The Unthinkable Just Happened

Just to be sure that the universe is not amiss, I scoured the news and I saw no articles about time shifts, dis-harmonic resonant frequencies, alternate dimensions intersecting our own, benevolent beings awakening dormant strands of our DNA, multi-verses colliding, Thoth resurrecting ancient wisdom or knowledge, Atlantis being found, or anything else that could explain the extreme anomaly that occurred yesterday. Thus, the only thing that can explain yesterday is perhaps a miracle.  Or I finally got it right.  My money is on the miracle option.

Yesterday, I baked bread that was edible and good!

For those who are as inept in the kitchen as me, it should come as no surprise when I say that my past efforts at baking bread have been anything but stellar. From the loaf that looks heavenly but has the weight and density of a bar of gold, to the unfortunate yeast calamities whose result was effectively, a compact brick, to biscuits whose tops are barley brown but whose bottoms are charcoal-like and smoking. My attempts at baking have resulted in one spectacular disaster after another.

And it’s not that I haven’t read all the articles on how to bake, because I have. I’ve read every last article on the entire interweb, to no avail. I’ve purchased organic ingredients, used the purest water and bought and proofed the freshest yeast. And still, at no time in the past have I been able to pull off baking an edible anything.

Until yesterday, that is.

With exceptional optimism and subdued pride, I formally announce that my fortune may have changed!  I am ecstatic to write that I may have gotten past my crippling baking handicap. I found this recipe on the interweb and decided to give baking yet another try. Typically, after each baking disaster I need to give myself about two years to repair my ailing self-esteem. Only then am I fully charged and ready to give it another go.

It’s been much longer than two years, and with the holidays coming up I thought it’d be nice if I had some fresh, homemade dinner rolls on hand. So off to the store I went in search of ingredients.

Before I proofed the yeast this time I got a thermometer and made sure the water was no more than 115 degrees. Only then did I add the yeast and sugar to the water, and waited patiently for it to foam and smell like bread. After about fifteen minutes, the yeast looked and smelled just right, so I prepared the rolls exactly per the recipe. I knew I was in good shape when I saw the dough rise according to plan. I was trying not to let my enthusiasm run away, but that was nearly impossible given the success of the dough rising on not one but two occasions. Satisfied thus far, I popped the dough into the oven and tried not to watch it like a hawk, in case that old “a watched pot never boils” saying was actually true.

When the timer went off I pulled them from the oven, inhaled deeply, exhaled with a sigh, and pulled one of the rolls out of the pan. In spite of the second degree burns to my finger tips and palms, I pulled apart the roll, slathered copious amounts of homemade vegan butter on it, said a quiet prayer and took a bite.

Oh, my…

Heavenly!  Flakey!  Tasty!  Edible! Is this really happening? It is!  Edible baked goods.  I couldn’t have been happier or more proud. Finally! Flour products made by me that amounted to more than just an organic door stop. I thought this day was never going to get here. I believed for years that there was no way that I’d ever be able to make a tasty loaf of bread, a flakey biscuit, or tender dinner rolls.  And now that this day has arrived, it’s everything I dreamed it was going to be.

I am filled with anticipation of my next baking success. Fearless I will be, the next time I attempt to bake flour, water, sugar and yeast. I can hardly wait to experience my home filled with the scent of freshly baking bread. My dreams of being a great and fabulous baker have been restored. I envision homemade, complex, sourdough rye bread from a sourdough culture that I started and have continued to grow for great periods of time. I envision country-style biscuits fresh from the oven, just like in those TV commercials, rosemary flat bread, and a whole bunch of other types of bread I haven’t discovered yet. All baked by me and all being exquisitely wonderful. Dare I say, even highly sought after.

“I like dreams of the future better than the history of the past.”

Now that I’ve come back down to Earth, just to be sure this wasn’t a fluke I’ll be making these again sometime this week. I really need to know that wasn’t just a freak accident. If the next baking story doesn’t appear until 2016 or so, that can only mean that subsequent attempts at baking haven’t been as fruitful as my last.  On the other hand, I could be writing a whole lot more about baking bread.

On Tep, on!

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