Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Bad at Baking

I really enjoy making things.

Sometimes, I stop thinking. Like last night, when I put the vegetables on the stove to be steamed, but never turned on the burner. Or the other time when I didn't turn on the burner to cook rice. Or how I have forgotten to turn on the oven to cook chicken...

A friend gave me a zucchini (so kind of her), and I've been wanting to make zucchini bread for a while now. I pulled up a recipe, and realized that I had exactly half of the amount of vegetable oil that was required in the recipe.

Okay. Cut the recipe in half. Easy. I'm a math teacher. I can divide by two.

Halfway through mixing I forgot I was halving the recipe, and started putting in full amounts of ingredients. Oops. I ran to the store to get the rest of what I was missing, and quickly doubled everything that was previously halved and finished making the batter/dough.

Blunder solved! Because I'm a math teacher and can multiply by two.

I tried to put away the flour. Instead, it ended up staying on the kitchen floor.

You see, we ran out of flour a week or so ago, so Hiram bought a HUGE bag of it. I've been carrying it around by holding it inside of a plastic grocery bag (the flour leaks otherwise). When I picked it up to move it back to our shelves, the grocery bag split and I spilled the flour. I was holding the flour bag AND the plastic bag, but apparently it was too heavy to hold steady. My black shorts changed to a nice white and grey, and the floor was looking pretty nice, too.

I grabbed the broom and the swiffer and fixed my mess.

FINALLY, I started pouring the batter into bread and muffin pans. After I had dished almost all of it into the pans, I realized that there was about a teaspoon of nutmeg at the bottom of the mixing bowl. So, I scooped out all of the batter, put it back into the bowl, and mixed more thoroughly.

For a second time, I scooped out all of the batter into the baking pans. I set the pans into our oven. You would think I would be able to relax and wait and read Harry Potter (since it's his birthday). But no... I don't trust our oven.

Let me explain: our oven is temperamental. Sometimes it takes 10 minutes to preheat. Other times it can be turned on for over an hour and nothing will happen. I can bake the same recipe over and over and produce something different every time.

I don't trust our oven.

After forty minutes (when they should have been done), the muffins and bread had risen about a half inch, but were extremely watery. I closed the oven door and reset the timer for ten more minutes. After about five minutes, I smelled smoke. I opened the oven door, and saw that the batter had overflowed the bread pans and was burning on the oven floor.

I actually saw flames. Small ones, though.

As this was my first oven fire, I think I did a good job. I made sure the fire was out, took out everything that was still baking as well as the rack that had batter. I scooped out some of the zucchini bread batter and put the bread pans back in the oven on a new, clean rack and on top of a cookie sheet. Then I let the zucchini bread continue baking. I opened up tons of windows and turned on all of our fans. I'm still curious as to whether Hiram will smell the smoke when he comes home...

The muffins came out a little interesting, but the bread is perfect. Which is wonderful because I'm keeping the muffins and giving the bread away.

Weird muffin. Awesome bread. Raw zucchini for me to bake tomorrow.
What I learned from this experience:
  • Always check how many ingredients I have before baking
  • Don't trust plastic bags
  • Put less batter in my pans (really, I filled them about 3/4 of the way, and thought this would be fine since that works for banana bread)
  • Bake in someone else's oven 

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