Sunday, December 8, 2013

A Breadmaking Oops

Yesterday, I was having what I am beginning to refer to as 'menopause brain'.  It's kind of like a record with a scratch in it:  everything goes along like normal, then suddenly there is a moment of "what was that?!?" where the needle hit the scratch and skipped a little.

For me, it happened while I was making bread for the coming week.  I got out all the ingredients, the mixing bowl, the measuring cups and spoons.  I began measuring ingredients and adding them to the mixing bowl.  I stirred them all together.  I began kneading the bread.

At which point, something about the feel of the bread under my palms just wasn't right.  It registered in my brain:  Did I add the yeast?

Suddenly, I doubted myself.  I ran through a mental replay of what I had measured and added to the bowl just minutes before.  I couldn't remember measuring the yeast.

To double check, I looked at the teaspoon, which is the one used only for measuring yeast (all the other ingredients are in tablespoons or cups).  I could not see any little yeasts on the teaspoon.  Usually, a few stick to it after I dump it over the mixing bowl.

Hmm.  Too late now.  Can't add the yeast after all the flour has been worked in to take up the moisture.

I finished kneading the dough and set it to rise as usual.  Then, just to be safe, I mixed up a second batch, making sure to put in the yeast.

An hour later, it was quite clear that I definitely had not  put yeast in the first batch of dough.  It sat sullenly in it's bowl, not any larger than it had been when I first put it there.  The second batch had doubled, filling it's bowl (both bowls are the same size, I have two Pyrex bowls specifically for rising dough in).

I went ahead and treated the second batch of dough as normal--punching it down and shaping into loaves, then setting it aside in loaf pans for a second rise.  Once risen again, I baked those two loaves.

The first batch of dough I determined I would experiment with rather than call it a complete loss and feed to the chickens.  I took out my two largest cookie sheets and greased them.  Then I divided the unleavened dough in half, and rolled each piece into a thin rectangle roughly the size of the cookie sheets.

One dough rectangle I brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt.  The other, I brushed with melted butter and sprinkled freshly grated Parmesan over top.  Then I baked them at 425 degrees for roughly 20 minutes.  I say roughly because I started with ten minutes, then didn't think they looked done enough and added a few more minutes to the timer.  This happened a few times, so I lost track of the exact cooking time.  Plus, my ovens are a bit out of whack, not keeping a constant temperature all the time and through the entire oven, so some edges got burnt.

Anyway, they came out edible.  Not great, and not exactly like crackers (which was what I was attempting), but definitely edible.  I think they would be good dipped in hummus like pita bread.

butter & Parmesan

olive oil & sea salt

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