Tired of eating crappy supermarket bread, Roommate S got into a bread baking mood lately and started making bread like mad. Even Roommate N got roped into this madness. Soon, frosh cooking turned onto frosh baking – from ciabatta to challa, we started abusing the public oven.
But something felt missing. Sure, all this European bread was tasty, but I missed the soft and fluffy asian bread of my childhood. The bread came in a rectangular loaf, with a soft brown crust and white insides. It had no name but was sold at every Asian bakery. After some poking around, I found a recipe for something that seemed correct – Japanese milk bread.
Japanese Milk Bread
I used this recipe for the bread because 1) it’s the only one that didn’t require milk poweder, which I didn’t have on hand and 2) it showed up pretty high on the Google search results. However, as I found out too late, this recipe is pretty terrible at giving step-by-step instructions and left out a lot of detail, which made bread making harder than it should have been…
(It was only after baking the bread did I realize that I probably
should have looked for the recipe in Chinese or Japanese instead.
Digging around on the internet for a while lead me to this blog. In fact, I’m pretty sure the recipe I used was ripped off from here. Next time…!)
I’m sure you can all read the recipe yourself, so I’ll spare you the rambling. However, here are some tips and tricks I wish I should’ve known while making the bread.
Protip: Knead the dough until it stops being sticky.**If you don’t, your bread will be very crumbly and not very chewy. Note that softness and chewiness has nothing to do with each other! **Protip: Let the yeast come out of hibernation a little bit by putting it in a soup of lukewarm water and flour before you dump it into the dough. **The recipe I used was kind of bad and didn’t tell me to do this, so my dough didn’t really rise much in the time it said it would. My bread probably would’ve turned out larger and fluffier if I had revived the yeast before mixing it. **
After that, I stuck the bread in the oven for long enough to watch one episode of anime (Kamisama no Inai Nichiyoubi, or Sunday Without God, which is a terrible adaptation of a decent light novel series). The end result actually looked pretty great despite all the mistakes in the middle of making the dough…
It was pretty magical seeing the mess of a doughball turn into something that looks and smells edible!
Delicious. There is no doubt that this bread is delicious. It’s soft and moist with a hint of sweetness, and, before I knew it, I had eaten 1/4th of the whole loaf. Oops.
Besides that though, the texture was almost, but not quite, correct. It’s soft and moist, but, when pulling it apart, pieces did not cling to each other with fibers of bread. It’s also not as chewey as it was supposed to be. This is probably because I didn’t knead the dough enough…
The flavor was also almost, but not quite correct – it was too buttery for the bread. Next time, I’ll probably substitute some of the butter with vegetable oil or something.
Final Verdict: 9/10 Very tasty, but not what it was supposed to be.
Starting college can be a big transition. You’re moving to a new place, starting a new school and classes, and faced with making new friends in an unfamiliar environment. And, of course, there’s that whole “becoming an adult” thing. But, you’re also leaving a lot behind. Every new beginning means that an old chapter must come to an end. Leaving behind our friends at home may seem difficult, especially if they’re going to be a long distance away from you during the school year. Something I made sure to do was to spend a lot of time with them during the summer after high school. Of course, going to college doesn’t mean you’ll never see your friends again, or that you will no longer be friends with them. Good friendships will last if you put effort into them. It may seem hard initially. Coming into Caltech, it’s a sharp adjustment and many are caught up in the excitement of Orientation, Rotation, and starting classes. It may be hard to remember to check your phone frequently and to make time for phone calls and such. Rest assured that if you have other friends going to college, they’re probably going to go through similar things you will. In this transition period, it can feel like you’re going to immediately lose touch with people that mean a lot to you.
Let’s face it: the US loves being just a little different from everyone else. The obvious example? Units of measurement. As an international student from Canada, even I have no clue what’s going on half the time when my friends talk to me and use these weird nonsensical units. And I’ve literally lived on the border between Canada and the States for all my life. After a year here, I’ve finally got a sense of how the two systems of measurement compare and how you can more easily get your bearings with these weird units.
After a year spent in “soft-lockdown” at home in Atlanta, and as Caltech students prepared to finally return to campus, I was aboard an eight hour flight towards Edinburgh, Scotland. Since my junior year plans were interrupted by the virus who shall not be named, I’m spending my first term of senior year studying abroad through the Caltech - Edinburgh University International Exchange program. I’ve only been here just over a week yet have been exposed to so many new people, perspectives, foods, and classes.
When the announcement was first made that fall term was going to be online, I started talking to friends and looking for places to live. We were debating locations around the country: California, Florida, New York, etc.. there were plenty of options. Then it suddenly hit me, what is stopping us from going to Hawaii, covid numbers were better and a two week quarentine would ensure that numbers stayed down… I proposed this to my friend and we agreed it would be an amazing experience, but we didn’t want to get out hopes up. A month or so later we still haven’t decided where to live, Hawaii seemed too far and too difficult to plan. But we couldn’t get the idea out of our heads. We spent some time looking into plane tickets, places to stay, etc… and it actually didn’t seem so impossible after all. A couple weeks later and we were arriving here on the big island!