Saturday, April 16, 2022

Food Influencers

Looks good, doesn't it?

Well, it tastes like crap, and was a nightmare to prepare.

The problem all comes down to "food influencers". When you search for a recipe online these days, literally any recipe at all, all you get are hits from fancily designed cookie-cutter food blogs, where they bloviate for 5000 words about how the recipe they're shilling you reminds them of their childhood when their grammy used to make it for them, giving you no useful advice whatsoever on preparation tips or anything remotely practical like that, then once you scroll all the way down to the bottom of the article you get the recipe itself, which is often of highly questionable quality.

The disaster you see above is supposed to be a soda bread made with a mix of white and buckwheat flours. What it actually is, is pasty, dense and sickeningly flavorless. It doesn't have enough salt, the leavening didn't work well (despite rising quite a bit in the oven), the cooking time was absurdly underestimated, and the dough was so sticky that I had to add nearly an entire cup of flour on the bench to keep it from permanently entombing both my hands when I tried to knead it.

So I try to find out what went wrong. Normal bread dough hydration is supposed to be around 62%. This recipe works out to 88%. That seems wrong, and matches my experience with the dough being unworkably sticky, but I look around at other recipes for soda bread and they're all suspiciously wet, even recipes from sites that should be reputable. What gives? I have literally no idea, because every food influencer out there is spending all their time barfing out family stories of holiday get togethers rather than researching what can (and will) go wrong with their recipes.

This is the first time in probably 10 years or more that I've had to throw out food, and it pisses me off that it's because of our collective dumbing down of society in pursuit of bullshit social media points.

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