Monday, November 26, 2007

Daring Baker?

Well, at least it looked good!

This was my first challenge for the Daring Bakers group, and I so wanted it to be successful. It wasn't. But it was daring.

The challenge was to make Tender Potato Bread. When I saw this, my heart immediately dropped; I'm a sweets baker, and I had never attempted any sort of yeast product. Quick breads, sure. Pasties requiring endless foldings and other machinations, right-o. Yeast bread - never.

But the whole reason that I joined Daring Bakers was to expand my baking horizons, so, there ya go. Talk about being outside my comfort zone! I guess I was just hoping that I would be able to post at least once with something awesome before I had to post a project with a grade of PHAIL.

Anywhoo. I followed the recipe but I couldn't seem to overcome the stickiness of the dough. No matter how much flour I added, it remained sticky. I tried not to add too much, as the recipe warns, but after what seems like 100 cups of flour, I still had a Devil of a time handling the dough. The dough did seem to rise properly (but what the heck do I know?), and my loaf baked to a pretty shape and color. I was finally encouraged. I read the warnings about cutting in to it too soon, so I let it cool completely. And then - it just stunk. I wasn't done enough (after forever in the oven). It was HEAVY. I hated the taste. I was so bummed.

So, what did I do wrong? I have no idea. I've never made bread before - and I likely won't again (unless it's for a DB challenge). And I know that that sounds like a spoiled child - I am being a spoiled child. But here's why - I didn't have any fun making the bread. When I bake, I am usually happy, excited. I love the smells, the textures, the tastes. There was nothing that I liked about making the bread. I don't LOVE bread the way some people do. If I couldn't ever have a piece of bread again, I wouldn't be heartbroken (unlike, say, ice-cream or asparagus). And then there's the "I suck" aspect. Sure, I've had desserts and meals fall flat. Sure, I have had to learn proper techniques, just like everyone else. But I have never spent so much time on something to have it be completely INEDIBLE.

In closing, I sucked at this challenge. From the looks of things, I was in the minority on that. I think my "anti-yeast" attitude was part of the problem. Imagine that. But on the positive side, I loved looking at everyone else's creations, and especially the "additional" items people made. The flavor combinations people came up with are inspiring. And I am very psyched to be part of this groovy group of people, because I am sure to learn a ton of good stuff. I may even learn how to make a loaf of bread that I can eat.

And, hey, I'm looking forward to the next challenge, since there's nowhere to go but up!

Oh, I also made Ham and Swiss Rolls with the extra dough. My boyfriend ate one, and Mom ate one. They pronounced them, "not horrible."

Comment posted by Sheltie Girl
at 11/30/2007 8:03:00 AM
I'm sorry you had such a hard time with your bread and didn't like the taste of it. Kudos for sticking it out as a true Daring Baker!

Natalie @ Gluten A Go Go

Comment posted by Julie
at 11/29/2007 3:01:00 PM
Ack! I'm heartbroken for you! I wasn't a huge bread fan, either, until I started finding incredible breads. They have to be incredible for me to really enjoy them, though. I do hope we get a bread recipe sometime that will work out awesomely for you!

Comment posted by Ivonne
at 11/28/2007 8:17:00 PM
Hey, sometimes recipes just don't work out. But that's reason to consider it a failure. Good for you for trying it out. Hope the challenge works out better for you next month!

Comment posted by Christina
at 11/28/2007 7:13:00 PM
Aw, I'm sorry to hear that, but I'm glad you tried it anyway and some of it turned out great!

If it makes you feel any better, my first attempt was like eating paste. I tried it again but cut the recipe in half so I could get a handle on it and I did, so stick with it and eventually it'll come along. But don't let this stop you from making savory bread!

Welcome to the DBers!

Christina ~ She Runs, She Eats

Comment posted by Tartelette
at 11/28/2007 6:30:00 PM
Sorry it did not meet your expectations. There are a couple of DB challenges that left me blah too but I enjoyed the whole group baking expereince. Hope your try your hand at bread some day again with an easier recipe like a simple Italina bread or breakfast loaf. WTG for staying with it though!

Comment posted by Jen Yu
at 11/28/2007 1:47:00 PM
Oooh, I'm sorry! But, you know those rolls you made look soooo good! As for the bread... this was probably not the easiest recipe for a first-time yeast bread. Maybe try something easier (and far less sticky) like cinnamon rolls? Those are fun and delish. I'm sure you will get the hang of it and boost your confidence. Don't give up on the bread - it's really quite lovely (stuffed with delicious fillings - omg!). I commend you for your effort :)

-jen at use real butter

Comment posted by Deborah
at 11/28/2007 1:46:00 PM
I'm sorry you didn't enjoy it! I liked the foccacia WAY better than the loaf. I don't think you should swear off bread baking, though!!

Comment posted by slush
at 11/28/2007 9:45:00 AM
Aww, Im sorry it didnt turn out as you hoped it would. There is always next month! Your loaf looks absolutely perfect however!

Comment posted by Gretchen Noelle
at 11/27/2007 4:44:00 PM
Too bad you were unhappy with the challenge! They looked very nice, but taste is always another thing. But, you have the DB spirit by baking something so far out of your comfort zone. Hope your December sweets are a success!

Comment posted by April
at 11/27/2007 10:24:00 AM
Congrats on your first challenge! They look wonderful!

Comment posted by breadchick
at 11/27/2007 9:56:00 AM
Way to stay with it even though you don't like baking breads. I would say though, as a "Bread Head", don't give up on not liking to bake bread. There are plenty of other recipes out there that don't take the time this one did that you will enjoy making...and some of them are sweet too! Welcome to Daring Bakers

Comment posted by Rosa's Yummy Yums
at 11/27/2007 6:53:00 AM
Your breads look wonderful! I love those rolls!



Comment posted by Peabody
at 11/27/2007 1:38:00 AM
Sorry your bread did not turn out how you wanted it to.

Comment posted by wmpe
at 11/26/2007 10:35:00 PM
wYou did great for your first attempt at bread. I hope you try to bake bread again. Heck, I am on my 20th year of making Thanksgiving turkey and this years was still not the wonderful turkey I imagined but I will try again next year. Great flavor combos on your rolls, too. Wendy

Comment posted by Shawnda
at 11/26/2007 7:40:00 PM
Aw, sorry it didn't turn out. There's always next month :)

Comment posted by CB
at 11/26/2007 7:19:00 PM
I'm sorry your bread didn't turn out like you'd hoped. I was new this month too and also a sweets baker and was so scared.

I'm glad you stuck it out and hopefully next month will be SWEET!


Dolores said...

I am sorry that you struggled with your first challenge, but I don't think you failed. For the daring bakers, failure isn't in the outcome but in not taking the risk to try. You took that risk, stepping substantially outside of your comfort zone.

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

This was not an easy bread. And when you made the bread it was a huge challenge on many levels for you. That is not failure, simple the place to start from.
Sometimes you can make a recipe yours and sometimes it is elusive. Try again.
Your loaf really did rise and turn golden beautifully.
Not knowing more I'd say it's possible you added more flour than this could take. It's a challenge to work with wet dough. I've had to change my attitude some from "It can't be this sticky" to "don't fight it, it's sticky and it'll wash off when I'm done." I know that sounds funny but it worked for me.
sorry it took me so long to drop in here.