Papercut and colored pencil art by Sheryl Aronson X 5

Monday, September 5, 2011

Its a Learning Experience, Not a Failure

Back in January I started a gluten free diet. I don't have celiac, but this diet has made a big difference in my digestive system. (Read my previous post for details.) There is a small farmer's market on Friday afternoons near where I live. The first time I went there this year, I was thrilled to find a woman there who bakes gluten free baked goods. It was a real treat to get fresh baked goods that I could eat!
My husband and I eat oatmeal for breakfast during the work week, but on weekends, he eats bagels or English muffins. Every week I have been buying things like orange chocolate chip bread and cranberry orange scones from the farmer's market for breakfast. Over the past month or so, I have been trying to cut calories to lose some weight. This baker bakes very healthy for the most part, but I would like to decrease sugars from my diet, and use Xylitol when I do use sugar. 
I decided to try baking my own gluten free goodies.  I found a recipe online that is a gluten free, vegan quick bread base. What I especially like about it is that, instead of needing separate recipes for each kind of bread I want to make, I can make any combination of flavors that I dream/scheme up, using this one recipe.
So I tried it Saturday, with less than spectacular (some might even say disastrous) results. But I am not discouraged. Here is a synopsis: I gathered all the dry ingredients in a bag, and brought along the liquid ingredients and my bread pan, so I could bake my bread at our cabin. I forgot to bring the recipe with me, but I had studied it before we left home, so I remembered it. I put all the ingredients together, poured them into the bread pan, and put them into my toaster oven at the prescribed 330 degrees to bake (that is the only oven we have at our cabin, other than the microwave). I then sat down to impatiently read while it baked for '50-120 minutes, depending on ingredients'.
It was smelling good, and at 50 minutes, I checked my bread. With a wooden matchstick in hand to act as my toothpick, I opened the toaster oven. The top of my bread was black (disaster #1). The matchstick came out clean, so I let the bread cool a bit before taking it out of the pan. The top sunk (disaster #2), and when I turned the bread out of the pan, there was a gooey grayish 'pudding' in the center (disaster #3). I must point out that the grayish coloring was from poppy seeds, not from any alien excrement or subversive processes. I let the bread cool more, then when I tried to put it into a bag, it fell apart into 6-8 chunks (disaster #4).
When I first saw the blackened top, my husband asked me if I had lowered the baking temperature 25 degrees as you are supposed to do when using a toaster oven instead of a regular oven. Oops- I forgot all about that. It is likely that if I had baked the bread at a lower temp for longer, it would have been a success. In that case, I would not have had this topic to write about today. Besides that, the 'pudding' part of the bread is delicious!  Since it is vegan there is no uncooked egg to worry about.
So rather than being discouraged, I am pleased with my cranberry poppy seed pudding bread.  I plan to freeze it in serving size chunks for the next few weekends, meanwhile, I am thinking up new flavors. It may take some experimenting to get this bread right, but it is a learning experience, and one that I gladly take on. 
We have choices of how we view any situation.  I could have looked at the blackened top and gooey insides of my bread, and thrown it out, and vowed never to bake again.  Instead, I looked at what went wrong and how I could fix it next time- turn down the temperature and give it more time to bake.  I can laugh at how wierd my breakfast looks for 2-3 more weekends, then I will try baking another bread.  That one should come out better, but if it isn't perfect, that's okay.  I am learning from my mistakes.

1 comment:

  1. Yummy. Poppy seeds can be fun !~! I love your attitude about life and its foibles.