I hate yeast. I hate bread. I don't mean I don't like to eat it. I love to eat it. Fresh out of the oven, nutty whole wheat, flaky and crispy. I love it all.
And while I pride myself on being a pretty fantastic cook (I cook 90 percent of our meals when I'm home), I have never been able to make bread. I can't do it.
I'm a follow-the-recipe kind of guy. I don't vary from the recipe. I don't mess with how much corn starch, flour, sugar, etc. Somebody did a lot of scientific research writing that recipe, and I'm not about to substitute white flour with whole wheat flour willy-nilly.
So yesterday I found idiot-proof bread recipe. You don't even have to knead it, for crying out loud. There are only three ingredients, but one of them was yeast--my arch nemesis.
It's a new year, I told myself. I'm a grown man, I told myself. I can do this.
Well, apparently, no I can't.
The first problem came when the recipe said the dough would be shaggy. What in tarnation does that even mean? I know Shaggy from Scooby Doo, but that didn't seem to apply. And shaggy means hairy, but my dough (thankfully) didn't sprout hair. What it did do was look exactly like an albino cow pie, and about the same consistency.
The dough is supposed to raise for 12-18 hours; the longer the better, the article said. So I dutifully waited 18 hours. The dough is supposed to have bubbles, the article said. And it did! Maybe I had finally found the one kind of bread I could make.
What piled out of the bowl was soupy, runny, and still sticky. The jury was out whether or not the dough was shaggy, because the jury didn't know what shaggy meant either. I had followed the recipe to a T, but the dough was still a horrible mess.
I pressed on. I dusted with flour, I covered with plastic, I folded and tried raising it. Two hours later my pile of dough still looked like a cow pie. The article says, "dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger". Mine didn't double at all, and just sticks to your finger. It looks exactly like something that grows in size and takes over the town in one of those movies they used to show late at night, or on Saturday afternoon on the UHF channels back in the 80s. The dough sits there, like a sleeping sentient being. Like a bloated pimple on a whale. It's cooking right now, and it smells delicious, but I know that when it comes out of the oven it's going to be a flat, hard, tasteless pile of crud.
Because that is how all my bread turns out.
I'm going back to cooking bacon. I have a few new recipes to try.