Tuesday, February 01, 2011

There was a reason I stopped baking that recipe...

...and now I know what it is.

With ice and snow on the ground, with the sun shining and the wind howling, with the temp at 22 and set to go lower, not higher over the next three days, it seemed like a good idea to bake bread.

I have several standard bread recipes which I'm quite good at baking. I'm also not afraid to try something new, but since most bread recipes of the white/wheat variety are the same and we certainly didn't need cinnamon rolls (although that may be on tomorrow's agenda--see the above paragraph), I decided to go for quantity.

Years--YEARS--ago, I had made a recipe which produced 6 loaves of bread. Six. I knew it took a bag of flour and assorted other staples I was bound to have on hand, and so I went hunting for it. Found it, with appropriate notes on flour cup variances and size of loaf pan, and the date: October 1977. Wow. I was a new mother. Wasn't I an adventurous soul.

But I hadn't had a Kitchenaid do-it-all mixer then. Surely this would be easier. But as I poured in the 8 cups of liquid and the half bag of flour, as the machine started making little grindy noises (it's at least 25 years old, it's allowed), as I remembered I hadn't put in any sugar (add, add, add), I also realized that this slurry of dough was going to have to come out of the bowl and onto the countertop.

I put on my kitchen-expendable gloves I use for messy things and plunged in, adding flour and lifting and pushing the dough around.

Then the phone rang. I was tempted not to answer it, but if it were my husband, he'd wonder why I wasn't and what was wrong, so I pulled off one of the dough-filled gloves with my teeth, and answered. My mother-in-law. Told her what I was up to, answered the question (called her back with more details later), and got back to the mess.

The phone rang.

Now I can go days without the phone ringing at home. DAYS. But I answered, the information from a friend made me glad I did, and I finally got back to packing probably a bag and a half of flour into these 6 loaves.

I dug out the stew pot, put the mess in the oven with the oven light on, and cleaned it all up. Less than an hour later, it is threatening to overflow the pot and I stop it before the dough, now sticky but more compliant, spills over into the oven.

Longer story short, there are now three 1-1/2 lb loaves baking and three 2-pound loaves rising.

This stuff had better be good, but I now know why I abandoned this recipe in favor of the three-loaf buttermilk bread which is standard here. I could have made it twice and been eating it now.

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