OK, so you may remember my cinnamon roll fiasco from February – I tried and tried to make some tasty rolls but failed again and again.
Well, total failure may have stopped me from making cinnamon rolls, but it hasn’t turned me off baking altogether – I’ve just dusted the flour from my hands and moved on to something else instead. And, I’m happy to announce that in the last few weeks I’ve successfully made pizza dough twice (my family has put up with a lot of lousy crust until now) and, just yesterday, a tray of tasty dinner rolls.
Now even though each batch was a flop, the cinnamon roll adventure turned out to be very helpful – a learning experience. For example, it wasn’t until my second attempt with the rolls that I realized that the water I mix the yeast with wasn’t hot enough. It wasn’t until my third attempt that I realized my house is too cool and drafty for dough to rise, so I heat the oven a teeny tiny bit and then let the dough rise in there. It’s made a huge difference and all my dough fairs much better.
So, pizza dough, dinner rolls. I’m unstoppable! What’s next?
Actually, as embarrassing as it is, I have to tell you that I was in my mid-twenties before I realized that bread could be made from scratch at home. It just never occurred to me – I just assumed that you needed fancy machines or a factory of some sort. Yes, I know that settler women were capable of making bread, but I didn’t spend a whole lot of time thinking about the olden days.
Not just bread either; muffins, cookies – I assumed that they all needed a mix. Times have changed though, and now I can’t understand why people bother with the mixes when baking from scratch takes hardly any extra effort at all.
I certainly didn’t start off this way. I have very fond memories of using muffins mixes with my mother when I was little. I remember cutting the packet open and the smell of the powder. My mom would let me stir all the ingredients, and then we would peel off the lid of the blueberry tin and gently rinse the berries – she would fold them in herself so they wouldn’t get smooshed.
I really loved those muffins.
We also made cinnamon rolls from Bisquick – I loved rolling out the dough, spreading on the margarine and then sprinkling the brown sugar and cinnamon on top. I thought those rolls were just the best thing ever – that is, until 20 years later when my husband explained to me that they most definitely are not.
I didn’t think much about my evolution of baking until I was talking with a good friend on the phone last week. We were chatting about waffles – both our kids love waffles, and we both love how easy they are to make. “And really”, I said, “you just mix a little white flour, a little whole wheat flour, an egg, a bit of milk – they aren’t even that unhealthy until you add the syrup.” There was a pause on the phone. “Um”, she replied, “I just get mine from the box in the freezer.”
I don’t know how it happened, but I’m becoming one of those moms, but I’m okay with it. :) I’m enjoying the process of learning. Knowing how to make my own crust is going to save this pizza-loving mama a fortune, and the buns are a nice fix for when I’m craving fresh made bread.
Now that I’ve got a bit of confidence, my list of things to make in the kitchen is growing longer:
• bake a pie, with a crust from scratch
• roast a whole chicken, then make stock from the bones
• bake a loaf of bread, without a breadmaker
• make my own potato chips
• make whip cream from scratch
I’ve already started on the pie. I’m using this recipe by the Pioneer Woman and it’s in the freezer as we speak. Today or tomorrow I’ll try an apple pie to test it out, although I’m more interested in having a good crust for making quiches and chicken pot pies.
Once I get through this list, I may even try to tackle those elusive cinnamon rolls again. Or maybe I’ll just make my favorite old Bisquick stand-by. I’ve bookmarked a recipe on how to make the Bisquick mix from scratch, just in case the urge arises. :)