Don’t get your hopes up, the only reason I’m posting again in such quick succession is that I have to record a video for my first online class and I’m doing everything I can think of to avoid it.
To that end, today I made some banana bread. I could have baked anything, but the bananas had about fifteen minutes before they liquified. Is it just me, or did bananas used to last longer back when we were kids? I seem to remember someone telling me the bananas of old were gassed – hm – I don’t know. Anyway, I used a recipe from King Arthur Flour – which I’m not going to step-by-step for you because, frankly, it turned out pretty meh. I could blame it on the recipe (it’s not like passing the buck is unheard of these days), but the reality of it is I was so engrossed in cursing Prezi’s video option I didn’t hear the timer. I guess I can blame Prezi, actually. Yeah, it’s Prezi’s fault.
The dough mishap was completely on me, however. Often when I bake bread I double the recipe so I can put half in the fridge to bake another day. It’s a handy thing to do, particularly if you go through a loaf of bread in about 48 hours. (And in 24 if the kids are home…) So instead of 3 cups of flour use 6 and instead of a cup and a half of water, use 3 cups – you get the picture. Knead it all up, let it rise once, punch it down and cut it in half. Let one half rise the second time, then bake it. Put the other in the fridge for a few days and take it out a few hours before putting it in the oven. Just don’t take it out in the early evening then make dinner after which you let your family talk you into watching The Joker, which, in these pandemical times you will find so stressy that you will take two Benadryl (don’t judge me) and put yourself to bed the moment it is over — if you do – you will walk into the kitchen the next morning to find a remake of The Blob. By you of course, I mean me. I did this. Still made a decent loaf of bread out of it though at first it was quite frightening.
I’m doing the best I can folks.
I’ve been seeing lots of people on instagram baking bread in their Dutch ovens and I want to pass on a little trick I’ve learned because it will save you (and by you again, I mean it saved me) burned forearms. It is difficult dropping that floppy dough into that hot pot. So, friends – DON’T preheat your Dutch oven. Plonk that dough into your pot, put the lid on and put the whole thing into a cold oven. That’s right COLD oven. Shut the door and set your oven to about 425 – and let it bake. Depending on the size of your dough and how slowly your oven heats, it will take about an extra 10 to 15 minutes — and it will still be perfect.
By the way — here is something else you should not do: don’t listen to a random Spotify playlist called “Good Times: Great Oldies” and expect to make it through James Taylor’s “Fire and Rain” if you’ve got parents quarantined in their retirement community and a daughter still in New Orleans.
For some reason I also had trouble with The Indigo Girls song “Closer to Fine.” Strange times, my friends.