Last week I had bad baking karma. On Monday I wanted to make Broetchen, the deceptively simple, crispy, white roll, as German as baguettes are French.
After several trials that never yielded the soft, fluffy, "pull-out" crumb typical for Broetchen I finally got it right with Italian 00 flour (from "Micucci" in Portland). But would simple American pastry flour work, too?
I made a beautiful looking batch, sprinkled with sesame, poppy and sunflower seeds. It went into the oven, I set the timer and started tidying the kitchen. The smell of something burning did not bother me at first, I thought it was some spill on the oven floor.
But the nasty smell grew stronger, and an anxious look into the oven showed a sheet full of charcoals instead of cute golden rolls. Even though not even half of the baking time was over, my rolls were completely burnt. The LED display showed the right temperature, so it must have been a short in the oven's electronic brain - or was it simply a bad bread day...?
Tuesday I tried a new bread - "Wheat Almond Bread", adapted from one of my German baking books. This time the oven meekly supplied the right temperature, and the loaves came out just right, golden brown, and smelling wonderful.
One was for Aaron and Lynn from Richard Parks Gallery, my cheerful part time employers. Their bread was ready to go, but I was distracted and forgot the bag in the hallway. We were not even down Cottage Street when I realized my mistake and went back.
I opened the door, and Buffy the Chow Hound ran upstairs - always a sign of a dog fleeing its owner's rightful wrath. Brown paper pieces littered the floor - but not even a crumb of the Almond Bread. It had been completely wolfed down, in less than five minutes!
I was still steaming when Richard, the best of all husbands, suggested that I might just see it from a different point of view: the Almond Bread was excellent - Dog Approved!