Apologies in advance for the lengthy lengthy post. I’m working on learning how to write good blog-length updates 🙂
I’ve always been puzzled when I read/hear about how so many people are terrified (er, nervous/apprehensive, whatever term you like) about baking. They say this is because vs cooking something (in the oven/on the stove/wherever), there’s a lot more “science” and “sepecificity” to baked creations-ie you can add a little bit of this and that to a regular recipe and not have to be super particular with measurements without worrying about messing things up, but with baking its the OPPOSITE: one wrong dash of anything and its OVER!
Ok, I may be slightly (muchly) overexaggerating that last bit, but I don’t understand why anyone should be any more nervous of baking than of regular cooking-take me as an example: you know that “rule” about how you’re not supposed to overmix your wet and dry ingredients when making a cookie/cake etc for fear of making the result not so great?(tough/texturally wrong, I guess? pardon my ignorance) Or the rule that you’re not supposed to PACK flour into your measuring cup, but more lightly spoon it in, because otherwise you’re grossly over measuring? Well, I only ACTUALLY started adhering to these guidelines a few months ago, being blissfully unawhare of my “grevous” errors beforehand. And I’ve been baking for wuite some time beforeand. And the thing is…I don’t recall any of my baked goods ever coming out poorly before I made this change (for that reason anyway 😉 Too sweet/burnt/flans not setting up *there’s that flan thing again!*is another story). Maybe I was just lucky that all of my mismeasuring and mistakes never really messed anything up for me, but in my opinion, don’t be scared of baking, ladies and gentlemen! Its not at all a big deal, don’t obsess over measurements/weights (I’m not saying ignore the recipe, but you know what I mean): your result WILL be delicious, promise 🙂
What was the point of that loooong rant/speech?: Its that I only have one exception to this fear-less baking philosophy….yeast.
Yep, I’ve yet to tackle any sort of recipe that involves working with that unique warm-water-loving bacteria. (cue audience: so hey, blogger lady, about 50+% of what compromises baking you’re actually scared to do because it involves yeast? homemade bread, pizza dough, cinnamon rolls, etc etc. Soooo basically everything you’ve said above is kind of a lie. Well done.) Its too time processing! (“um, baking/decorating a cake can take just as long”), what if it doesn’t rise? (didnt you just finish saying “NO FEAR it will all work out?”), it makes a flour-y mess everywhere when you try to work with the dough! (“..please, don’t even try to tell me you don’t make a massive mess in your kitchen EVERY TIME you do ANYTHING in there.”)…ok, so maybe my baking philosophy comes with a little(BIG) footnote 😉
I’ve always been impressed by those who so frequently tackle such yeast-full conconctions, especially with bread making. Bread is SO beyond delicious (all kinds, I don’t discriminate with my carbohydrates!), but I’ve never mustered up the nerve to try to make it at home when I could just buy a pre-made version from any number of places (your standard grocery store to a farmers market)
But hey, there is some solace for the yeast-fearing bakers out there-Beer Bread!
Take your bottle of beer, dump it in your dry ingredients, and let the yeast already in the former do all the work for you! (Plus for those of you who aren’t huge beer lovers *points to self* but have bottles and bottles of the stuff left in their fridge from parties and visitors long gone, this is an awesome way to use it up) None of this waiting for dough to rise or kneading stuff! It took me probably 15 minutes from start to oven with this (and for those of you who don’t take forever to gather ingredients and clean up the flour that you spill everywhere while trying to take it out of the cabinet, probably more like 5!)
And let me tell you, the result was DELISH. Supposedly the flavor of the beer does remain in the bread after baking, and I could definitely taste hints of the one I chose (Sam Adams Octoberfest), but the flavor was lacking the distinct “beer-y” aftertaste (yes, we’re getting very scientific here) that I’m not a fan of. Like being able to taste the flavor of a dark coffee without any of bitterness afterward. But BONUS, a day later, I honestly couldn’t detect any beer flavor at all. just delicious, thick, crumbly bread goodness!
Recipe modified from the lovely lady at The Pastry Affair-I absolutely love her blog and check it daily for unbelievably scrumptious looking recipes! The only edit I made was to switch out one cup of the bread/AP flour with whole wheat. aaaaand skip out on the butter. (Lookit me! I’m trying to be healthy! more baby steps, I suppose :)) But it tasted plenty good even without it!
…Gotta freeze most of this quick before I chow down on all of it in much too quick a time period.