The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

A comedy of errors!

midwest baker's picture
midwest baker

A comedy of errors!



 


What a day! I"m amazed this loaf made it to the table. Everything that I could do wrong, I did wrong and it still tasted good. Hamelman's corn bread is a yeast bread with some corn meal (flour) in it and mostly bread flour. It's a moist, heavy, but at the same time soft bread. Delicious. I started making the bread at 10 am today. I mixed the preferment, thinking I could bake tomorrow. I decided to make half a batch then I went to Applebee's with my friend, Cathy. On the way home I was daydreaming and started to turn in front of a car. Whew! That was close! When I got home, the preferment (which was supposed to sit overnight) hadn't really done anything yet and I started the bread anyway (I don't know why I didn't wait until tomorrow). Forgetting that I was only making half a batch I warmed the wrong amount of water and tossed it in the bowl, without measuring or weighing it. What was I thinking? Then I added the corn flour, weighing it first (amazingly). Then I realized that the preferment was for a half batch. Okay, I thought, I can figure this out and save it. I did everything I could to make it into a full batch. But it won't have the flavor, I thought, so I tossed in a couple of spoonfuls of my sourdough starter, thinking that might give it a little flavor. Then I realized that I wasn't supposed to make the bread until tomorrow (crap!). I finally got the dough mixed up according to directions and it seemed okay. But then I decided we may as well have it for dinner and if I followed instructions, the rise time and folding would take too long. Soooo... I kneaded it longer until it almost passed a windowpane test and let it rise for 1 hour. It doubled so I made up loaves and let it rise about 40 minutes. The instructions called for baking at 460 degrees. I thought I would give them a boost and start at 500 and immediately turn it down to 450 when I put the loaves in. When the loaves were finally in the oven, I used my teakettle to put boiling water in the steam pan, or tried to. After fully steaming my right hand (ouch!) and spilling most of the water on the oven door and floor and stone, I gave up. The loaves were doing well after about 10 minutes so I set a timer and sat down in the living room where I couldn't hurt anything else or myself. A few minutes later, I smelled something burning. AAK! I forgot to turn the oven down. The loaves were very brown and only a little burnt but not done on the inside so I put foil over them (so they wouldn't brown anymore) and turned the oven down to 400 and let them go another 10 minutes. The back of one the loaves is very burned but I didn't take a picture of that.
Despite all of that, the bread was actually very good. I wonder how different it would taste if I made it correctly.
I hope you don't think I'm like this all the time. Today I just had one of those "should have stayed in bed" days. Anyway, next time you're having a bad day, read this again! It'll make you feel better.


Mary


 

jbaudo's picture
jbaudo

Your bread does look yummy by the way.  I'd eat it!  And yes I had one of those days just last week.  Got rear ended on the way to the bakery, didn't feel like dealing with waiting for the police so I got the guys info and a promise that he would pay for any damages.  Then I went to the bakery where I bought too many birthday cakes for my son (long story!) and ended up buying a bunch of cookies for myself (which actually made me feel better).  Later I also tried to make some bread but forgot to put in the yeast, etc etc.  The day just went on like that until I passed out in the bed.  We all have bad days, I know how you feel.  It's just a good thing we have yummy homemade bread at the end of the day - even if it does get a little too browned.

EvaB's picture
EvaB

but you did manage to salvage the bread, and even if its not exactly the recipe that it started out being, it looks good.


I've had whole years like that, where I just wondered why I bothered to get out of bed in the first place. They do eventually go away! But revisit in the odd day that I just shouldn't have bothered getting up! Had one of those last week!


Then there are the days like I've been having, which are fine, they just don't do what I want them to, like the room clearing I'm doing right now, its been far more work than you would expect, and I'm still working on it. Moved a stove last night (wood so it was very heavy) which actually took less effort than I had expected, but now I have to clean under the stove which sat on a metal clad piece of probably asbstos! And of course that means moving more stuff so I can get to the right area, and get it clean.


This all started because I wanted to floor the room before I put different stuff back into it! It was only supposed to take two days, well we are up to day 6, and its still in serious need of makeover, and the floor isn't clear enough to work on! Can we say NORMAL for my life!

midwest baker's picture
midwest baker

Thank you both for your words of encouragement. It sounds like you've both had days like this. My brain is just fried lately, trying to do too many things at once. We all need a vacation! Hmmm.....Caribbean, Italy?

EvaB's picture
EvaB

its hurricane season right now so the Caribbean is not a good place to go. Of course if you want to put off the vacation for a couple or three months then it might be ok!


In lieu of vacation time, stop a minute and just have a coffee, or whatever you enjoy, read a book, or watch a tv show without feeling like you "have" to be doing something else, me time is always needed.


If you can't simply can't sit without doing something, take up crocheting, or knitting, both can be picked up when you have a few minutes and both will destress you, but even better is cross stitch, they did tests at the big Olympia show in England, and found that 10 minutes of cross stitch lowered blood pressure, so destressing is needed. It clears brain fog (unless like mine its caused by fibromyalgia, then its harder to get rid of) and lets you think for a minute, so you can really go ahead and do whatever else you need to do.


I like to go sit in my back yard on the lawn swing, not able to do that right now as its cold and rainy, but on nice days its great, listen to the birds, look at my yard and garden (pitiful one that it is) and in 10 or 15 minutes I can get back at it, and operate on all cylinders. So take a mini vacation for a few minutes, and do something you enjoy and just let your mind wander, its better for it! Then it won't do it when you need to keep on task!


 

amauer's picture
amauer

I usually have this kind of day when I try to take on too many breads, dessert, etc. I am such a world class klutz too, so that just adds to the comedy. I am the type that has to leave the salt by the dough after autolyse or I forget it. I wish I even could count the times I have tried to double or reduce a recipe only to add too much or too little.... I laugh out loud at myself and some of my results, "bakers burns", sliding across the kitchen on a dog bone while removing a bread, and so on. Yesterday I had the best results ever with white sourdough, but one loaf, I got too confident slashing and degassed it on two sides. High in the middle and short in the sides. Tastes great, though! Problem was when I lifted the stainless bowl up and tried to remove it, I wasn't prepared to take a few seconds and got a big blast of steam and just about dropped the pan, but hung on with only a minor burn. LOL! Andrea (P.S. I slept until Noon and seem to be having a good Holiday). Your bread looks good!

midwest baker's picture
midwest baker

The dog bone story sounds like a goody! I'm also a klutz, always burning or cutting myself in the kitchen. Sometimes I'm driving down the road and can't remember where I was going. It comes to me eventually.


I need to take some time and not always have so many irons in the fire. I'm just so distracted lately.   Brain fog is an excellent word for it.


Come to think of it, last time it was this bad I was pregnant. But  since that's not possible, maybe it's hormone related. I'm 52, it's possible. Great :(.


 

EvaB's picture
EvaB

it might be hormonal, menopause is not a fun time, but to go through it with fibromyalgia (like me) makes it ten times worse. The brain fog trippled, and quadrupled to the point I would ask my brother what I was doing,and he was the one with brain damage causing short term memory problems.


I eventually found something that works somewhat for the fibro, so the fog is better, but I still forget what in heck I'm doing, got half way down the stiars, did something on the stairs (probably picked up something) then started back up, I was going down to get my yogurt out of the fridge for breakfast! Can't evne remember to eat. Darn!!!


I stopped ironing clothes years ago, because every time I did, I managed to burn myself to the point of blisters. Bakeing is better, don't burn myself too often, but don't ask me to fry steak! I wound up with deep burns from the fat trying to cook fresh steak for the mighty hunters. It was good meat, but boy oh boy that burn was a pain in the butt (well actually my right hand and I'm right handed) for a good month.