September 8, 2014

how to (mostly but not really) ruin bread

Bleary-eyed, I should have gone to bed a crazy hour ago, but as usual I'm smitten with must-have-recovery-time-itis and am staying up way past tired in order to .... um .... read facebook and tell you about today's bread-baking fail.

I was going to teach Spice, who is always eager to get her hands on a new kitchen skill.  Actually, Sugar was assigned to teach Spice, but then Sugar got wrapped up in making a K'Nex tow-truck for His Imperial Majesty Lil' Snip, and as I would always rather work in the kitchen than with toys of any kind (although I must admit that K'Nex and Legos, once you are roped into using them, are head and shoulders above *shudder* dolls), I quickly acquiesced to a change in plans:  K'Nex for Sugar, bread-baking lessons for me and Spice.

Spice eagerly located the recipe, read it twice per my instructions, and assembled her ingredients.  She measured and stirred like a pro, and only turned it over to me when her arm was exhausted.  I got the kneading started and then gave her a shot at it.  Her hands are still too small for a three-loaf batch of dough, but she gave it her best effort, and compensated nicely for her handicap.

We tucked it into the warmed oven to rise. . . .

. . . . came back at the timer's cue to punch down the bread and shape the loaves.  This time Spice just watched the shaping.  Another time or two, with her sharp eyes recording every nuance of motion, and she'll be ready to do it herself.  We set the resting loaves back into the oven to rise a second time, timer cued once more.

When it rang, I set the loaves on the counter, turned the oven on, and paid some bills while I waited for the "click" that signals the oven has reached temperature.  Placed the loaves into the heated oven, and then set the timer for 20 minutes - guesstimating because I'd let an known number of minutes go by before remembering the timer.

It called me back all too quickly and I pulled open the oven door to check them.  Wow, they got big ... but still too pale.  A few more minutes, then.

Five minutes later they were still awfully pale.  And then it dawned on me:

The oven was on WARM.


Not, for instance, 350 degrees Fahrenheit, as the recipe specifies, and as I have successfully accomplished for each of the roughly 18 million previous times I've made bread.

Nope.  "Warm."

Well, there was nothing for it but to crank up the heat to 350 and hope for the best.  I mournfully apologized to Spice for ruining her first ever batch of bread, and she cheerfully offered to help me mix up another batch.

I am here to tell you that if you let bread rise for 30 minutes in an oven set on warm, after it has already risen for its allotted time of 30 minutes, and only then turn the heat on to the proper temperature . . . .

. . . . the world does not end.  The bread, despite my pessimistic certainty, was not even really ruined.  The center of each loaf will be too crumbly for sandwiches, to be sure, but it tastes great.  We'll snack on it, or at worst, turn it into bread crumbs for all those recipes that I don't use that require breadcrumbs.

So it often goes with life:  Something [small] goes awry.  Unplanned.  Skewed.  I lose my cool, convinced that all is now doomed.

And life goes blithely on, largely unaffected by the bumps in the road that I mistook for mountains.

{I dunno, ya think there's a lesson in here somewhere??}

Tell Me a Story


  1. Oops! Oh well, it happens to the best of us. I burn things ALL the time. Especially bacon...

  2. My hubby and I take turns burning up kettles - HA - Your bread was not a total failure and your daughter received a good lesson on how to set the temperature. Thank you for sharing your lovely true story with us here at “Tell Me a Story.”


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