I am fond of baking. As I make things I have noticed a few things about mixing bread dough.
- Mixing the ingredients in the right order makes a difference. If you dump everything in at once, mix it together, and bake it – your bread will turn out both ugly and disgusting.
- There are things you can do to make your bread look pretty, but if done without patience to make the rest of the bread correctly, the attraction will be superficial, as is true with many store-bought breads. They look pretty, but taste like paper, cardboard, or cotton.
- Mixing the leaven (yeast, eggs, etc.) with the liquid (milk, water, etc.), the salt, the sugar, and enough of the required flour to give it some substance, until smooth, will make the loaf have a more homogeneous texture.
- Once you have the beginnings of a sticky dough, you should add things slowly and allow them to blend in.
- If you add all the remaining flour too quickly, you will end up with extra flour that takes forever to fully mix with the dough and a dry tough dough that is difficult to knead adequately and requires more water to be workable.
- If you add too much water all at once, you will end up with sticky dough that never seems to get enough flour. When you do get enough flour to make the dough workable, the bread is dense and tastes poor.
- When adding seasonings to enhance flavor, do it in small quantities and allow the dough to knead for sufficient time to allow the flavor to spread throughout the dough. Too much of an added flavor will ruin the flavor of the bread as will insufficient mixing.
- You cannot know if adding something new, or doing something different, will ruin the dough until you have allowed it be mixed and baked, and then tasted the bread.
- If you have tried something similar in the past, you can make a good guess that the results will be similar.
- If the results were negative for something similar in the past, you should make adjustments to compensate for the effect you want.
- If the results were positive in the past, you can make a good guess that the results will be similarly positive.
I have been reading the treatise titled “Socialism” by John Stuart Mill recently and while I believe he and I disagree on some basic premises, something he wrote made me think of how baking and making social change are analogous.
Sudden effects in history are generally superficial. Causes which go deep down into the roots of future events produce the most serious parts of their effect only slowly, and have, therefore, time to become a part of the familiar order of things before general attention is called to the changes they are producing; since, when the changes do become evident, they are often not seen, by cursory observers, to be in any peculiar manner connected with the cause. The remoter consequences of a new political fact are seldom understood when they occur, except when they have been appreciated beforehand.
(Mill, John Stuart (2011-11-27). Socialism (Kindle Locations 41-45). Kindle Edition.)
I have my own observations about analogies, but I would like to see what other analogies other people see. Please comment with your thoughts.