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Fail, fail, fail!

Warning: Somewhat long, whinging post.

Sometimes in life you just have to accept that things are the way they are and there’s nothing you can do about it. This week was a “lesson” in that. This was the plan. I’d bust out my new toy…

…on Wednesday and break it in making what is possibly the most difficult thing (to me) to make—bread. Oh yes, you’ve heard Heather wax poetic about bread baking and how she’s done it from scratch herself on multiple occasions. I just may not having baking genes in me. I am speaking from poor experience, however, and am getting ahead of myself. Let me start from the beginning.

As I said, the plan was to bake bread from scratch on Wednesday. Unfortunately I woke up on Wednesday morning at 3am with stomach pyrotechnics. I was sick. Really sick. I had to return to the bathroom throughout the morning to repeat the show. Around 7:30am, I found out that Sally (the good friend from England who’s here for two weeks visiting me) was sick as well. Lovely! One more thing we can bond over: Food poisoning. Long story short, Sally and I were laid up all day taking turns in the bathroom, trying to keep food down, and falling asleep randomly. I am very happy to say we were back to our old selves come Thursday, but, even though it did only last a day, food poisoning sucks!!! Do you know the worst part of it? It makes you scared to eat again. That’s just cruel.

So Thursday came and I had a new plan. I’d prepare my bread before dinner and bake it after dinner was done. It wouldn’t take long to bake, and it would cool while we were out at the baseball game we had tickets to.

Sidenote: Do not mistake me for a baseball fan. I’m so not. Sally said she wanted to go to an American sporting event, however, and what better choice than America’s pastime?

Okay, so dinner’s cooked. I’m just about to take the biscuits (or "soft scones" as Sally calls them) out of the oven, the bread is ready to go in, and the power goes out. Awesome. It’s not even raining that badly outside. It wasn’t raining bad enough to cancel the baseball game anyway. Well, I can’t bake my bread now, but I have to leave in forty-five minutes. *Sigh* Okay, we’ll just have to see if the power comes back on before we leave. We can always leave a little late. It doesn’t, so my bread stays where it is on the counter, un-baked. We came home from the game like three and a half hours later. Why does baseball take so freakin’ long? Now that we were home again, my bread had risen up pretty good. Here’s where I went wrong. I thought the bread would rise further in the oven, so I punched it down a little. When I took them out, they hadn’t risen any. Crap. Okay, well, let’s give it a try. It’s…okay. It’s crunchier than bread should be, but that fixes itself a little when it's heated up in the microwave wrapped in a paper towel. I’m not super-excited about this recipe, but circumstances weren’t really great either, so let me share it with you anyway.

Sunflower Seed & Honey Wheat Bread

2 pkg (1/4 oz each) active dry yeast
3-1/4 cup warm water (110° to 115°)
1/4 cup bread flour
1/3 cup canola oil
1/3 cup honey
3 tsp salt
6-1/2 to 7-1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup sunflower kernels
3 Tbsp butter, melted

In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add the bread flour, oil, honey, salt and 4 cups whole wheat flour. Beat until smooth. Stir in sunflower kernels and enough remaining flour to form a firm dough.
Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease the top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
Punch dough down; divide into three portions. Shape into loaves; place in three greased 8-in. x 4-in. loaf pans. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes. Bake at 350° for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown. Brush with melted butter. Remove from pans to wire racks to cool. Yield: 3 loaves (12 slices each).

Here are all the ingredients gathered and ready for action. You'll notice it's a somewhat long shopping list.

Ahhhh, there she is. My Beatrice in action. She works beautifully! I couldn't ask for more. :-)

This is the stage where it got dodgy. I don't really know what a "firm dough" looks like, so I stopped mixing when it was kind of a sticky ball. Is this what a firm dough looks like?

Kneading was really fun and was a good workout. :-) It's a great way to get some aggression out.

I really wish I had taken a picture of the dough before I had punched it down. It came all the way up to the edge of the bowl. Coooooooool!

I don't have three loaf tins, just two, so I had to make due on the third one.

Okay, this was pre-mistake. I really should have let it be. The dough didn't rise so much that it took over the counter like I thought it might. *Sigh* Why didn't I just leave it?

And here they are cooked. Like I said, I never should have smushed it. Well, it is what it is...

Like I said, I may not have the baking genes in me, but I may just need a do-over. We'll have to wait and see.

Despite everything, something happened previously this week that makes me forget about all my troubles from before. That is…

…this! Yes! We went to the happiest place on earth earlier this week. It was a gift to Sally and Mike since neither had ever been. SO much fun! Didn’t I mention last week that I’d have a picture of Sally and I in front of a different castle? :-)


  1. I hate to tell you, but after you punched it down, you should let it rise again for at least another 1/2 hour. It would have risen again and then been ready for the oven. I'm sorry you had such a bad experience.

    I take out my aggressions while making bread. Kneading is good for the soul. :)

  2. The recipe looks really good! I'm a notorious yeast killer so I have to make all my yeast breads in the bread machine :)