Saturday, June 25, 2011

there's so many different places to call home

I was going to start this post by writing that I sometimes wish I didn't take baking so personally. And then I called shenanigans on myself, laughed, and realized how absurd a statement that is.

Very simple things, like flour, butter, sugar, and eggs have brought me great peace, have filled me with a contentment that I only otherwise get from my chosen profession, and have made me feel productive when I am at my most laziest. Baking has humbled me, and it has given me confidence.

I tie a lot of emotion to baking, which sounds hokey, but I do not really care. I own my weirdness about it. I bake when I get stressed, but when I get too stressed, too upset, really down in the dumps, I can't do anything in the kitchen because I am paralyzed. And that just makes it all the more satisfying when I make amends with the mixing bowl.

There is an unnecessarily dramatic story behind a Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer that entered my life. I have had it for about eight months now, and only today did I finally allow it to be part of my kitchen. Even when I moved into a new place, I put the mixer straight into the garage, until today, when I realized I was holding onto something I shouldn't.

I've never been one to ease into anything. In medical school, I became fond of experiments to do with yeasted things- pizza, rolls, bread. Things that required a rise and a fall, firm kneading and patience. On one such experiment, I madly ignored everything I had read and thought I could attack the making of brioche with nothing but my own elbow grease. And oh my, how wrong I was. It was a spectacular failure. Brioche failure stings even more because it requires such a lot of butter and eggs that it feels more wasteful than other kitchen disasters. The handmade failure brioche, I could not accept it was a fiasco, so I kept at it, and even tried to bake it into individual pain au chocolat, which only resulted in wasting good chocolate in addition to all of the butter and eggs.

Well, when I finally put that stand mixer on my counter today, I knew there was only one thing to be tackled. The brioche dough is now on its second rise, and looks to be turning out exactly as planned. The only question is what to do with it- simple brioche loaf, sticky buns, little pillows of brioche with chocolate inside? So many possibilities.

Update: I opted for a few different options, but here is one of the best- cinnamon rolls made with brioche dough:
I hope it will not be my last opportunity to bake this year...

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