The Great Bread Dough Fiasco
My husband must have been a baker in his last life. In this life he is a man of science. Thad brings the same methodical precision to his passion for baking bread as he did in the science lab.
However, there was one such event that didn’t go quite as he thought.
While his family was down visiting us for the holidays, my husband wanted to bake a traditional Italian bread recipe to go along with my Pasta dinner. Like a laboratory experiment he measured out his ingredients of flour and eggs, putting just the right amount of warm water, sugar and yeast to grow the yeast. Then he created a well within the flour to add the rest of ingredients. He mixed the ingredients, gently at first, then kneading the dough, rolling, folding and even pounding it until it succumbed to his desired shape and texture. The dough was placed in a large crockery bowl only used for raising bread and put in a warm oven to rise for about an hour and a half.
While it was rising, he and the guys wanted to go pick up some wine for the dinner and asked us gals if we wouldn’t mind keeping an eye on it. It would need to be kneaded again before baking.
We had no objection, however, after they left we decided we had enough time to go to our favorite dress shop downtown and have a quick look at the sales.
We should have known there was no such thing as a quick look.
When we got back our home smelled like a bread factory but the oven told us a different story.
The bread had indeed risen. It rose up to the top of the oven, out of the large crockery bowl, down the sides and through the wire racks below. The dough looked like it was bubbling and continuing to rise.
There was dough all over the oven! It looked like an episode from T.V.’s I Love Lucy! This was not funny and we knew we were in big trouble.
My mother in law and sister in law and I stared through the glass window of the oven in disbelief, unable to move or know what to do first.
My mother in law began barking orders like a drill sergeant.
“Judy, get the hot mitts and pull that thing out of there!”
“Loretta, collect as much dough as you can from the oven and put it back in the bowl.”
“And I”ll get some flour and we’ll pound this thing back into submission!”
With each of us assigned a job we worked silently and quickly, none of us wanting to have to explain that we had gone out to shop in lieu of watching this prized work of art in the making.
Mom pounded the dough, and Judy and I continue to hide the disaster. We got it back in the oven, wiped the sweat off our faces, flour off the counter, hid the purchases from our escapade, and even poured ourselves some ice tea as I began my preparations for dinner. The guys walked in shortly thereafter with Thad running to the oven as if he had been separated from a long lost child.
Mom, Judy and I said nary a word as he pulled it out of the oven and began to knead and then separate it into loaves for baking. It seemed like we were going to get away with our deceitfulness. Thad seemed pleased with how the dough looked and felt.
Dinner was brought to the table including the fresh warm bread. As we gathered around the table to say grace I have to confess we were giving thanks to more than just the food. We dared not look at one another for fear that one of us would blurt out our mishap.
The dinner was great and Mom, Judy and I held our breath as Thad proudly cut the bread and began serving it around the table.
It was warm and delicious!
Thad kept commenting on how happy he was at the outcome saying –
“The texture is wonderful.”
“The crust is so crisp.”
“Hmmmm, this recipe is a keeper.”
But when he said “I think this is the best I have ever made” – well Mom, Judy and I lost it. Busting out laughing, the guys looked at each other like we were crazy. And then all of us at once tried to explain what had happened. At first, Thad looked like he might blow but then he, too, saw the absurdity and said he might have to adjust the recipe so that the dough would always run amuck! We laughed until our sides hurt and passed the bread basket all around the table as we all hoisted our glass of wine to toast the best bread dough fiasco ever!
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