Saturday, April 5, 2008

Bread conquered me. Jam conquered Bread.

Had a disastrous experience with our favorite Challah last night. It could have been one of a number of mishaps:
  1. When proofing the yeast, I added the oil before the water. Oops. The oil created a barrier, and the yeast could not intermingle with the hot water. I hoped that when I added the whole mess to the flour, that would break this enforced chastity, but the yeast might have been so coated with the good word of the oil that it refused to come into physical contact with the water. Crap.
  2. I was quartering the recipe and not being super precise. I think I erred too much on the plus side with the liquid, and on the minus side with the flour. I should have paid attention to Wild Yeast's great tutorials on the baker's percentage.
  3. I made it in the morning and intended to let it rise in the fridge during the day, so that I could bake it at night. Usually, the Challah takes 1-3 hours to rise at room temperature. Mr. Challah did not like Mr. Fridge, and refused to embrace upward mobility.
In essence, I came home to some clammy cold play-dough thing. My Mom, who's visiting for the week, refused to admit defeat and nursed it into rising a wee bit over the course of the evening, enough to convince us to let it continue putt-putting through the night. I made the challah in the morning... the dough was still cold and clammy but there was more of it. The challah sort of merged together in the oven... no nice ridged braiding, it sort of melded like a round balloon.

It tasted like sourdough, leading us all to believe that it had reached it's peak during the night and fallen. Finiky Jerk. Success at impressing parents: zero. However! My parents just happened to have brought us Fig Jam from Texas and Lingonberry preserves from Ikea (Ikea's practically a state, right? ). It was delicious. Totally masked the sour taste. And the Challah was still soft and brioche-like , so it made a great breakfast bread as we were rushing around to get D to the airport.

So. D is out of town for the week at a conference, and I'm here with my parents. My Mom has already scrubbed my stove and cleaned my toilet, and my Dad is busy cooking up an Indian feast.

I've invited him to be a guest blogger for the occasion.

I hope that's okay.

Maybe I'll blame the bread failure on the weather. Yeah...


Susan said...

Hi Neen, sorry the bread didn't work out too well but fig jam makes almost anything better, doesn't it? I'm looking forward to your dad's Indian feast!

giz said...

I had this vision of a big clammy monster taking residence in your fridge - a Harry Potter type figure and when you give it fig preserves it becomes a sweet fairy :). The good news is now that you've had this experience, you probably won't do the same thing twice.