Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Excedrin Headache #300, Baking Bread

I know, I know, that's Anacin and not Excedrin. It's really only there as a comparative visual aid, so that you can see how tiny my loaf was and how badly I suck at baking bread. **BIG sigh**

Perhaps baking bread is a bit like bowling. You imagine that just because you've had a couple of really good games/loaves, you're ready to join the PBA (Professional Bowlers/Bakers Association, take your pick.) Then you get your stinky rented bowling shoes knocked down a size or two by rolling a 96 and you realize that bowling that 300 game just minutes earlier was only a fluke, like that perfect loaf of bread you baked last week.

You beat yourself up wondering what you did wrong. What changed? Did I screw up on the approach by adding in that tablespoon of potato flour? Did I knead to the left when I should have kneaded to the right? Was my pan too big?... too small? (They never have the right size at the rental counter)

Here's what I did. I headed back to the pro shop. That would be King Arthur's Flour. I learned that my bread pans are indeed the wrong size. Evidently the difference between a pan that is 9 x 5 and one that is 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 is enough to significantly change the height of a loaf by as much as 30%.

So like any pro who is having an off day, I ordered more tools of the trade.

Sooner or later, I'm going to get this right.

On a side note, I had no idea that my choice of headache medicine dates me. The kids call Anacin "that 70's aspirin."


Susie in northern NY said...

Ok I'm not sure why you are putting down your bread. :) I see you have done that in other posts too. You are indeed a very good bread baker.
HAVE you heard about the bread challenge using Peter Reinhart’s The Bread Baker’s Apprentice: Mastering the Art of Extraordinary Bread book?
It is starting on Monday.
There are three different ways to get involved. One is through Twitter, the other is Facebook and then there is a google group too.
There is a Flicker photo group too.
You can go here to read more:
Here last paragraph reads this:
To join the BBA Challenge, please e-mail pinchmysalt AT gmail.com with your name, the e-mail address you would like to use for the group, blog url (if applicable), and twitter url (if applicable). The deadline to join the challenge is Sunday, May 10.
I love your blog,

Mags said...

Call me an idiot Susie, but I just signed up for this...lol

Thank you for letting me know about this. It does sound like fun!

...and as always, thanks for reading and commenting.

Mags said...

Hey Susie... do I need to order the cookbook in order to participate in this?

Susie said...

Yes, you do need the book. I bought mine through ebay and probably won't be here for a few weeks. Most are going to a book store to get it. The first recipe from someone who already did is here:
I think it starts on Monday and the first recipe she is giving two weeks because some are waiting for books.
Here is the challenge on TWITTER:
Here is the challenge on Facebook:
Here is the google group about the challenge. This is my favorite because you get individual emails from everyone. You can read them on the web though.
It doesn't matter if you join one or all. :) If you have any questions holler.