The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Doc Tracy Saves Arizona from attack of the CROB Blob

Doc Tracy's picture
Doc Tracy

Doc Tracy Saves Arizona from attack of the CROB Blob

OK, I'm going in. I've got the Glock, the BAD (Bad Ass Doberman) AKA Princess Lucy, and Chalupa the Chihuahua as reinforcement. Also in hand are sharp scissors and a 10" bread knife. Entering the house, I use all my senses trying to detect the CROB. I'm concerned that the soupy, pancake like batter of the sourdough converted cinnamon raisin oatmeal bread (CROB) has escaped it's container in the fridge and is hiding somewhere in the empty house.

I enter the house without a sound. The dogs seem calm. So far so good. I pull open the fridge and see The CROB- Oh, my!! It's eaten the aluminum foil off it's bowl. I didn't know it could do that. In the 36 hours or so since I locked it up in the empty fridge it's risen over my giant, commercial sized stainless steel bowl and has eaten holes in the aluminum. It doubled, it tripled!! And it ate metal!!!! I knew I should have used plasticrap!

I wrestle the beast out of it's cold, dark cave and drag it into the heat of the Arizona springtime. It's not going to like this I think. Hmmm, smells really nice. I carry the hefty monster back to the RV and take a peek. Despite the grayish looking spots all over the top from dissolved aluminum foil, it looks much more bread dough-like than it did 2 days ago. I may be able to train this dragon yet.

But what to do with all those aluminum foil spots? Well, thank goodness I came armed for battle! I go at it with the bread knife and scissors and show no mercy. I hack and cut and hack and cut. Throw that dough in the compost bin where it belongs. Nasty bugger, metal eating monster! Now it looks better and I bet I have a more manageable amount of dough to work with too.

Get out those scales! Yes, the one that screwed up this dough in the first place. I weigh the dough and find that I have enough for 3 large loaves, just what I started with. Hmm, what a strange coincidence. Shaped the loaves, jelly rolled with brown sugar, cinnamon and honey. Put them in the pans. The beast has been tamed!

All that is left are 3 yummy CROB loaves cooling on the stovetop (which pretends to be a countertop in my cramped RV). Sourdough starter makes wonderful CROB.

Moral of the story- Make no more than 2 loaves of bread when playing around with a formula. CROB Blob attacks are far more lethal within the confines of the RV. Woe to the person who gets this rental RV next. There is a baby CROB culture growing in the plumbing.


Mebake's picture

Hehe.. priceless!

Sequel: (Starter 2 : Return of the CROB) :P


amauer's picture

I didn't know they could eat metal! No wonder they say cover with pastic wrap. Glad it turned out. Sounds like Thanksgiving when I made the best gravy I have ever made and got carried away with my new immersion blender and took some of the teflon off my roasting pan. Bits of silver glinting in the gravy. Could not, however, be saved. Used a gravy packet and turns out nobody wanted gravy, because I also had Shrimp and King Crab for dinner.

Doc Tracy's picture
Doc Tracy

Glad you mentioned that because I just got one and haven't really used it yet. Thanks for the warning!

Sedlmaierin's picture

tracy, that is too funny! thank you so much for the great laugh! i am glad it turned out and visualizing your dogs is priceless!


Broc's picture

CROB [Shock!]

In Arizona [Double shock!!]

Hmmmmmm..... Must be illegal CROB....

EvaB's picture

it has acid in the sourdough and acids eat aluminum. My mother once used an aluminum pot to make maple flavoured syrup in, she used it for several years with just adding sugar and water and flavouring to the left over syrup, the pot developed a hole, and that was in a very heavy thick walled pot!

One reason for canning pickles in the glass lidded jars with rubber rings was that the acid in the pickle would eat the metal lids, they started enameling the lids, but if you get the tiniest spot that the enamel or paint acutally is weak the acid starts working on the metal and you can acutally wind up with a hole in the lid.

On the other hand another discussion says that the lactic acid in the sour dough is good for your glycemic problems, like diabetes, so sour dough is still worth making, just use the plastic wrap, or find a chunk of heavy linen canvas like the cloths for making the bauguettes with, and make oil cloth by oiling the cloth to cover your bowl, dish or whatever! That is what they used to use, not plastic junk that might leach god only knows into your bread.

Doc Tracy's picture
Doc Tracy

Always wondered if the oil in the oil cloth would get rancid and start adding off flavors to the food. Good information about the pickles. I love those old jars. I was actually thinking about pickles and the stuff I know about canning when I saw that aluminum foil. It was a "Duh" moment when I used it. Simply had only one giant bowl and plasti-crap doesn't stick to stainless. Haven't had much luck with wet towels in AZ. They tend to dry out and let crust form on the dough, causing it not to rise as well.

Thinking back, I could have sprinkled a heavy layer of flour on top and that would have protected the dough and soaked up some of the water. Funny how you think more clearly when you're not in a crisis situation, LOL!

EvaB's picture

the oil on oilcloth was linseed oil, whether fresh or cooked I don't know, but it would make the cloth waterrpoof to a great extent. We used to have an old coat with it on, but still have no idea how exactly it was made.

If you are at all handy and have a sewing machine, you should be able to make bowl covers for your large bowls, and cut down on plasticrap which you are right doesn't stick well to stainless steel. All you need to do is find a store which sells those plastic table cloths backed with flanel as they call it, I think its actually some sort of polyester crap these days, and cut a circle larger than your bowl top, and either sew with eleastic thread or sew a strip of small eleastic around the edge, making it smaller than the circle so it has to stretch to go over the bowl. Put the plastic side in of course. You might even be able to make them out of the heavy plastic you can get in some hardwares that is more like clear windows than the stuff you buy to cover when painting, I get that at the local hardware in the paint section, and its great for a lot of things, I have it on double doors in my basement so you can still see out the window but it sure cut the cold last winter. I also use a 2.5 foot square of it to go over my cross stitch on its floor stand to keep the dust off when I'm not working at it, you can still see the work but its not going to get dusty. And with that, if you cut a larger enough square to drape over the edge of the bowl well, you wouldn't need to worry about it being elastic.

Franchiello's picture

I found these rather handy bowl covers that Glad or somebody makes, they look like shower caps; I use them to cover my bowls when I'm feeding my starters or when I'm fermenting a dough - they come in medium and large.  They are clear and they really do keep the moisture and generated warmth in.  I wonder if an (unused) shower cap would be useful - they sometimes still put them in the "personl use" goodies in hotels along withthe little soaps and hand lotin samples.


I'm intrigued with the CROB, sounds like a tasty treat (if it doesn't escape from the refrigerator and wreak havoc out in town).

Doc Tracy's picture
Doc Tracy

The CROB is indeed a tasty bread. Gave a loaf to my parents as part of my Mother's Day gift. Gave Mom a new Kitchen Aid mixer.

I'll post the CROB recipe after my next bake of it. I think it needs a little perfecting. It has  a lot of promise though. Basically, I took JH's cinnamon oatmeal raisin bread, substituted the starter at 150gm for commercial yeast. I plan to try making it without any bread (high protein flour) flour next time and see if I can perfect it. The only other change is that because cinnamon is a bark spice and can cause decrease in yeast activity (not sure what it does to starter yeast, assuming it would be similar?) I didn't add the cinnamon to the dough. I did a jelly roll swirl of brown sugar and cinnamon which turned out nice, although my jellly roll technique leaves a lot to be desired.

I've seen those plastic covers and they're nice. I usually use a 2 QT proofing plastic container but the CROB was too large. I may need to just buy a big plastic tub for baking large sourdough batches, if/when I get a mixer that can handle such a large bunch of dough. I like having the frozen loaves and not heating the oven all the time.

I didn't mention but I had to tackle CROB by hand. The KA mixer was nowhere near up to the task of mixing the big batch of dough.

EvaB's picture

Cloth, I am sure you could use a good oil like olive and simply keep the cloth in a cool place to discourage rancidity, but even if you used a cloth oiled and then washed the cloth (carefully in a dish soap to take the oil out) it would certainly be better than using foil for larger bowls or tubs.

I can see the wisdom in baking lots of bread in advance and having the loaves frozen for use, because we can get really hot here (yes even way up north in far north BC) and turning the oven on to bake is not something one wants to do. My house has 4 large windows on the west side and it gets killer hot in summer. Of course that is when one wants to can and bake and ....... which is why I'm now contemplating the wood fired masonary stove in the Mother Earth News, can use it outside and still can and bake and not heat up the house! Will have to look at the article again, and see if I can figure out the plans. Since it would be just me doing the building. Although I might con my DD and SIL into helping a bit.

EvaB's picture

tasty, and would make me a bread lover as I like rasins, but don't know if I'm ready for the attack or not! Will have to think about that! :-)

Did some research online, and the oil cloth in days of yore was made by painting the cloth with linseed oil, and the patterns were then painted on with oil based paints, and then covered with another coat or two of linseed oil. These days its all vinyl over cotton, which is not in my opinion any better than plasticrap! having said that and read a further post about the oiled cloths (one caveat of doing them yourself with linseed oil being they are prone to spontanious combustion) I think if you took plain muslin, white cotton (although that might be not so good) or a chunk of linen, and soaked it in oil (olive, saflower or whatever you like) and wrung it out, and did like the poster said kept it in a bag in the fridge to keep the problems down, it would work just fine, and you wouldn't be supporting the non renewable oil industry in one small way.

The other thing I found on oilcloth was posting as to whether linseed oil was food safe, I don't know about today's oil, but there sure was a lot of stuff rolled out on oilcloth coverings for a lot of time, so think its probably as safe as the plastic crap that food is wrapped in, covered in, stored in etc these days.



Doc Tracy's picture
Doc Tracy

This is fascinating stuff about the oil cloth and using linseed oil. I'm so glad everyone brought it up. Flaxseed (linseed) oil is safe, if food grade is used. It does go rancid very quickly. I'm very sensitive to the smell of rancid oils, in fact I can't stand the smell of many store bought foods simply because they taste like "unfresh" oil to me.

I'll have to give the oilcloth in the fridge a try, washing in dish soap every few times as suggested. What a great idea!

Not sure I'll ever get to that novel. I've been told I should write a novel about my ER experiences as well but I don't know if I would enjoy it that much. I think maybe just writing a daily blog would be more fun. Then again, look at the Julie/Julia project and what became of that.

Sorry I haven't been around for awhile. We're moving into the house! I have about 500 boxes sitting around and I'm trying to make a dent in the kitchen so that I can actually find the countertops and BRAND NEW RANGE!!!!!

EvaB's picture

Congrats on the new house and range and of course the ROOM! So now you can start over with more CROB and see if you can infect the sewer system.

I think the fridge or freezer is the answer to oil cloths, of course one didn't have that option years ago, and just made do with it.

I am sensitive to scents as well, and actually met someone more so than I, she could smell the oil mixture that I used over a week ago on my feet, and that means that it sticks as they have been of course washed in between uses etc. But it is a strong smell when you first put it on, but didn't think it hung around that long!

Maybe that is why they used lavender for so many years, the scent remained for a great many days without having to be refreshed.

Have fun with the new space and show us some new baking.

Doc Tracy's picture
Doc Tracy

So for a sequel-CROB is brewing in the rental RV now. Temps are approaching 100 degrees this week and the RV has been returned to the rental lot. What's the CROB doing in there? 

Imagine millions of wild beasties taking over the plumbing. Growing, growing. Nobody knows what's in there. It could be months in storage. Some unsuspecting innocent snowbird will take it on a camping trip into the lovely Arizona mountains.

And when they open the door-The CROB will be set free.

Will Arizona survive? Will the CROB take over the National Forest? Will it consume the Mongollan Rim? Will it fill the Grand Canyon?