Saturday, April 26, 2008

Rolling in dough

Today, I decided to bake some more of the crusty, no knead bread again. It was a big hit last time. At Gen's request I made a sweet batch and a savory batch. Rather than do the rational thing and split the original recipe into two halves, I decided to make two whole batches. One batch was herb bread, and the other batch was honey wheat raisin bread. The original recipe makes approximately 4 medium sized loaves.

You might guess that I made 8 loaves, but that guess would actually be wrong. This time around, I made the mistake of not reading the recipe closely enough. Just because the ingredient list says 4 cups of water doesn't mean I should immediately add 4 cups of water to the dough. One of those cups is actually for generating steam in the oven. Oops. Needless to say, I had a very wet and loose dough.

Again, I defied rationality and succumbed to my laziness. I could have just added more flour after realizing my mistake (2 hours later after my dough had poofed really big). I instead decided to throw the wet dough in the oven as is and see what happened. Lo and behold, I did actually get really nice bread. Only this time, the crust wasn't quite as nicely formed on half the loaves, and the bread itself was a lot moister and lighter. Also, since the dough was a lot looser, I had a heck of a time dividing the dough into quarters. So, instead of having 8 loaves, I ended up with 11 loaves.

Near disaster was averted by smart thinking on my part. Ok, so there wasn't a whole lot of thought involved. Kitchen disaster was actually fortuitously avoided by a lazy decision on my part. But I'm apparently not the only cook redeemed by careless accidents. Brownies are commonly thought to have been discovered by a cook who accidentally left out the baking powder from a chocolate cake batter. Necessity may be the mother of all inventions, but I say laziness ranks up there for sowing the oats of accidental discoveries.

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