Last night I tried something that was miles away from my comfort zone. It wasn’t good. But for a novice such as I, it was… acceptable.
Be prepared, folks, this blog post will be chock full of pictures! I took pictures along the way and hopefully we can all learn from my mistakes.
I will start at the beginning. Yesterday I knew that I wanted to try something that I’d never done before. So I searched recipes on Pinterest. I found a remarkable amount of things that I’d like to try, but sadly I did not have all of the required ingredients. Then I saw it. The perfect recipe for me to try. Bread! This is the recipe I followed. (The bread/bun recipe is below that of the sloppy joes, so you’ll have to scroll.)
I gathered all of the ingredients but then realized that I did not have bread pans. Instead, I pulled out a bunt cake pan and used that. *Please note that I doubled the recipe in the link, as I thought it wouldn’t be enough. Turned out I was wrong.
The ingredients for my doubled recipe: (*note: the regular recipe is on the link I posted)
– 2 Eggs plus enough warm water to equal 2 2/3 cups
– 1/2 cup melted butter
– 1/2 cup sugar
– 3 teaspoons of sea salt
– 8 cups of flour
– 3 teaspoons of instant yeast
Then I followed these instructions: (I mixed by hand)
1. Blend all ingredients except flour.
2. Add one cup of flour at a time, mixing well after each addition.
At this point, I was absolutely terrified that I was doing things wrong. Throughout this entire process, the same thoughts careened through my mind – “OMG I don’t know what I’m doing! What am I doing? What am I doing? Should I just stop? Ah! What do I do? Should I use a mixer? Should I use the blender? Ah!”
3. When all the flour is mixed in and the dough stiffens and can be mixed by hand, put on well-floured counter and knead for 5-10 minutes.
4. Cover and let rise for 20 minutes.
5. Punch down dough and let it rise again.
Now, the directions on the link I posted says that the dough should get to about double its size. Well, mine didn’t. I asked my husband about it when he got home and he said that it was likely one of two things: 1. The salt and yeast shouldn’t be added at the same time because the salt does something that cancels out the rising quality of the yeast. (At least, that’s my interpretation of what he said) 2. I over-kneaded the dough.
So, after waiting and waiting… and waiting… I moved to the next step.
6. I divided the dough into buns, one giant clump for my loaf, and another chunk for my strange dinner project.
7. I rolled my dough out and placed it in my bunt cake pan (which I had powdered with flour) and I put the separated buns onto a cookie sheet.
– The instructions then said to cover them up again and let them sit, so I did. It made little difference in this situation, though, because my dough wasn’t rising.
Then I moved on to my odd dinner project. I wanted to use the dough to create something different. I’d seen pictures of things online and thought I would improvise. This is what I did:
– First, I rolled out my dough with my rolling pin.
– Then I got my ingredients ready. I used cream of potato soup (only a half of a can mixed with a tiny amount of water *note: the picture of the soup below is the full can; I separated it after I took the picture) and chopped carrots, broccoli, and cauliflower, then mixed them all together.
– Next, I sliced the edges of my dough and spread the mixture of soup and veggies into the centre.
– I folded the dough over the mixture then brushed a bit of egg wash (an egg mixed with a fork) over it.
*I used parchment paper underneath to keep it from sticking. I didn’t do that for the buns because I figured I could scrape them off if there was a problem.
– I put it in the oven at 350 degrees F for a good 20 minutes, but kept watching it to see if it would cook right. I ended up raising the temp to 375 for another 5-10 minutes, continuously watching it.
The end product looked and smelled pretty good, but in retrospect, I should have pre-steamed the veggies, as they came out still crunchy.
– The loaf and buns went in the oven next. Again, I started the oven at 350 degrees F. The loaf was in for 25 minutes and then kept in and watched for several minutes after that. The buns were in for 15 minutes, and again, kept in and watched for several minutes until I was satisfied with their colour.
The above picture is the under-side of my giant bagel.
The above picture is the top of my giant bagel.
After reading this blog, you may be wondering what it is about this process that was “painful” as the title says. Well, allow me to enlighten you. While I was taking the buns off the cookie sheet, I had the sheet in one oven-mitted hand and the scraper in the other… and for goodness knows what reason, I decided to use my stomach to hold the sheet still as I scraped the buns off. Yes. My stomach. Needless to say, I quickly put the sheet down on the counter and ran for the ice. The burn hurt last night, but it is fine today. But boy is my pride scarred.
In retrospect, I would change four things with this process:
1. I would mix the salt with the flour, not adding it to the beginning mixture with the yeast but slowly with the flour.
2. I would not take out my frustration on the dough. (Because of the first two mistakes, my buns and “loaf” came out thick and dense like the dough of bagels. While tasty, they aren’t my goal result – bread.)
3. I would pre-steam the veggies added in all baking.
4. I wouldn’t use my stomach to stabilize the hot things that are in my hands.
Phew! All done. Now to go enjoy a slice of round bagel toast.
Thank you for reading!