Bread Apocalypse

Last post, I alluded to several botched attempts to bake bread. Since I’ve made something of a blog tradition from the ashes of my culinary failures, I figured, why not throw the Great Bread Apocalypse (May 2009) into the mix? (hahaha, yes, it’s kind of an unintentional pun, go screw)

Last Christmas, my parents bought me a 12-cup Cuisinart. I was superexcited at first, imagining a new world full of complicated purees and perfectly sliced vegetables, but once I removed the unit from its styrofoam packaging and had the chance to examine its four different rotary blades and three separate feed tubes, I came to the unfortunate conclusion that the whole thing was gonna be a serious bitch to wash. The Cuisinart was promptly shelved.

But, as the saying goes, everything has a season. Spurred on by Gourmet and NOT about to mix bread dough by hand, my own Cuisinart season began in earnest last Sunday afternoon.

At first, breadmaking seemed science-experiment awesome. Like, ooh hey, look how COOL that shit is with the yeast! It’s like, FOAMY, holy crap! I busted out my new instant-read thermometer (again, courtesy of Katsu) and dutifully ensured that all liquids were heated to the proper temperature. I busted out my little-used dry measure cups and patiently knifed off the excess flour. I may even have hummed to myself and donned an apron, so loving was my endeavor. All was bliss, until I dumped everything into the Cuisinart at once. Guess what happens when you dump three cups of liquid and five cups of solid into the Cuisinart all at once? A HUGE FUCKING MESS is what.

There was milk everywhere. EVERYwhere. It oozed out from underneath the mixing bowl where the base meets the detachable unit, it ran down the brushed steel sides of the machine housing, it spread itself mercilessly across my counter. That shit was under the vinegar bottles, behind the spice rack, down the cabinet and inexplicably, INSIDE the lazy susan. Lest ye wonder how I feel about milk, I hate it more than I hate a cheap rum hangover… so cleaning the renegade dairy was pretty much the nastiest thing I’ve ever done. like, ever.

Then, guess what? I did the whole thing again. AGAIN! The yeast amazement, the simmering, the measuring, the ill-fated combining, and the ensuing 20 minutes of revolted, gagging milk-mopping.

The key, I learned, is to slowly incorporate the liquid, after having added the dry ingredients to the yeast. Do not, under any circumstances, try and pile five cups of flour onto three cups of stagnant milk. Free advice.

In other news: I’m taking an indefinite leave of absence from my place of work, which is a polite way of saying that I quit my job but am weighing my options. So I guess I’ll have plenty of time to refine my breadmaking technique, while I sit on my ass and wait for the market to turn itself around.

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