12/22/2008

Baking When Sleep Deprived

Since it seemed clear yesterday that the boy was on the mend and sanity was, once more, descending on our little household, I decided that it was as good a time as ever to give baking a King Cake a whack.

Every year for the past...two? Three? Either friends of ours or we have ordered a King Cake round about Mardi Gras time and I fully lay the blame for at least 5 of my extra pounds on my friends and their stupid King Cake tradition. Cause really...those things are sinful. Anyway, she of the friends has lately been hankering for said toothsome concotion. Now, this hankering can probably be laid on her pregnancy...but once she mentioned it, the rest of us started hankering as well and so it came about that I offered to give a recipe I'd seen Christina tout a try. In the immortal words of Tim, "What could possibly go wrong?"

I have a love/hate relationship with all things yeasty. I love making them. They, however, appear to hate me. I'm not sure I've ever lived in a house where the kitchen was not drafty. Or at least, this is what I blame my failures on, because it doesn't matter if I go to the store that day and buy the yeast, it doesn't matter if I verify the lovely little frothy beings are working their magic at the beginnning, it just doesn't matter...anything I try to make from scratch that involves yeast ends up somewhere around the consistency of lead. I would love to actually lay eyes on the phenomenon called "doubled in size" that supposedly yeasty doughs achieve...I'm not convinced it's not a myth.

Regardless, feeling optimistic I checked that the house was a toasty 71 degrees and had a quick glance at the recipe to make sure I had everything I needed. I did, so I gathered up the ingredients and tossed the yeast into warm water (110 degrees - I even used a thermometer to be sure, thinking that this was place #1 where I usually go wrong). I added the sugar, I let it sit then I stirred it and put it in a warm place for 10 minutes. It didn't look super frothy, but there was froth, so I was hopeful. I continued along and was particularly pleased with the glossy and elastic I achieved after kneading. I even congratulated myself that this time it really looked like things were goingn to work out.

During the first rise (1.5 hours), I set about making the filling - pleased that I had remembered to take the cream cheese out in time for it to soften. And, with 15 minutes left in the rising, glanced back over the recipe to try and figure out the next step. And that's when I saw it. And I knew, at that moment, the exact leaden consistency that this cake would have. A peek into the oven (where the dough was rising out of any potential drafts) only confirmed what I already knew.

I don't even really have anything good to blame it on other than the fact that I was tired. But see, the recipe calls for 2 packets of yeast. I had added only 1.

I went ahead and finished the experiment. The only things I can really say about it are this:
1) The filling tastes incredible, and if I ever manage to make it correctly, it's gonna be darn good.
2) Don't drop it on your foot. I can't be held liable for any fractures that occur.

1 comment:

Library girl said...

Oh dear! Got to love "baking gone wild" hehe.