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Oops...or I don't always have to be perfect

Posted Feb 01 2013 5:53pm
Originally, I intended to bake a Blueberry Cream Cheese Bread.   Whenever I find something online I want to try, I copy it to either Word or a recipe program I have so I can make notes while I cook/bake.  I'm a cookbook scribbler, I make copious notes about what went right, what went wrong, and what I want to try differently next time. Especially with bread recipes. Since I don't want to get my laptop doughy, nor can I scribble on my screen, I always print out the recipe.

I'm going along, carefully measuring and weighing all my ingredients, when I think "Something's wrong, this dough doesn't have the right consistency." So I checked the original recipe, and I see that it calls for 2½ cups of flour, not 1½ cups of flour which is what I'd written down. So I pull out my flour, and my defective brain had a little glitch right then and I added two more cups of flour. My brain then says "Oh crap, now what am I going to do. I really don't feel like stopping and figuring out all the percentages to adjust the dough. Hmmmm, I'll throw in some sour cream (which I had just baked with yesterday with great success), and a little vanilla almond milk, and a little extra yeast. Oooh, how about adding a little honey since it is supposed to be a sweet dough, and while I'm at it, I think I'll throw in a handful of raisins." Before I added the raisins, the dough still seemed too dry so I decided to soak them in rum. Brain hard at work again: "Shoot, not much rum left in the bottle, might as well just drink it while I wait for this baby to rise."

Meanwhile, my now rum-addled brain is thinking about the 500g of starter I need to use up because I've decided to downsize my daily feedings. I remember reading a formula that someone had posted somewhere (I'm not telling because I don't want to further embarrass myself by admitting I screwed that up too), on how to figure out how much flour, water, and salt to add to a starter. OK, I suppose they weren't thinking of 500g of starter, but after dumping in the water I forgot to measure (oops, again), and a seemingly never-ending amount of flour, it became obvious this wasn't going to work in my stand mixer. So wonky wrists aside, I attacked the mountain of what was supposed to be bread dough (nothing to show the scale of that behemoth pile, but it's about 500g of starter, possibly 1500g of white & wheat flour, and maybe 1000g of water, along with salt and honey).

Amazingly after I have no idea how long, it finally started to resemble dough. The dough and I needed to rest, so I sat down with the remaining rum and some lunch. Phew!

After resting for a half hour, I kneaded the beast a few more times and set it aside to rise (hopefully).

Back to the original Oops Bread. Oh.My.God. I've overestimated the size of this loaf, and it's more than doubled it's size in less than half an hour. I slash away (with one eye closed expecting it to fall), slop on some egg wash and pop it in the oven.

Insert fanfare here:

Phew! Pulled that one off. And now back to the behemoth blob...Greg's mom asked me to make mini-loaves, so I divided the dough up into eight minis, and two large loaves. As you can see, the minis came out perfect, but where I underestimated the size of the original Oops Bread and used too small of a pan, I overestimated the size of these two and used too small of a pan. Oh well, I suppose I can't have everything go swimmingly, can I?

Everything I've read tells me bread baking must be precise, one must carefully weigh or measure the ingredients in order to have success. This philosophy has always worked well for me because I'm a perfectionist. But I'm about to get up to clean my flour-flung kitchen in which I had a blast throwing this, that, and the other ingredient into a couple of seemingly hopeless piles of dough. I forgot about depression and the oddly-named arachnoiditis which is causing a huge amount of pain, and have some great loaves of bread to show for it.

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