Thursday, July 1, 2010

Gluten, Kneading, and Writing

A few days ago I made sandwich bread from scratch under the careful, Nazi-like tutelage of my good friend and food buddy.

I learned a few things:

1. Bread takes a long time! Especially if you're no expert kneader, getting the gluten right so that it can pass the windowpane test (stretch the dough gently until it's translucent but unbreaking), is a monstrous task.
        --Well, I should add that it's most difficult for people who aren't "firm but gentle." Which brings me to my next point.
2. Bread takes a long time when you keep tearing the gluten. Rather than working the gluten, letting the mysterious world of chemistry have its way, I kneaded too hard and tore the stuff, which set me back more than a half hour.
3. This is because I'm rough with things!
       --When things don't work - or aren't working fast enough - I get rough... and I realized that this extends to my writing. I delete like crazy. Whole chunks, pages, chapters, stories, books. Write, delete, write, delete.

I wonder if I'm tearing the gluten....