It’s been kind of a long baking hiatus. The last time I broke out the ol’ girl I made Challah. And then we had the baked goods incident. And then that guy turned out to be certifiable and has since been evicted (hooray!!). So it was time, once again, to bake.
But I was not about to attempt simple muffins or cupcakes or even the oh-so-stressful-mallows. I thought: what I need is savor. What I need is a CHALLENGE. What is that challenge you ask? Oh, just some Cheddar, Beer, Mustard Pull-Apart Bread by Smitten Kitchen. You know, no big deal.
When I started making the bread things were a bit hectic because, like most things, I just sort of jumped into it without measuring anything or prepping any ingredients. Usually I set everything aside in bowls. But on Sunday I was really tired, had to back for the business trip on Monday and was the queen of procrastination at that point.
But of course, I thought… why wait? Let’s dive into the most complicated recipe I’ve ever tried. Why not? (Massive running around, back and forth to the computer while sweating from nerves ensues.)
So basically you make beer bread, then you make this mustard beer sauce, then you season some cheese, let the beer bread rise for a really effing long time while you snack on the seasoned cheese and drink beer, then attempt a complicated layering – a layering I gave up on.
And here’s the thing… for me reading instructions on how to physically do things never translates. Like all of those tutorials on how to braid hair or how to put make up on with the still photos next to the 50 instructions? I have always failed at those. I only learn by doing.
And then this other thing happened. I didn’t have the right sized bread pans… because it’s one of those things I don’t think about until I read the instruction on putting the dough in the ____ sized bread pan and I think: Shit, I so don’t have those. But I have these!
So I cut the dough in half, aiming to make two tiny loaves instead of the big one.
Basically this is a lesson on improvisation and figuring out how to work with what you have. Because after I rolled out the dough and tried to follow the measuring instructions that I took as only vaguely understood… I sort of just ended up winging it.
I couldn’t really visualize the whole strips + stacking + layers + making it into a loaf and then slicing it so that it’s easily pull-apart-able after baking. So I abandoned the pull-apart-able and just tried to make noms-ville layered bread.
Which kills me a little bit because I’m all about following the rules and when I don’t I can’t help but feel guilty. And like I failed a little. Especially because I truly couldn’t figure out the instructions… and because I had the wrong pans.
But then I saw how beautiful they turned out, how delicious they smelled and I figured it was ok. I figured I did a pretty good job for not knowing anything at all about what I was doing. Not even a little bit.