This is probably a subject people aren’t very keen on talking about. I mean food blogs, and blogs in general, don’t really thrive on pictures of souffles that didn’t rise or tales of cakes drier than the Sahara. But today I feel like sharing.
In the last two weeks I’ve had two significant kitchen disasters with bread-baking. I’ve been trying to bake almost all of the bread that we eat every week and it was going well. Until a Saturday two weeks ago when I was making a simple white loaf and I somehow forgot about the dough and left it to prove for about two extra hours. This was the first and only time I have ever over-prooved anything because I’m usually too impatient. Needless to say, the bread didn’t bake properly, it had extremely uneven rise and the crust didn’t brown. It went straight to the bin.
Then last weekend, I thought I’d bake a nice sourdough with my newly revived starter. I tried a new recipe and followed the quantities and timing exactly, haunted by my failure of the week before. Somehow, this bread was also a bad bake. This is not so surprising as starters are temperamental and can be quirky. I suspect that I either used my starter too long after I fed it or, that I should have let the dough to prove for longer as the kitchen was not particularly warm that day.
These failures are thankfully a small percentage of my bread baking. When it comes to baking macarons, I have a 100% failure rate. I’ve tried to bake simple vanilla macarons twice and both times things were bad.
The first time the baked macarons looked great but they tasted overwhelmingly almond-y and they lacked lightness. I figured that I must have used a few grams, literally grams, of ground almonds more than I should have because my kitchen scales are not electronic. The second attempt was way, way worse as I didn’t even get to bake that batch. It was all going peachy until I added some colouring to the beaten egg whites. It was almost magic how that last drop of colouring made my lovely, fluffy and glossy egg whites deflate and turned the mixture into a pale pink cream. I desperately kept on whisking for a while but it was pointless.
I haven’t attempted to make macarons again. I’m just scared that I’ll waste 6 perfectly good eggs. It’s definitely something that intimidates me. For now, I think I’ll keep them as a special treat that I purchase once in a while. Apart from this I’m happy to say that I’m quite confident in the kitchen and willing to try and learn new things. Failures will occur (hopefully not too often) but it’s not the end of the world. Plus, I’m usually alone in the kitchen when I’m baking, so no one has to know.
Have you had any kitchen disasters recently? Are there recipes that you are scared of trying again? It will make me feel better if you share!