I am very involved in my food photography (in terms of directing what needs to be seen, how much light I want and the perspective it needs to capture). However, unless pushed into a corner, I never try to take the photographs myself with a DSLR, my husband does. He has been using the DSLR for over 4 years now and has mastered the art of taking excellent pictures, although he needs to be hand-held when it comes to food photography. Let me explain. Once when taking pictures of Peanut Butter cookies, I asked him to ensure the cracks on them showed. He thought the cracks were flaws and needed to be covered up, but I insisted so he complied. On the same evening, a friend, who had seen pictures of the cookies on Facebook, remarked how compelling the pictures were, and how much he loved the cracks on the cookies. Cut to a few months later, when I was trying to get my husband to take a picture of a Mawa (Ricotta Cheese) cake before he left for work, and he asked (with a tinge of pride in his voice for remembering), you want the crack on the cake in the picture right? And that is why an otherwise excellent photographer, needs to be hand-held when clicking pictures of my stuff.
My baking expeditions are usually very spontaneous affairs, when I chance upon a glorious/simple recipe that is begging to be baked right then (usually in the afternoons). But I like to use natural light in my photographs and so invariably I get the husband to shoot my pictures the next day before he leaves for work. In the odd case, when the food has to be eaten on the same day and I have slaved over it, I have no choice, but to use the DSLR. Typically, I want the camera all set well to ensure I just have to point and shoot. Sometimes, things go awry, the pictures I take are shaken and blurred or sometimes for some reason the flash-has remained on (I hate to use Flash in day-light photography) and my husband, who is in a meeting can’t take my frantic calls to trouble-shoot the issue. One such instance led to some bad pictures I posted in my last blogpost. My husband had had enough of this dependency and frankly so did I. But in my typical style, I did nothing about it, and so he proactively scheduled an hour last Saturday to teach me some basics of photography with the DSLR. Food photography calls for some spectacular food, and so I got down to baking some bundts to take photographs of and did a decent job of my photography, or so I was told. Very pleased with myself, I baked a whole-grain sandwich bread, in between watching August Osage Country. The movie was dark but interesting. How can it not be when you have the super-talented Meryl Streep sparring with Julia Roberts in it? But I hated what they did to Benedict Cumberbatch, how could they take the man who played the sexy Sherlock Holmes and reduce him to a diffident and stammering guy!!! That part didn’t go down well with me, but his singing made up, just a little :). Coming back to the bread, I had exhausted my supply of instant dry yeast (brought from the US) and had to now use the Instant yeast I had bought. I baked the bread after the movie and took pictures of it. We had it for breakfast the next day. This is a dense bread, not like the airy ones you buy in the market or even make at home. It is predominantly made of whole-wheat with some amount of all-purpose and oats and seeds in it. You’ll eat less of this bread, but isn’t that a good thing?
I adapted it from a recipe I found on the Internet, but now can’t find the link now, so please forgive me for not including the original link.
Whole Grain Sandwich Bread
What You Will Need
- Instant Yeast – 2 teaspoons (you can also use 2 1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast)
- Honey – 3 tablespoons
- Whole wheat flour – 3 cups
- All Purpose flour – 1 cup
- Rolled Oats – 1/2 cup
- Mixed Seeds – 1/2 cup (I used a mix of pumpkin, sesame and flax seeds)
- Salt – 1 tablespoon
- Melted butter – 4 tablespoons
- Vital Wheat Gluten – 5 teaspoons (you can add 6 to make up for the oats and seeds)
How You Make it
- Grease a large mixing bowl and a loaf pan with butter
- In a bowl, combine all the flours, seeds and butter and vital wheat gluten. Add two cups of water, yeast and honey and mix with a dough hook or by hand till the dough comes together roughly. It will look like a shaggy mess.
- Cover with a towel/clingfilm and let rise for 30 minutes.
- Add salt and mix with the dough hook or knead with the hand on a work surface till you get a smooth dough. Place it back in the greased bowl and let rise for 1 hours till the dough rises to double and doesn’t spring back when you poke with a finger.
- Now fold the bread into a loaf (see video)
- Place in the loaf pan and let rise for another hour. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Brush the bread with some milk and bake for approximately 40 minutes, till the bread sounds hollow when tapped.
- Cut only after it has cooled very well (after 2-hours).