Monday, July 26, 2010

Bread 2, Shawn 0

Shawn attempted to make bread again yesterday.

It wasn't quite as bad as the first time in some regards (there was no yeast being thrown all about the kitchen), but it was worse in others.

Shawn has a case of ADD. This is the reason, he believes, that he does so well with drumming--it keeps him focused, and it's something that he can do mindlessly with his hands while his brain is elsewhere. Back in high school and college I remember that he NEVER stopped drumming. EVER. He'd be doing homework and his left hand and legs would be tapping out some rhythm, he'd be reading a text book and there'd be some tribal beat, and if his hands and feet couldn't move, then his tongue was always clicking away - seriously, he'd be good at speaking Swahili, I swear.

So it comes as no surprise that he needs a recipe to look at when he's making food. He just can't add things because he usually forgets that he added them in the first place. A recipe provides a nice little list that he just has to go off of. So now the problem is that the recipe that he keeps using for the bread is a recipe that makes 2 loaves. we only have 1 loaf pan. So he just halves the recipe. His brain can't do this because it's like "okay, the recipe calls for 1 tablespoon of sugar in 1 cup of water, so I need to put in 1/2 tablespoon of sugar and Oh Look! Shiny!"

so he managed to make the recipe correctly, but used a full cup of water instead of half a cup. Which means that he added more flour to get it to the right consistency, but once again, by the time he got to adding the flour he forgot he was halving the recipe so he didn't think of it until he was cleaning up the kitchen while the dough was rising.

He was so mad at himself and could not be made to feel better (though I'm sure the fact that every time he started cussing himself out I would laugh and tell him that it wasn't that big of a deal and I'm sure the bread would be edible didn't help much. But I was helpful in so much that I went and re-wrote the recipe for one loaf of bread instead of 2, maybe it will help). The dough rose, and it fell. Half was put in the loaf pan and the other was left to its own devices on a cookie sheet (looked roughly like a loaf of french bread). The loaves were allowed to rise a second time (as the recipe calls for).

and then the oven was turned on.

I have crappy cookie sheets and so the smaller 2 always make a large clanging noise and torque themselves into a funny, non flat shape when the oven gets above 250. And of course the oven was above 250, so it caused the French bread loaf to fall. And all of Shawn's hopes and dreams with it. (okay not really, but you get the gist)

In the end, I think it turned out better than the first time--some of it was probably because the bread wasn't as overcooked (I made him check the internal temperature about 10 minutes before the timer went off because I said it smelled like it was done to me). The French Loaf is all flat and looks a lot more like a biscotti loaf than a French loaf. The regular loaf looks like a brick.

He keeps insisting that it's him. I keep insisting that he try a different recipe. I figure he's got one more time in him before he calls off making bread of any kind for good.


The Spiteful Chef said...

Okay. Stop, collaborate and listen:

1- Don't halve your recipe-- just get a second loaf pan. They're not expensive, and bread loaves freeze very well.

2- Go to AceMart. Now. Get two 1/2 sheet trays made of the heavy-duty steel. They last FOREVER, are cheap, and won't ever torque or bend.

3- Always plan on adding more flour than called for in TX's humid environment. Ideally, keep the additional recipe, but add another 1/3 C of flour to it.

4- Poor Shawn

5- Poor Katina

6- Once you guys get the hang of it, bread is SO easy in that climate and altitude. You'll laugh at how silly these little screw ups really were. I promise.

Dani said...

Poor Shawn. there was improvement though. :)