doing if you want to makeย quality bread! If the recipe calls for Italian double zero flour and two hours of proofing, then you can’t use all-purpose flour and proof the dough for 10 minutes. Yeast doughs are known to be incredibly sticky, and the biggest mistake you can ever make is to add more flour to try and counter the stickiness. This will absolutely and surely leave you with a loaf of chewing gum at the end. Copenhagen among just a handful of other places here in Egypt, seem to have cracked the bread code. I hope other establishments will watch and learn, as I would gladly pay an extra few pounds just to be sure that I will not humiliate my teeth with an unprofessionally made sandwich.

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The desserts at Copenhagen were rich with flavors of fine ingredients and beautifully executed. I highly recommend the Sweet Potato Pudding jar as it was the cause of a mental explosion of joy. I also opted for a caramel cappuccino to help me wash downย the sinful crimes I had committed and the froth was thick and creamy yet fully aerated… just the way it should be!

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