Something Doughy This Way Comes

Athena attempts making bread for the first time. At this particular juncture, she’s more amused by the mess than anything else. We’ll know how the actual bread has turned out in a couple of hours.

46 Comments on “Something Doughy This Way Comes”

  1. If you’re using live active yeast, make sure the room, counter, etc… isn’t cool. Otherwise the bread will not rise properly. This mostly applies to “put dough under a bowl and wait” recipes.
    Ian M. – historian, scientist, bookseller, caterer, and at one point baker

  2. I hope the laptop sitting next to the computer comes out unscathed! Flour+electronics = bad. :)

    Also, did you let her dye her hair or is that a camera trick?

    If it is the first, you guys are the coolest parents in the whole world.

  3. Looks like the first time I tried to make biscuits. When I was, you know, 30. Sigh.

    I got bettah!

    More flour, Athena, more flour!

  4. @9 My first thought was, “Summer blonde,” as in, from being outdoors running around in the sunshine instead of holed up under the AC playing on the computer like Some People We Know.

  5. @13 – It’s the video game outside that big screen in the wall that hasn’t got any knobs, buttons, touchpads or controllers associated with it, so you can’t change the channel.

  6. I’m with kcarlile and Miles – more flour! Add flour until it looks (and feels) like bread dough. If it’s too slippery, add flour. If it’s too stiff, add water. This is how I learned to make yeast bread. It’s a side effect of measuring flour by volume, when it should be measured by weight.

  7. kcarlile @ # 10 “more flour” … not necessarily, there are a lot of bread recipes that are really sticky – though in those cases I prefer to start kneading using two plastic scrapers.

  8. @ Thena 12: I’m thinking summer blond is not possible in the two weeks since she’s started school.

    Mr. S: Just what kind of lighting are they using in schools in OH anyway? My kids still have the same colored hair they started with this year….
    If you did let her dye her hair, I’m not telling my kids. :)

  9. YAY to the Scalzi clan for teaching Athena to cook & bake!
    Too many kids these days don’t have a clue, hence our nationwide fast food addiction.

    I started learning to cook as soon as I could stand on a chair and stir something at the table or stove. My favorite thing when I was her age was chocolate chip oatmeal cookies, they were pretty messy too as I recall. The best part was sitting in front of the stove – with the window in the oven door – and watching the cookies bake. Hey, it was a simpler time, the cookies were in color and the tv was not…true smell-o-vision!! Tasty too!

  10. maybe I’ll send my favorite bread recipe. It makes two approx. one pound loaves, is excellent if you add bacon/cheese/other etc. after it gets punched down after the first rise. and it has a nice texture and crust for sandwiches.

    I do not like bread machines because a) I sometime make bread because I want to do something I know I can accomplish satisfactorily and b) the machines make odd loafs of bread.

    I was starting to have trouble with the kneading because of shoulder issues and arthritis in my hands, but my mom bought me the low-end professional stand mixer for Christmas a couple of years ago and it solved my problems.

  11. It’s good to learn how to cook, and baking bread is such a satisfying project. The first baking project I remember, because it was such a spectacular failure, was baking a cake. I didn’t sift the flour, as the recipe called for, and you could have used the resulting “cake” (brick would have better described it) as a doorstop. Fortunately for everyone concerned, my cooking has gotten much better than that.

    I hope Athena enjoyed herself.

  12. Her dough’s too wet–ideally, bread dough adheres to itself, not hands.

    Tell her to stick with it! Freshly baked bread is awesome.

  13. Mike Toot:

    It was here when we got here. If you’d like to subsidize the cost of new wallpaper, including removal of old wallpaper and hanging of new paper by people who aren’t me, then you let me know. Naturally, I’m all for that!

  14. Some doughs are just very wet. (The no-knead bread is an extreme example of this.) I, too, want a report on the result.

  15. Add me to the list of people looking for an update.

    I’ve baked bread for years (not so much lately). I have discovered that if you add only whole wheat flour in the bowl, and only white flour on the board, you get a wonderful rich bread that’s chewy, not crumbly as 100% whole wheat breads often are.

    Of course this assumes you know when to turn it out of the bowl (which is when it goes from batter to dough), but if you turn it out a little early or a little late, it doesn’t matter so much.

    Man, now I really wanna bake some bread! Dayum.

  16. JS@39 – Hey, we buy your books! At current conversion standards, that means I have subsidized, um, about 3 square centimeters of wallpaper.


  17. You could wallpaper with pages from your bad novels, John.

    Soon as you write some. None of the ones I’ve read so far are suitable.

  18. I’d do the work myself. However my wife has a list of things I need to finish on our own home renovation. Besides, when it comes to remodeling or renovation, I’m fearless — I see nothing wrong with gutting rooms, moving walls, rewiring everything. That’s how our own eight-year voyage started, with a simple “Let’s just paint the bathroom.” Within five minutes of working on your wallpaper I’d be talking about open floor plans, load-bearing walls, home automation….

  19. It’s her natural hair color, under natural light. She’s learning how to bake bread, and John’s learning how to take photographs under natural light.

    Expect her to turn auburn as she grows older.

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