Monday, May 18, 2009

BBA CHALLENGE: Anadama Bread redux and complaints about science

Okay. I am trying the Anadama bread again in the machine, having reduced the yeast by half and teaspoon and the water by two tablespoons. I should know if my hit-or-miss methods of recipe troubleshooting actually worked in about two and a half hours.

See, this is what gets me: science was hard enough in school. And school was, well, one frikkin' long time ago. Which is why I'd like to register a protest that it is not fair that bread baking is scientific. I've been told that the first part of Peter Reinhart's book, The Bread Baker's Apprentice, is all about the science of baking bread. I think this sounds interesting, but I'm not altogether certain I'm going to understand it. Because my bread machine and I have been such boon companions these last ten years, there are a few little things I know, but I don't know why I know them or how I learned them. And most of my bread-baking knowledge involves things that are of no help whatsoever, like how I know to add more water to the dough when the bread machine makes a certain little groaning sound.

Oh, dear. I'm beginning to think that if this new loaf turns out well, or, heck, if it turns out to be bread, it will be a miracle.

I checked out a few blogs of people who are doing the BBA Challenge, and I was so intimidated by some of them, I just timidly crept away without even leaving a comment. One person was all, "I knew I would have to adjust the amount of water due to the high relative humidity here today" and I was all, "So now I'm finding out that I have to consult the local weather report before I can bake a loaf of bread? AAAAAAAAGGGHHHHHH!!!!"

How have I done it all these years, just casually throwing ingredients into the machine's bread pan, sometimes measuring them in the palm of my hand?

I am worried that I was once an unsullied idiot-savant in the breadmaking world, and now that part of the idiot has been removed, my savant will be shown to be disappointingly insufficient. You might laugh, but has happened to me so often before, like with knowing how to put on eyeliner and make good sun tea.

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