The Right Vey to Do Things

Boasting is poor formĀ  (and frankly, I don’t have much to brag about) but I’ll make an exception on the soda bread.

Over the years my Irish soda bread has won awards at a local competition held by Albany’s Irish American Heritage Museum. People often ask me what my secret is and I never know what to tell them — but this year I actually gave someone this useful advice: “You must vey your ingredients.”

They looked at me puzzled. “Vey my ingredients?” Yes, always vey them.

A little background.

A number of years ago I took a day-long baking class at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park. The instructor was one of the school’s professors in their baking and pastry arts program who was from Germany. Not to traffic in stereotypes, but he had a Teutonic commitment to precision when baking, and pounded in our heads that real bakers use a scales and only fools use measuring cups.

“Vey your ingredients,” he said. “ALWAYS vey your ingredients.

Hmmm. What about water?

“Vauter? You vey it. It’s an ingredient, and vee vey the ingredients.”

You get the idea.

Today I weigh my ingredients when baking, even though it sometimes hurts my brain to convert cups and ounces to grams. One exception I make is with very small amounts that are measured in teaspoons and tablespoons; kitchen scales can be flakey, and a tiny error with baking soda can mean soapy tasting bread or cookies.

But I do have a confession: In veak moments, I don’t always vey my vauter.

3 thoughts on “The Right Vey to Do Things

  1. I had a few batches of pizza dough that were really sticky. Couldn’t figure out what I was doing wrong. Turns out the battery in the scale was just about dead and I was getting bad weights. There are plenty of things I use a measuring cup for the water, but the water going into the pizza dough always gets weighed.

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