Yeah, Yeah, Yeah… Fails Make Us Better… BS… Coffee Helps Avoid Them!

It is said the only way to learn is to fail. Bullshit. Especially if you know what you did. So this morning, I was all set to bake a batard I had sitting in my fridge since last night for a cold ferment. I got out of bed, performed my morning ablutions, then went into the kitchen to preheat my oven.

Coffee was ready, so I poured myself a cup, then set about to make myself some breakfast. After preparing my simple meal of a toasted sourdough sandwich with some charcuterie meats and cheese, I sat down in front of the TV to watch the talking heads have their post-election discussions.

My oven signaled that it had come up to temp, and without a second thought – and mind you, I hadn’t finished my first cup of coffee at that point – I got up, went to my dough retarder fridge in the garage, pulled the loaf, stuck it on my board, scored it, then popped it into the oven. Then I got some hot water and poured it into the broiler pan I use for steaming.

About ten minutes into the bake, and coincidentally having finished my first cup of coffee, it dawned on me that I probably didn’t give my baking stone enough time to come to temp. So I got my ass up off the couch and checked the loaf.

Expletives immediately issued from my mouth seemingly of their own volition as my eyes beheld the fly saucer shape in front of me. It was like looking at the silhouette of the Jupiter 2 from Lost in Space but in bread form! My potty-mouth soon turned to laughter as I mentally kicked myself for this rookie maneuver.

Is there a lesson in any of this? Obviously, I need to be more mindful. That’s a given. But to be honest, I doubt I would’ve made this mistake had I been a bit more alert.

Coffee helps…

ARGH!!! I Hate When I Over-Proof My Dough!

Flat bread… Ugh! You’d think that I’d have learned my lesson about baking in a hot kitchen. Times are MUCH shorter! But NOOOOOOOOOO! I let my dough rise for too long. The hell of it is that it tastes wonderful, but it’s UGLY. It’s like in high school when your friend is setting you up on a blind date and tells you, “She has a GREAT personality!”

My wife cut a slice and told me that it tasted incredible. I was expecting that because I really let my poolish develop for almost 30 hours. I just wanted to have that great taste with a great look! The picture above doesn’t really show just how flat those loaves are. But they’re pretty flat. And mind you, I’m not really pissed off; I’m more amused than anything else, mixed in with a bit of disappointment.

Pre-shaping, the dough was great. But it was hot, and frankly, I probably should’ve only proofed for about 15-20 minutes tops. But I let it go for a full hour and didn’t bother to check. By the time I got to the loaves, they had collapsed. Ugh! Pissed me off, but in a humorous way.

Failure is part of learning. They all can’t be perfect every time. I just have to be more vigilant next time!