Major Failure

15Dec08

I usually post when I make yummy things.  Usually the things are either good and easy to make, or really good and a little bit harder.  You might get the impression that I eat well all the time.

Of course, you don’t hear about night before last’s stir fry that was perfectly fine, just not perfect, the batch of Pad Thai that was a bit overcooked and watery, the dinner of toast and pecan pie.  To be fair, there are some things that are very yummy that you haven’t heard about.  Pasta casserole, two (!) Thanskgiving dinners, and the spelt crackers (oh, the spelt crackers), and I do mean to tell you about at least some of that.  But I hope I give off the (correct) impression that when I get into the kitchen, while what comes out might not be exactly as planned, but it’s still edible.

Like the time I failed at making truffles.  Sure, I could only get about 3 of them to hold together enough to look even remotely like a truffle, but y’know what we had instead?  A big bowl of melty chocolate.  And when you get a bunch of college women a bowl of chocolate and spoons?  No one is complaining that the shape is wrong.

But yesterday I failed.  Failed.  And I’m not even sure exactly where I went wrong.

I keep meaning to make No-Knead bread.  I have yeast, I have flour and salt and a loaf pan.  But my man-creature likes whole wheat bread.  Some recipes call for half All Purpose Flour and half Whole Wheat, which I suppose would be fine.  Some recipes call for a flat pan, or some sort of container of water, or making 4 batches worth at the same time…  All of which I’m willing to experiment with, but preferably later.  I do not have a stand mixer, so the No-Knead sounds particularly nice.

And someone linked to someone else, and the other day I found this recipe–  It was super easy, and had me excited about never buying bread again!…..  And then it came out of the oven.  The texture?  Okay, I suppose, but not inspired.  The bottom seemed damp.  Oh, and then I tasted it.  Perhaps buying overpriced bread isn’t a bad thing….  because this didn’t taste like something I want to eat.  It was salty.  So salty that upon further consideration, it was decided that “deer would like it!

What did I do?  It called for two teaspoons of salt.  Did I use Tablespoons?  No.  The teaspoon was dirty, the Tablespoon was not.  Other recipes call for only 1/4 a teaspoon less.  Perhaps the whole wheat tastes saltier?  I used normal salt rather than my more usual kosher, which ends up with less salt content per unit of volume.

Of course, the failure makes me want to try even harder.  I’ll try white no-knead next.  And if that doesn’t work (and at some point even if it does), I’ll knead.  But I will have bread.  I will!

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7 Responses to “Major Failure”

  1. 1 Audrey

    My first attempt at No-Knead Bread was pretty much a failure. I had a hard time getting the dough to rise in my cold house. Using whole wheat dough probably adds another set of problems to troubleshoot, though.

    I haven’t made the bread in a while — No-Knead definitely doesn’t have the same “bready” flavor as my favorite bread from Farm to Market (http://farmtomarketbread.com/) and I haven’t taken the time to research bread recipes that might turn out closer to what I like.

  2. 2 almostima

    Don’t be so hard on yourself. If I could do it, you can do it! I tried it here: http://almostima.wordpress.com/page/3/

  3. 3 cosetthetable

    Audrey- I was worried it was too cold, but I put it in the microwave with a mug of boiling water for a while, and that kept it warm enough (I think….)

    Almostima- Thanks! I know I’ll get there eventually, I’m just not used to total and complete “just throw it away” kind of failure. Especially not on something that it renowned for it’s easiness. I also have no idea what went wrong!

  4. 4 Karen

    We’ve made a lot of no-knead bread at our house, but so far just with white flour. There have been many, many threads on the topic — some of which I have saved at home but not at work.

    LONG rise is important, so you might have even gotten it too warm for a brief period of time. And I know that Bittman does his whole wheat in a loaf pan, but we really like the results from the original recipe cooked in a covered round cast iron pan.

    I’ll link to more later when I am home.

  5. 5 cosetthetable

    I imagine that I would also love the results of the original recipe cooked in a covered round cast iron pan. Sadly, however, I’m not cooking in your kitchen recently, and my options are a loaf pan, a cookie sheet, 8×8 or 9×13.

    I suppose there’s also the Bundt pan. That might be interesting.

    In any case, : P.

    I’ll email you back about the other thing as soon as I can without sounding like Jane Austen. (Just finished Mansfield Park again, so it is a serious risk.)

  6. 6 Zia

    When I bake bread I always use all whole wheat, and I’ve never had the too much salt problem (the last time I put to LITTLE salt, but that’s another problem…). That is weird, though. The one time I made no-knead bread I had the not rising problem.

    Sorry I don’t have anything helpful. But I feel your bread pain.

    Hugs and good luck!

  7. 7 sabrebelle

    I’m late to this discussion, and I have never made No-Knead bread, but I make all of my own regular bread, and it’s almost always whole wheat. Two tricks to get a better rise: mix 2T of gluten flour into the whole wheat flour and add 1t. lecithin to the water, if you’re not opposed to soy. I find that it doesn’t work every time, but it helps.


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