Sunday, October 10, 2010

Bread-making at The Center begins

APH in action while volunteer mothers watch to see the techniques in kneading bread dough. More pictures below story.


A Friend of Tembari Children

FINALLY, the crude oven fashioned from roofing sheet material was delivered to The Center last week.

Costing K300, it was fabricated in a workshop operated by a vocational school at Gerehu, a suburb in Port Moresby.

The oven is one of our means to deal with the huge stock of whole meal flour donated by Lae Biscuits. It could take us months to consume the two tons of flour we received. And bugs and weevils would be at it very soon.

One of these means is to bake bread for the daily snack needs of our children. Making bread would also do away with buying the expensive biscuits which we used to serve them for snacks.

And to start the ball rolling, I held a bread-making demo last Saturday for the benefit of volunteer mothers assigned to cook the Tembari children’s meals.

I find it quite inspiring because making bread is one of my favorite hubbies, which I had actually neglected for many, many years – 13 years.

When I first came to Port Moresby 17 years ago, I had a very boring existence. You can imagine Port Moresby during those days as a dead place – and deader on weekends -- for a new comer who was used to living in a noisy, lively city like Metro Manila.

So on Fridays and Saturdays, which happened to be my days off, I looked for things to do to spice up my life at home. I found bread-making to be one of them.

After cooling those freshly baked bread, I would distribute the buns to my apartment-neighbors who actually were my colleagues at The National newspaper.

They served as my guinea pigs, because the bread that I baked was a hit-and-miss affair. But later, I perfected the recipe which I continuously used for the next three years. Then I stopped it for one reason of the other.

Some 13 years ago on Saturday, I got back to it. I showed the 10 volunteer mothers how basic bread-making is usually done.

I knew they also baked bread but they would use baking powder and would produce what is known here in PNG as scones – a stone-hard stuff that you need a cordial to push it down your throat.

For my demo bread, I had an old recipe that used yeast.

The mothers said it was their first time to see yeast being used in bread. They were used to baking power, they said.

The recipe was quite complicated for first-timers like our volunteer mothers, so I explained it carefully and slowly.

While the oven was being fired for the first time to achieve the required baking temperature, I busied myself wrestling with the dough from whole meal flour. Kneading it was quite a tough job as it involved at least six cups of flour for demo purposes.

But it could be tougher, especially for the mothers, once they doubled the volume of flour to process to cover 97 children.

Actually, the demo bread was intended for the volunteer mothers so they would know exactly how freshly baked bread would taste.

But while I was working it, 12 children arrived at The Center one at a time, all expecting that there would still be food left for lunch. But lunch had been over two hours ago and all the children-diners had gone home.

Lucky these 12 children were. They were the ones who enjoyed the buns that I baked from the newly-arrived crude oven!

APH in the process of initially kneading the dough to make bread for the Tembari children. He was showing the mothers how to make bread using yeast.

APH rolling the dough.

APH has just made a long dough sausage, which would be cut into small pieces soon.

APH cutting the dough sausage into pieces after which it would be shaped into buns.

Shaping the cut dough into buns.

The makeshift oven being fired so it would achieve the required baking temperature.

APH preparing to shove the prepared dough into the oven.

The dough in trays as it sits inside the oven chamber, ready for baking.

APH with the freshly-baked buns – ready to serve.

Penny distributing the freshly baked buns to the 12 children who missed last Saturday’s special lunch.

Email the writer:

No comments:

Post a Comment