Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Loaf That Was Not to Be

A few years ago, my pal Margaret sent me a bread machine as a birthday present. After the initial gluten-based delirium subsided, we got over the bread-making frenzy and more or less ignored the machine until I met Daniele. He, too succumbed to the same delirium that had enveloped us, and rekindled my passion for the intoxicating perfume of fresh-baked bread wafting through the house.

I, however, had trouble getting loaves to come out consistently right. For whatever reason, Daniele managed to pull it off, so he became the primary creator of all things yeast-related. I had the best luck with the "dough" setting, shaping and baking the loaf outside the machine. Soon, I was making some pretty fantastic baguettes and focaccia on a more or less regular basis.

Today, I thought I would welcome Daniele home from school with focaccia. I started a batch of dough and checked on it after a couple of minutes. The stem thing that holds the paddle on was loose and the paddle hadn't combined the flour with the liquid. I removed the bucket and liquid dripped out of the bottom. I gave up on that batch and started another, making sure that everything was aligned correctly. It seemed to be going well, so I went about my business.

10 minutes or so later, I heard a crash in the kitchen. Since the cat has developed the bad habit lately of checking on things on the counter, I yelled at him, assuming he had knocked over dishes in the drainer. But no -- Fred was cozily ensconced in his chair in the living room, dreaming kitty dreams of catching the squirrels and blue jays in the yard. I continued to the kitchen. There I found the bread machine on the floor, the lid about 3 feet away and the bucket upside down. I had scrubbed the kitchen floor pretty recently but hadn't yet swept today and there was dirt stuck all over the dough. I decided that was enough for the day and threw away the second batch as well.

Oh, when Daniele and I went out to the car for me to take him to school, the battery was dead. Something pretty damn wonderful better happen to make up for my morning. Harumpf!

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