Thursday, August 09, 2007

Bad, bad baking

I've had a run of bad luck with baking lately. My second to last loaf of sandwich bread did not go over too well with the demons.  I have to tread a careful edge on the whole wheat to white flour percentage with them. I thought I had found a good balance but then I tried with this loaf to add some oat bran to it. Apparently it added a barely noticeable density to the bread, which was just too much for them.  Their basis for comparison is Wonder bread, which admittedly I love too, so I know I am fighting an uphill battle on the texture front.   And I must admit, peanut butter on a slice of dense wheat bread is like eating spackle in my opinion (which i have not voiced to the demons, they arrived a similar conclusion completely on their own).  So I decided to make a different loaf of bread, a 'fluffy sandwich loaf' it claimed and it used a similar proportion of wheat to white that had been working ok for me.  This loaf had 3 rising periods, which is a pain if you are not around all day to check on it and despite that it turned out like a brick.  With DS2 repeatedly begging for 'san-ich, san-ich Mama!' I bought a loaf of Wonder bread. 

Then yesterday I decided to make a cake. I had some yogurt that I needed to use in the next day or so and a recipe for yogurt cake I wanted to try out.  I baked it the initial 40 minutes but it was underdone so I baked it a bit longer & the toothpick came out clean (I've been having that issue with my oven with everything lately.  I need to get a new oven thermometer, the last one got fried when DH ran the the 'cleaning' cycle) It smelled good and looked good.  It cooled & I iced it. Dessert time came around & I started to cut it.  I have never had to SAW slices off of a cake before but I knew when my steak knife was having issues sliding through it there was a problem.  The outer couple inches of the edges of the cake were overbaked & rock hard.  The inside was underbaked.  I cannot recall the last time I have spit food out, let alone cake, but I couldn't bring myself to finish chewing it.  The icing was ok,  but it was Duncan Hines. 

So I am on a baking hiatus.  The cake problem can possibly be blamed on the high humidity - there was too much flour in the mix. Also I am just hopeless baking sweets.  I can bake bread and make a delicious cobbler, but that is it as far as baking goes for me.   The bread flour is kept in the fridge at a constant humidity, though I suppose possibly the humidity did something during the risings...  or there could be a problem with the overm  I won't know about that for awhile. It's too damn hot to be using the oven now anyway.


loonyhiker said...

I am feeling much better about cooking after reading your post. I am trying to cook more at home now that I'm retired. While cooking dinner tonight, I cut my left thumb which wouldn't get out of the way of the knife while slicing the cabbage head. Then I opened a can of mushrooms (which has this pop top kind of lid). I pull and pull and somehow it comes out and cuts my right middle finger pad. This cut would not stop bleeding. Of course I could not find my bandaids anywhere. I finally had to turn the gas on warm to keep the things in the pot cooking while I applied a paper towel pressure to my finger. I thought I was going to have to call my hubby up to get stitches. How embarrassing! Finally it stopped and now I look like the walking wounded.