Thursday, October 26, 2006

Cheddar Loaf


Tuesday, October 24, 2006
My neighbor Laurel invited me for a dinner party on Tuesday, and, when I asked if I could bring anything, said, "How about a loaf of your good bread?" Well, when she put it that way, I couldn't say no.
As Evil Cake Lady (who really does not seem to be at all evil) reminded me, breads can actually be made without mixers, and I am ready to knead away by hand until my KitchenAid is returned to me.
But the problem here was not the mixer so much--it was time. I had a party at my house on Monday, and I had to go to work on Tuesday. I spent a lot of time pondering this question, and finally decided to make the bread at work. Yes..it would be National Take Your Bread to Work Day!
After I got rid of my guests on Monday night, I mixed the sponge and let it sit out for an hour, then put it in the refrigerator while I slept. The next morning, I added the cheese, mustard, and cayenne to the basic white dough recipe and put it in my dough rising container. Then I gathered up everything else I needed and sped to work in time for an 8:15 meeting. By 9:30, the dough was ready to be turned out and shaped. My friend Susan, who is the kind of person who watches every TV special about the alarming number of germs found in hotel rooms, yelled at me: "You can't put that dough on that table! It's disgusting!"
"Ha!" said I. "I'm way ahead of you. I brought in my disinfecting cleaner." "You can't use that gross office dishcloth," she warned. "This is my own perfectly clean dishcloth." "Your bread will taste like disinfectant!" "I brought in a second clean dishcloth to wipe the disinfectant off." Oh, I was pleased with myself for thinking of everything.
At 11:00, the dough had doubled again, and was ready to be put in the loaf pan, which I had, of course, brought--because I thought of everything--and covered with oiled plastic wrap--did I mention I thought of everything. The bread was really rising very nicely because at the end of October, my office is considerably warmer, and much less drafty, than my house.
At 12:30, I drove my loaf pan home and put it in the oven. The cheese-flecked dough was an inch above the top of the pan, and it looked great. By 1:45, the bread was done (it looked perfect), and I went back to work for our monthly office birthday party.
Yet the bread was not quite as perfect as I had thought. When I tasted it, at the dinner party, I got a puzzled frown on my face. Not a frown of disgust, just puzzlement....something wasn't right. I was puzzled enough that I went back over the recipe and suddenly realized that I'd forgotten the salt! You really wouldn't think that forgetting a teaspoon of one ingredient would be enough to make you frown.
And, to make matters worse, I had brought along unsalted butter to the party for the bread. Fortunately, there were a lot of highly flavored ingredients in this bread, so the lack of salt didn't make it bland--just not perfect.
This is what happens when you try to read a recipe and mix something up at 6:15 a.m. after having had only half a cup of coffee. Or maybe I shouldn't blame the coffee. Maybe I should chalk it up to getting my just deserts for being so smug about being Wonder Woman. She's never late for meetings! She whips up amazing breads while writing briefs! She always has everything under control! Not.

14 comments:

Chubbypanda said...

Thank goodness. For a moment I thought you'd forgotten to wipe away the disinfectant.

- Chubbypanda

breadbasketcase said...

I guess that would have been worse than no salt.

Rose Levy Beranbaum said...

you've gotten me giggling with delight again! this is TOO good a story. by the way, salt retards the rising so it probably rose faster than usual.
what dedication you've displayed! the bread as usual looks magnificent.
in the spirit of full disclosure i'll report that we once drove to nj with my pumpernickel sourdough being kept warm between my thighs--o.k. it was in the acrylic dough rising container so don't get upset. actually i had to deflate it once during the drive. i'm sure it would have made a very funny picture.
this all just goes to prove that dough can withstand a great deal of changes unlike wine and that if one is determined one can accomplish what seems to others to be miracles!

kneadtobake said...

Your loaf looked like perfection, the only bad part was the fact you were taking your bread to a party to be shared by people who knew you were a bread baker. You know how Rose has you add the salt last? I once added it along with the other flour ingredients by mistake, and my dough would not rise properly. I have been making her breads now for over three years ( since the BB came out )and I still have to constantly go back and read and re-read her instructions for fear I will screw up.
Good luck as you near the end of your bread baking project.

Rose Levy Beranbaum said...

fearing i may forget the salt as well, i always measure it and have it sitting by the bread ready to add.

evil cake lady said...

Thanks BBC; I'm not really that evil...except that I get people to break their fasts/diets/healthy living when I bring around one of Rose's cakes.

Will you continue blogging your baking escapades after this year is finished? I would miss your blog if you didn't.

breadbasketcase said...

I usually have the salt out by the mixer so I won't forget because I've come close before. I agree that bread is much more forgiving than you would think--like when my oven conked out in the middle of baking a loaf of bread and I had to run it over to my neighbor's house to finish it. I'm not sure you could do that with a cake (and I don't want to find out).

breadbasketcase said...

ECL,
I think I'm going to continue the blog--it's been a lot of fun. But I do best if I have a goal or a deadline, so I don't know how faithfully I'll blog if I don't have either one.

Anonymous said...

Please do continue your blog, I love it and I just found it by accident a few weeks ago. I had been given Rose's book for my 29th birthday and was searching around the internet for baking product...the kicker is, I live in Minneapolis too! Anyway, I made the mistake of reading your entire blog in one night and now it is almost over!! So, I vote for continuing...you are a wonderful writer...and baker.

Question, I am usually pretty tech savvy but I can't figure out how you all have screen names on this site, it seems you either have to have a blog or write as anonymous, is that right?

BreadBakingBeginner

breadbasketcase said...

Beginner,
I hope you don't live in Blaine, as I said some unflattering things about it. I hope you love baking these breads as much as I do (my other New Year's resolution--to lose ten pounds--has kind of gone by the wayside, however).
Getting a screen name isn't as complicated as they make it look--you don't have to have a blog, just a name. Like BreadBakingBeginner, for example.

breadbakingbeginner said...

Okay, so the name thing may not be as hard as I thought, and no, I don't live in Blaine, yikes that is way out there!

We live right in Minneapolis near the Lakes...well, far enough away that our rent is cheap but close enough to say "we live near the lakes".

Anyway, per your other entry I am off the read the instructions for the low-salt bread possibly for a weekend project...

Anonymous said...

FROM SHEILASBAKING:
I agree with everyone else who reads your site. You're a most amusing public defender. Your baked goods look fabulous. I own the very KitchenAid that you have been gifted with. I use it to bake every week (selling my wares to a small circle of folks.) I also check out your site every Monday morning (at my desk at work). It always brings a smile to my lips. I'll miss you when you're gone (from the internet, that is.) Well done, Breadbasketcase.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations, I wish you great baking. I am looking for a recipe of cobblerstone bread. It is sweet, and has filling
thanks - shanti

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