Puck and roll

Sometimes, you just can’t win when you try an experiment and then modify it midgame. You have to just start over or try again later. Thankfully, there was no damage done with my failed experiment, unlike what could happen in, say, a chemistry or physics lab.

Well, actually, it WAS a chemistry lab that I was participating. Because baking is chemistry!

For חנוכה (Hanukkah), I received a bread maker, and have used it twice. Last week, I made a delicious honey-wheat bread, but probably should have sliced it shortly after it came out of the bread maker. Because of the relative success of it, I may not buy store-bought bread for my sandwiches and toast for a while! Here’s a picture of it… prior to slicing it.

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Yesterday, I planned on making chicken schnitzel for dinner, with hand-prepared Israeli salad, homemade pita pockets, and store-bought (yep, I cheated :)) hummus. I prepared the pita dough, and during the waiting time, did preparation to teach my classes on Tuesday (yes, at home!)

Once the dough cycle ended, I started preparing the schnitzel and salad, while I waited for rising of the dough for about 20 minutes.  The oven was pre-heating to 500 degrees Fahrenheit, but I think it actually got hotter than that–after shooting the back wall of the oven with a laser thermometer, it appeared to be about 50 degrees hotter than the dial indicated!

I slipped five discs of pita dough (out of eight–only five fit onto the pizza stone that I was using) into the oven, and let them bake for 10 minutes. When they came out, they looked good… except that they appeared to be rolls rather than pita pockets, as shown here! (I had already removed one of the rolls in order to cut it open for stuffing with chicken, salad, and hummus.) It wasn’t perfect, but it worked out well… and the pita didn’t fall apart. So, I will deem this a quasisuccessful experiment!

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I further flattened the remaining three discs, but left them out on the pizza peel rather than reloading the oven. As I would find out today, that was a big mistake!

I got home from work, and noticed that a crust had formed on the pieces that I had left out in the room (with ambient temperature of about 78 degrees Fahrenheit). I didn’t think much about it, and baked them in the oven anyway.

Well, here’s the result: they turned into rock-hard hockey pucks! They weren’t burnt, and I didn’t set off the smoke alarm, but they were inedible due to being hardened! So, clearly, I can’t leave dough out at room temperature overnight and expect to have anything that will be usable. I’ll know this for next time!

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And I’m not angry or disappointed that the second part of the experiment failed. It is good, sometimes, to learn a lesson the hard way, especially when it’s an inexpensive lesson!

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“Engage!”: 11 days.

NU at Madison: 25 days.

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