Post # 102 Baking Day

March 13, 2013 at 6:50 PM | Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments

Today was baking day.  It’s not set day of the week, just when I happen to do the weekly bread baking.  On that day, since I’m going to be in the kitchen for a time, and the oven is on, I tend to try to do any baking I want to get done all at once.  This follows a tradition going back hundreds of years, and pretty much for the same reason.  The house gets got only once a week.  In the days before a/c that was critical.

So today I set out to make the bread for the rest of the week, and I decided to try a recipe that I haven’t done before.  Anyone who has known me longer than a day, or has read every single post on this blog, knows that I like donuts.  My favorite is the plain old-fashioned, sometimes with chocolate icing.  I’ve been looking for a good recipe for this for a long time.  A couple of nights ago, one of my favorite tv chefs was on making the exact donut I’ve always wanted to learn to do.  I recorded the show and this morning, while the bread was proofing, I took copious notes from the show.

Now this guy, he has a scientific explanation for everything.  So all his measurements were in ounces rather than cups, etc.  He explained why and it all seemed reasonable, but not reasonable enough for me to rush out and buy a kitchen scale.  So I went to the website and found the recipe with conversions.  There were also reviews and I only glanced at one which said the donuts were good, but the recipe was misleading.  I wish I had paid more attention to it.

So I went through the steps, which on the surface were very simple.  Bloom some yeast, heat some milk (which I naturally didn’t have and had to go to the store to buy), melt some shortening, grate some fresh nutmeg, add it all together with flour, salt, and sugar.  Using the stand mixer with paddles and dough hooks was supposed to make the process painless.  Well, that’s where I floundered.  You see, the review said that the recipe needed much more flour than it actually called for, but didn’t specify how much more.

So, following the cooking show guy’s instructions, I ended up with a brown, goopy, soupy mess.  I decided to keep plugging through, hoping some miracle would occur and eventually everything would come together.  It didn’t.  So I decided to add flour in quarter cup increments.  Each time I added the flour, it would start acting like I was expecting it to and my hopes would soar.  I’d soon have fresh donuts!  Then emotions were dashed as it devolved into soup again each time.  When I got to twice the amount of flour originally called for, I gave up.  I turned it into an oil bowl, covered it, and left it rise for an hour.  Twenty minutes later, as I was walking past the counter where the bowl was, I saw that the goop had indeed risen and was overflowing the bowl and plastic wrap, and was quickly set to take over the counter, sink, and floor.  Spreading a large amount of flour onto the counter, I scraped everything on the flour and started patting the sticky mess into something resembling order.

After another full cup of flour did not alleviate the sticky sodden mess, I’d had it.  I scraped everything into the trash can (with a liner) and set about cleaning the mess that I’d created.  Our sink does not have a garbage disposal, so we have to be very careful about not letting solid waste into the system.  So I had to use nearly an entire roll of paper towels to get as much of the dough off utensils and out of bowls as possible.  In the midst of this, I got called away to assist in some small chores around the yard.  An hour later, I returned to finish cleaning.  I’d had the foresight to fill each bowl with hot water so the floury mess had dissolved.  I was able to clean everything quickly.  Then I went to throw something away.

The dough mass in the trash had expanded and was nearly ready to overflow!  It had incorporated every piece of trash in the process.  All I could think was “You will be assimilated.”  Shaking my head, I poked my finger in the middle of the mess (mass?) and it deflated rapidly with a delicious aroma.  I only wish the donuts had worked!  So I took the bag out of the can, tied a knot in the top, and threw in the big canister in the alley.

So much for donuts.  But the search goes on!

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