Apr 04 2010

My Biggest Kitchen Disaster

I was reading King Arthur Flour’s April Fool’s Day post about baking diasters and started thinking back to my own messes in the kitchen. I’ve had many, involving cats and handmixers and all sorts of explosions and overflows, but which one would I consider my biggest disaster?

I think that award goes to my attempt to make Chocolate Brioche. This was very early on when I’d first started seriously baking. I loved chocolate, and loved bread…it seemed natural to combine the two, right? Destined for failure, but I was still at that point in baking where I thought if a recipe was in print it must be great.

The recipe called for nearly a cup of coco powder, well over a cup of sugar, and two sticks of butter. Three cups of flour, an entire packet of yeast, oil, egg, salt, and milk. I mixed it all up, kneaded it, and was thrilled. The dough was literally bubbling in front of my eyes, it was rising so well!

I put it in a rising basket, and before I knew it, it had doubled. I had never seen dough rise like that, it was really exciting.

I didn’t know enough at the time to predict what was going to happen next, so, thinking that my massively airy dough was fantastic, I shaped it, put it in the pan, waited for it to double again (which took next to no time) and popped it in the oven.

Twenty minutes later, a nasty, almost rancid burnt smell filled the air. When I opened the oven, I could only laugh at what I saw.

Picture a mushroom cloud. Now turn the mushroom cloud brown, and explode it all over your oven.

That was my “chocolate bread.” It had risen so much it hit the top of the oven, flowing over the sides of the pan and spreading all over the place. Any bread that came into contact with the oven had burnt to a crisp, while the inside of the bread was still doughy and uncooked. I don’t think I ever fully got the smell of burnt chocolate out of that oven.

I have had very few kitchen disasters that ended up inedible, but this was my first. It was a great lesson, though, how else would I know what over-risen dough looks like, or what a “lid-thumper” truly is. There’s only one way to learn, and that’s to make the mistake.

So next time you see a recipe for something that’s completely insane, give it a shot and try it. Even if it’s not edible, you’ll probably learn something, and have some laughs along the way.

  • By noti, April 4, 2010 @ 9:06 pm

    lol @ My Oven the Chocolate-Bread Mushroom Cloud

Other Links to this Post

  1. Stephanie’s Mini Chocolate Cupcakes with Peppermint Icing — December 8, 2011 @ 10:04 pm

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