Sunday, January 07, 2007

how to bake fresh bread

  1. Toss and turn in bed before falling asleep at 2 a.m.
  2. Get up at 6 a.m. to make bread before everyone else wakes up.
  3. Find bread recipes in your cookbook. Realize that you don't have the necessary ingredients for the first dozen or so recipes.
  4. Rule out going to the supermarket because of time constraints.
  5. Find recipe for potato rolls that doesn't require milk.
  6. Upon re-reading ingredients, discover that recipe calls for two packets of yeast, whereas you have one.
  7. Begin halving the recipe.
  8. Two steps into the process, forget that you are having the recipe and add the full amount of sugar, eggs, salt, butter, water, potato-boiling water, and flour for mixing.
  9. As you mix in third cup of the next 8¾ cups of flour, notice that the dough is getting thick and floury very early in the process.
  10. Realize your mistake.
  11. Panic.
  12. Having calmed down, try deducting the "extra" flour from what's left.
  13. Knead the dough. Notice how it keeps sticking to your hands in much larger amounts than it did with that nice buttermilk you bread you followed the directions for perfectly two weeks ago. Maybe you shouldn't deduct any flour.since you did add the full amount of water.
  14. Add more flour, but without measuring it.
  15. Jeez, this stuff is really sticking to your hands.
  16. Add more flour. Why bother measuring this time either? You've no idea how much you've put in at this point.
  17. Keep kneading.
  18. Try to flip dough over. Hold down kneading surface with one hand while you remove dough with other.
  19. Add more flour. Who knows how much?
  20. Debate tossing mixture into garbage and finding something else to take to friend's house. Like leftover stir-fry with frozen vegetables.
  21. Knead.
  22. Add more flour once you pry your hands loose from doughy morass.
  23. Imagine potato rolls as hard as rocks, and everyone lying as they compliment you on the delicious homemade bread.
  24. Dread moment when your friend, who loves to bake, asking you how you made bread.
  25. Add more flour.
  26. Finish kneading.
  27. Cut dough into 12 pieces -- recipe calls for 24, but you're halving this, remember? -- and roll into balls.
  28. Wonder if you should let dough rise twice as long, since you did include only half the yeast.
  29. Accept the inevitable: Either it's going to suck, or it won't, but it's out of your hands now.
  30. Thank God that cooking isn't a science.

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