The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

A little experience can be dangerous

ehanner's picture
ehanner

A little experience can be dangerous

This story is a confession of humility. Something happened to me a few days ago that is just to good not to share with my friends.

I was mixing a batch of a simple white bread I make all the time. As I looked out the kitchen window at the fall leaves, mixing my dough with a plastic scraper, I was thinking how a couple years ago I would of been thinking "this dough is to dry" and been tempted to add additional water. Then as I continued to push and knead it started to come together better. I was pleased with myself for having had the confidence in my judgment to keep going and not fall prey to the dry dough dilemma. Just about that time as I was feeling good about the knowledge I have gained, I looked across the counter to see the small bowl of 100% poolish that I had forgotten to add into the final dough mix. Ughhh what a moment of humble pie. No wonder it was so dry.

I thought I would share this moment with you all. I have learned a lot about baking while here at the Fresh Loaf. How ironic that the first time I am gloating internally about how well tuned my powers of observation are, the rug is yanked from beneath me. I guess I had it coming. Now I go forward having learned to think about my process and the steps. I'll try to not fall into a complacent confidence that allows me to work mindlessly.

That's my story and I'm sticking with it.

Eric

Comments

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Bread baking is good for the soul. It keeps you humble.

David

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Yes indeed.

Floydm's picture
Floydm

Before I almost baked the whole bowl of dough while trying to warm it, I did the same thing with my Wild Rice & Onion Bread last week.

Did you add the poolish in?  I added mine and then had to add an extra half cup or so of flour to get it back to the proper hydration but it worked out fine.

ehanner's picture
ehanner

I dumped it in and started mushing it around with my fingers. After a long rest of about an hour, I kneaded it enough to come together and it baked sort of OK. It wasn't my most beautiful crumb but it went down ok as a side for meatballs and red sauce tonight.

I'm working on the wild rice at the moment.

Eric

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

not to long ago..except my poolish was sitting right in front of me and if it were a snake it would have bitten me.....I think being well organized with everything in place let me think there was room to daydream 'humble pie'!

Sylvia

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Sylvia, you make me laugh. Thanks for that.

Eric

Shiao-Ping's picture
Shiao-Ping

Can I tell you the bit about this post that I love the most is "[looking] out the kitchen window at the fall leaves"?   Here in most parts of Australia we don't have fall leaves to look at, evergreen all year round.   We are in late spring/early summer now.  This morning my girl friend and I went to a park to have Oolong tea (the table and chairs to the bottom right were where we sat):

                                                

Don't we all have our humble-pie moments!  I had just completed my Banana Pain au Levain.   What was intended as a 65% dough turned out to be 80%!  If everything is perfect in the world, there would be no good story to tell.

Thanks for your write-up.

Shiao-Ping

Farine's picture
Farine

...telling us during the Whole Grains workshop at SFBI back in the spring that the best breads he has ever made initially came from mistakes. So there IS a silver lining to every cloud. If anything, you'll never forget the poolish again. :-) Thanks for sharing this great story!

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Yes MC you are probably correct. I'll not soon forget the poolish.

What you may not know about me is that I spent 30 years as a commercial pilot where attention to detail is a requirement. As I pass into my older years, I notice these little "Senior Moments" with some concern. Haha, maybe I'll stumble upon a new bread. Thanks for your comments.

Eric

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Shiao-Ping,

Your photo transports me to a place of peace and reflection. A perfect day to spend with a friend. Thank you for your kind words.

Eric

Farine's picture
Farine

I actually love them (sometimes)! There is something soothing about being able to let your mind wander after so many years of constantly focusing on the task at hand, whether as a pilot, like you, or as a translator, like me. As I wrote once in Farine, I had one of those one day as I was making baguettes. The aromas from the dough transported me back to SFBI and I rolled the baguettes out to the size of the bakery ovens! Needless to say they didn't fit into my home oven. If you'd like to see how they came out, check the Curly Ficelles post!

Jw's picture
Jw

I recognise it. Recently my mise-en-place was not that great. I was lucky to not add the salt to to flour that allready had salt.. disaster would have been double-salted and no-salt bread.

When certain recipe become too familiar, watch out!

Cheers,
Jw