Five years ago, Christmas 2007, we went from Utah to Oregon to spend Christmas with my family. Hattie was only 3 months old. My mom hadn't asked me what I needed/wanted for Christmas, so I knew it would be a surprise. It certainly was...a wheat grinder, along with 4 barrels of wheat. To be honest, I was less than thrilled. Although I knew it was a nice grinder and very practical, it wasn't very exciting for a Christmas gift.
Once I got back to Utah and made my first batch of 100% whole wheat bread, I was hooked. I have rarely purchased store bought bread since. I love making bread and comparing recipes with other bakers. And I see that Christmas gift as one of the best gifts I have ever received.
So on Monday, after 5 years of bread making experience, I was making bread here in Oak Creek and something happened that never had before - my bread didn't rise. I'm not sure if I made the water too hot and killed the yeast, or if my cold Wisconsin house wasn't the friendliest environment for yeast growth. Either way I found myself facing flat bread. I was so disappointed. I finally understood how making bread can be frustrating, since I had never had problems before. I've always heard people say that they can't make bread, that it never works for them, etc, and I always assumed they couldn't follow directions (aka they weren't so bright). But here I was, having done the same recipe I have done a hundred times, with bread that was going no where. I called my mom, my aid in every cooking disaster, to see if I could somehow salvage the bread. I had already let it rise in a warm oven, but to no avail. She suggested I fry a bit up to make a flat bread, and then just let the girls play with it like play-doh. What followed was the most fun my kids have had in a long time.
They keep asking me to make more bread that doesn't work so they can play with the dough again. It was out on the counter for the whole week and finally got too dried out to play with. I'm sure they played with it more than 10 hours total. So, if you are ever at a loss for how to entertain your kids, just purposefully make a bad batch of bread!