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19 May 2008 @ 06:54 pm
I'm sure I've mentioned this here before, but I fail at baking bread. Huge, honkin' capital-f Fail. I'm not sure what it is, really. I mean, bread shouldn't be all that hard. People have been baking it for thousands of years without benefit of cookbooks and instant read thermometers and regulated temperature ovens and pre-measured packets of yeast. So why is it, I wonder, that I simply can not make a blasted loaf of bread?

I mention this because I have a pan of rosemary focaccia rising (oh, please let it be rising!) in my oven. It's in the oven because my kitchen is chilly, and I remember reading somewhere that if you didn't have a warm place-of-rising that you could place the dough in your oven over a pan of warm water. So. We shall see.

Anyway, I've been thinking about what factors might be responsible for my history of Bread Fail.

~rising: it's entirely likely that I didn't allow (or wasn't able to get) my dough to rise properly.

~kneading: perhaps I was just plain doing it wrong. Or not enough. Or too much. Or I punch-down like a sissy.

~yeast: there's a good possibility that I used yeast that had passed its expiration date (though, once again: throughout history, people have managed without such an indicator. Ma Ingalls didn't need no stinkin' expiration date.) Second possibility, and equally as likely: the water I used wasn't warm enough. Third possiblity: I have some sort of wonky body chemistry that counteracts leavening. Fourth possiblity: foul sorcery.

It's got about another half an hour to rise. Think happy thoughts. There's a store-bought loaf of bread standing by in case of Fail; I'm hoping that proves the equivalent of 'if you carry an umbrella, it won't rain.'

as to the rest of dinner, I've got a pot of white bean, ham and veggie soup simmering on the back burner and a salad in the fridge. in case you were wondering.
Tags: , ,
I feel: intimidatedintimidated
(Deleted comment)
Kel: awesomesauce!ladyjoust on May 20th, 2008 02:44 am (UTC)
Thanks! I may have ever-so-slightly underbaked it, but that's just because it got brown so quickly; I'm still learning the vagaries of my oven. Other than that, rather tasty. yay!
curdnerdcurdnerd on May 20th, 2008 01:27 am (UTC)

You are welcome to come over one morning to bake in the wood-fired oven, if you'd like to.
Kel: green and growing thingsladyjoust on May 20th, 2008 02:40 am (UTC)
If nothing else, I'd love to come observe. And absorb. I've so very much to learn.
Ilena Ayalanetsearcher on May 20th, 2008 01:33 am (UTC)
I feel your pain...
I've had similar woes in the past, and have had some success with the hot water bowl in the oven.

You can test the yeast if you aren't sure if it's lively enough.

I've had even better success with a breadmaking machine. :)
Rennierengirlie87 on May 20th, 2008 04:29 am (UTC)
remind me of one time we were talking on the phone...one of the handful of times ever, lol...and i was trying to make strawberry bread at the same time, and TOTALLY messed it up.

just sharing ur misery
aryiana: Arikcakearyiana on May 20th, 2008 01:42 pm (UTC)
In Home Economics in 9th grade I got a "D" for yeast bread.... If I remember correctly it either didn't rise or ended up like a brick doorstop.... At any rate, I am now the baker for Rosh Hashana in my family making Yeast Cake (which is a sweet bread). What seems to work for me is while I am getting a step done I put a pot of water to boil, then put that water under the bowl, in the oven, and cover the bowl. Something about the moist steam...

Oh, also, I never use my electric oven for it -- always go to mom's house to bake...

Hmmm... maybe it's the magic of mom's oven rather than what I am doing.... :)

Glad it turned out well!