Dough Master (Almost)

Each week as I am rolling out pastry dough or boiling mason jars, I cannot help but think about the situation I am in. I am so very lucky to be hands-on learning about numerous kitchen tasks. Working with Amanda has been a lot of welcome repetition. She unnecessarily apologized one Thursday for not having different recipes for me to work on each week. I like the routine we have set up. Because I have been practicing the same recipes, I get to witness my slow-but-steady self improvement.

My previous rolling pin skills consisted of the minuscule plastic roller that came in my Play-Doh set as a child. I would attempt to help my mother in the kitchen when rolling actual dough, but I would always find a way to tear it. When Amanda first handed me the wooden pin of doom, I was open to it, but afraid. But I am proud to say that I no longer grimace when using the rolling pin.

Amanda offered some tips to aid me when using this specific kitchen tool:
• Try not to roll too close to the edges because it will flatten them out. She told me to apply the least amount of pressure in those areas
• Using different amounts of flour for different dough consistencies is very important. For example, when I am rolling out the dough for the pocketfuls and the knishes, I can use as much flour as I need, it will not negatively affect the dough. But when I am rolling out the dough for the crackers, I can only use a little bit of flour. This dough is pretty tough and does not need much. If I do use too much, it will crack and make rolling extremely difficult and frustrating

In all of the dough recipes I have made for Amanda, they call for warm water. I questioned why it is warm, and not cool or cold. Amanda explained that flour absorbs warm water much better when it is poured into a dry mixture. But the water does not always have to be warm, it depends solely on the other ingredients of the dry mixture.

I wrote this specific blog to document my self-improvement. I find before and after shots of basically anything so satisfying. The first two photos shows the ham-and-cheese and butternut squash pocketfuls I made February 19, which was the first time I made them. As you can see I struggled with creating the perfect dough rectangle. It barely covers the ham and cheese. And those ends; do I not know what a straight edge looks like?

Now, we have two photos of these delectable ham-and-cheese and spinach-and-feta pockets I created April 9. First of all, let us take a moment to bask in the glory that is a golden brown crust. I have almost mastered the concept of a rectangle. Each week I look down at what I am making and feel confident that I am performing better than last time. It is a good feeling, and I am proud of myself!

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