Monday, October 22, 2012

The Pinterest Bread Fiasco

Yes, I will admit it.  I am totally addicted to Pinterest.  I love to waste time scrolling through endless pins that promise untold levels of blissful creativity.  This weekend I guess I was craving a culinary adventure, so food pins were catching my interest. The title of my Pinterest recipe board is "Food Porn".  I feel that it is aptly named because the images posted there are meant to cause lust in the eye of the beholder while the end product is unattainable and usually unfulfilling. 

Mmmm...Homemade bread.  Mouth watering, right?
 This weekend I fell victim to the false hope of making homemade bread effortlessly in my cast iron dutch oven.  The pin bragged  that the bread "tastes like expensive restaurant artisan bread, but literally takes 5 minutes of work. Chewy and soft on the inside, crisp and crunchy on the outside."  I looked at the list of ingredients - flour, yeast, salt, and water.  That sounded simple...too simple.  I should have known better, but with my husband eagerly encouraging me to discover the secrets of breadmaking, I decided to try it. 

I mixed up the ingredients and let it sit overnight for the first rise.  Everything looked just as it should until it came time to turn the dough out and form it into a ball for the second rise.  The pictures showed a beautifully formed ball of silky smooth dough.  What I had was a big, glob of ooky, sticky, gummy mess.  I meant to take a picture, but my hands were too glopped up to even think about it!  By the time I got done wrestling 'the blob', as I referred to it in my head, I was seriously regretting my decision making capabilities.  Determined to make it work, I perservered.

The recipe says to heat the dutch oven for 30 minutes at 425-450 degrees.  When I opened the oven door, I realized that the pot was smoking.  It had the sickly overheated Crisco smell.  The comments on the recipe had mentioned the possibility, so I just kept forging on.  I dumped my poor excuse for bread dough in the pot, put on the lid, set the timer, and hoped for the best.

When it was done, I took off the lid and my hopes for a miraculous transformation were completely squashed.  My bread was ugly.  There was no getting around that point.  I just hoped that it tasted good.

The Bread of Frankenstein!
The crust on top was crisp as promised, and the bottom was downright hard.  I couldn't cut it.  I had to just break off the slices.  The inside was chewy alright.  I baked it to the required 200 degree internal temperature, but it was still a bit gummy.  The worst parts were that in places it tasted like the smoke from the pot, and there were little flour pockets throughout from my completely incompetent preparation of the dough ball. 

The Autopsy

Will I try this recipe again?  Dunno.  If I do, I'll be doing a little more homework first to compare other recipes and tips for breadmaking.  Don't get me wrong.  I'm not saying that the recipe isn't good.  I'm just saying that it didn't work well for me.  Maybe I missed something or just plain screwed up, but it definitely did not deliver the "artisan quality" bread that I was lusting after.

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