I attempted to make a couple different bread recipes the other day while at my parent's house. I'm usually a pretty good cook and baker, but I somehow managed to screw up both recipes.
My oldest brother introduced a very tasty tomato basil bread recipe to my family long ago. I've probably made the recipe ten times throughout the years and it always turns out fine. Similarly, I've also made a recipe called “Simple Crusty Bread” a couple times with decent results.
This time, both doughs failed to rise. I eventually came to the conclusion that this happened due to my impatience. The faucet in my parent's kitchen takes about 5 minutes to get hot water. Trying to save time, I just microwaved the water until hot (scorching hot, I realized later). This must have killed off all the yeast, because the bread didn't rise one bit.
Hoping that the dough would magically rise in the oven, I baked the loaves anyway. Nothing happened. The white bread loaf ended up looking very similar to a vanilla cow-pie, was super dense, and almost completely raw on the inside. That is how the Simple Crusty Bread loaf quickly became Simple Bird Food Bread loaf. The tomato basil loaf wasn't much better, although it had somehow cooked most of the way through. My mom, hoping to salvage one of her favorite bread recipes, had the idea to slice the bread and re-bake the individual slices. Ultimately, we ended up making tomato basil biscotti and it wasn't actually half bad!
|Tomato basil biscotti|
The moral of the story is:
Don't rush when baking (that's how I also managed to swap powdered sugar for flour when trying to make pretzels years ago) and use water between 110 and 120ºF with yeast.