Day 7: Dough
Cards on the table: I’m not a baker.
What do I mean by that? I mean that even when I bake the most basic thing in the world, like chocolate chip cookies, I will at the very least burn the bottom of the first batch. It’s a routine. Make the dough, burn the first batch, have a half decent second batch.
Reading this section on dough began to calm my fears of baking. It all sounds very easy when Ruhlman goes into how dough works. The thing that got me though was the following:
The final piece of the flour puzzle, and it’s an important one, is the fact that depending on a number of unpredictable conditions, the weight of specific volumes of flour differs.
…If there is a single reason why people fear baking, why bread seems daunting, and why a simple sponge cake can seem an arch enemy, it is because measurements of flour are almost always given as a volume, which is guesswork. (p.150)
That, my friends, blew my little mind. Although I don’t have an interest in suddenly baking all kinds of stuff, I would love to gain some experience, and have enough moderate success to know that if I wanted to bake cookies without the near-guarantee that I will burn the first batch, it would be a welcome change in my cooking life.
What’s more, there are several types of dough covered in this section. If you’re like me and you’re a little afraid of baking bread from scratch, the discussion on bread dough alone is almost worth the price of the entire book. I fully intend to attempt the Dutch Oven Bread recipe from this book after I finish this project, so I will let you all know how that turns out when the time comes.
I realize that making snickerdoodles seems like the easy way out, and I suppose in some way it is. For me, I have such pent-up frustration about my burn-the-first-batch phenomenon, this was perhaps a smaller challenge…but a challenge nonetheless.
Still, it’s just cookies. So, the recipe is easy to follow, as expected. The great thing with these is that I didn’t burn the first batch. Just let me have this…it’s kind of a victory for me.