Idiom of the Day
paddle one's own canoe
to do something by oneself
I was forced to paddle my own canoe when the rest of the staff went away for a seminar.
While baking powder is universally used for biscuits and cake, it is seldom, if ever, used for bread, because it does not furnish sufficient gas to lighten the tough heavy mass of bread dough. Then, too, most people prefer the taste of yeast-raised bread. There is a reason for this widespread preference, but to understand it, we must go somewhat far afield, and must study not only the bread of to-day, but the bread of antiquity, and the wines as well.
If grapes are crushed, they yield a liquid which tastes like the grapes; but if the liquid is allowed to stand in a warm place, it loses its original character, and begins to ferment, becoming, in the course of a few weeks, a strongly intoxicating drink. This is true not only of grape juice but also of the juice of all other sweet fruits; apple juice ferments to cider, currant juice to currant wine, etc. This phenomenon of fermentation is known to practically all races of men, and there is scarcely a savage tribe without some kind of fermented drink; in the tropics the fermented juice of the palm tree serves for wine; in the desert regions, the fermented juice of the century plant; and in still other regions, the root of the ginger plant is pressed into service.
The fermentation which occurs in bread making is similar to that which is responsible for the transformation of plant juices into intoxicating drinks. The former process is not so old, however, since the use of alcoholic beverages dates back to the very dawn of history, and the authentic record of raised or leavened bread is but little more than 3000 years old.