Baker’s Dozen Just Means I Can’t Do Math

April 18, 2010

in Blame The Sudafed, Cheap Expectations, How to Diet in Reverse

As you may know, I have been attempting to expand my culinary horizons for quite some time.  And other than our recent Gorgonzola incident, things were going quite well.  And then I decided to try my hand at baking.

Dunh, dunh, dunh…

Yup, baking.  As in bread.  How hard could it be?  After all, other than the time I tried to bake a loaf of banana bread in a pot with a plastic handle in college (we had no loaf pans.  and I kind of forgot that plastic tends to melt at high temperatures.  and although none of the plastic actually melted in the bread, it still tasted like…well, pot handle – this is why I was Not a science major), and the entire summer it took me to learn perfect my grandma’s chocolate chip cookies (note: Crisco is Not an acceptable substitute for butter…and there is a HUGE difference between salted and unsalted butter – mostly the salt…and generic chocolate chips are not the appropriate place to save on the budget), I’ve always considered myself a very good baker.  How hard could a few loaves of French bread be?

Actually, the first batch went quite well.  Oma & I mixed up the yeast, formed the dough, kneaded the dough, watched the dough rise, then rise again, and finally baked it to perfection.  In fact, it was such a success that the Big Man put it on his list of things good enough/cheap enough to make at home from now on.  And by his list, I mean mine.

Then we tried some monkey bread.  True, the first batch didn’t quite make it.  But I blame that on the fact that I lost count of how much flour I put in when the Little Man decided he needed my attention RIGHT NOW.  But for the second batch, Oma & I once again rolled up our sleeves and made good with the kneading and the rising and the baking.

With two successful forays into the world of bread under my belt, I decided to once again bake up some delicious French bread to cap off a wonderful home-made meal for my husband.

I mixed the bread, kneaded the bread, and set it on the counter to rise for an hour.  Sure, the house wasn’t at the same temperature as an incubator that it was the last time Oma & I made bread, but how big of a difference could that make?  An hour later, the dough didn’t seem to quite have doubled in size…but maybe that was just me overestimating how large it was to begin with?  I formed the loaves, left them to rise again, and then quickly shoved them in the oven.  15 minutes later, they didn’t seem quite done.  20 minutes later, they still didn’t seem done.  25 minutes later, they could have been used to make an adobe hut earthquake-proof.

Huh.

Let’s try this again, shall we?  So I went through the mixing and the kneading again.  Then I put it in a warm oven to rise for an hour, just as I’d seen Oma do previously.  Come to think of it…there seem to be an awful lot of steps I saw Oma do previously…rather than actually did myself…

The good news is, the bread was actually edible this time.  Just.  Sure, it was a bit…condensed…but not all people prefer their bread risen, right?

Yeah…the Big Man picked up some bread from the store the next day.  And I’ve been forbidden to attempt anymore yeast-involved baking until I’m sleeping for 8hrs a night…or Oma comes back.

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