Bread making can bring about both funny and disappointing anecdotes. Yeast is the beast — it is difficult to really grasp the right amount of proportions. Measuring seems pointless sometimes when it really depends on how your dough is behaving. My first bread-making attempt involved measuring everything as exact as possible; the dough was very wet and sticky. I had thought it was weird, but assumed that it may be normal since I was using the suggested proportions, as written in the cookbook. Duh, I should have added more flour! It tasted yeasty — I should have punched and kneaded more, allowing it to rise eventually over a warm and wet tea towel in between punches.
My second attempt last night was successful in taste and texture, but it did not turn into a loaf. It was a pretty cinnamon baguette instead. It did grew double its size, however. Where I went wrong: I did not use enough dough! I had followed the recipe’s instructions to divide the dough in half. Sorry, there are no embarrassing pictures — just imagine a log or a baguette, with sweet cinnamon swirls inside. Now, I understand why the French refer the bread as “le pain”. (However, taking the English literal sense!)
My mother has got her own funny story — the dough did not rise in double its bulk. The dough would yield 28 steamed meat buns, but there were only 4 of us, so she divided the dough into four. It was actually quite delicious, despite how dense the buns was. Boy, was I full!
In a lot of ways, bread-making will test your patience, just like it would in dating or growing a tree — it is a series of processes. (Unless, of course, you have got a bread-maker or a fairy godmother.) It gets to knowing how yeast behaves in various environments. Bearing in mind that cookbooks are usually written in a country with climate/environment different from yours, suggested proportions of ingredients are a mere guide — not an if-all-and-be-all.
Despite not succeeding this time, I am going to try again until I get it to perfection. 🙂 What are your funny or despairing bread-making moments?