Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Getting it Wrong

As a type A, perfectionist personality I hate getting things wrong. I dislike turning in writing that isn't perfect and I hate it when things that normally turn out fine, turn out wrong. I feel it does not bode well for times to come. Things going wrong in the kitchen is like an omen for things going wrong in life. But then that's probably just the type A personality talking. Getting things wrong in the kitchen is normal. It's probably actually quite healthy. And there's always the chance you can learn something.

I had a craving for pizza on Sunday. An epic one. The kind where at every turn you think about cheese, melting and hot, crispy at the edges and stringy so that you have to use your other hand to pull the cheese away from the base in order to get the pizza into your mouth. And a crisp base. And tomatoes, preferably cooked slowly with some shallots until they can be smashed open with the back of a wooden spoon, their seeds spilling out like precious jewels. I like my pizza plain. Cheese, tomatoes, base. Occasionally I am willing to put things like bacon and caramelised onions on too. But mostly I want the essence of the pizza. No funny business with ham or pineapple or banana or chicken. Cheese, tomato, base.

So in the spirit of being all self-sufficient I started a bread dough. It was the one I usually use for focaccia's although I do normally make pure white flour ones and on Sunday I decided I wanted a wholewheat base. So I used a balance of wholewheat flour and plain flour. Whilst I was kneading it, which I admit I didn't do for long because I got bored, I thought that perhaps it might be a little to stiff. In other words I hadn't added enough water to the dough. But, in my usual everything-will-work-out manner, I left it to prove. Slowly slowly it doubled in size. I separated some of the dough off and rolled the rest into a loaf shape and laid it in the loaf tin to prove again. The piece for the pizza base I rolled out with a rolling pin and then stretched using my knuckles until it was almost see-through. All semblance of a circle was lost but it was thin and would serve it's purpose. This I baked for 5 minutes in an oven at 180C so that it was sort of baked before I added the topping. It could probably have done with 7 minutes but that's just pulling hairs. I topped it with my slow roasted tomatoes and three different cheeses (cheddar, Parmesan and feta) and some sun-dried tomatoes I found skulking at the back of the fridge and put it back into the oven to cook. It was exactly the kind of pizza I had been craving. I ate it happily watching Borgen, waiting for the rest of the dough to prove.


Except that it didn't. Prove that is. It grew a little, not as much as I was expecting though. I figured it would all come together in the oven. Oh, how wrong I was. What emerged from the oven was a dense, completely inedible loaf. One that you could break your teeth on easily. You could probably also knock someone out or knock a hole in the wall if you chose to throw it. Whoops. After two days of having it stare at me from the bread board I decided to cut my losses and throw it out. I feel badly about it but no one can eat that. At least I got some pizza out of it I guess.

1 comment:

jennifer downs said...

you know, i know exactly how you feel. its like all your failures are a reflection on your worth as a person. i think we might need to examine our self esteem issues here. or smother them with cake. either way. also, sometimes an epic fail is an improvement on mediocrity. at least you know now never to try that again.