I Disrespected the Yeast

There are a few things that I successfully bake from time to time to please and shock the family; gingerbread, peach cobbler and cinnamon roll cupcakes.

I had sort of a bad day yesterday; de-snowing/icing the car, running up and down the road trying to find a debit card with a code I knew and suppressing a blood curdling scream when my fingers got tangled in the dog’s run line and she nearly tore off my hand.  I had gone out to bring her in the house because I thought the weather was a little too inclement even for a dog with a good undercoat and insulated dog houses at each end of her run.  Unappreciative,  she bounced into the house, knocked my tripod with camera over twice, barked and whined until I had to leash her to the doorknob and put the bark-o-later around her neck.  She sulked on her couch after throwing the cushion to the floor.

It always feels as if baking messes up the kitchen more than “normal” cooking does.  It’s probably not true, but I feel that way.

I’m usually on friendly terms with yeast.  Before using it in a recipe, I proof it in a little warm water stirred together with a pinch of sugar.  I learned this in West Africa where there were no dates on the yeast cans.   Good yeast will start to bubble up in large brown clumps like an underwater swamp monster assembling itself on the surface before slithering off to engulf something large and edible.  Before it slithers, I add the other ingredients, flour last.  This time I just stirred warm milk and sugar into the yeast and didn’t care.  I don’t why I did this, but I do know that although the dough did rise, it didn’t rise as it should have.

I imagine that all serious bakers have baking rulers or something professional to measure the size of the rolled out dough.  I had my husband’s handy dandy steel measuring tape that I attached to the edge of the island.  Worked.

If after the cinnamon rolls have been cut, placed in the pan, covered and left for a second rising, they look like the picture below, you have disrespected the yeast.  They should have doubled in size and puffed up in an aggressive, belligerent manner.  The baked roll should  rise from the papers, resembling a mini mountain with a road winding up from New Jalpaiguri, India to it’s destination of beautiful Darjeeling at the top.  You could imagine the toy train, that does exist, making this journey as you bite into the buttery, cinnamon flavored, pecan crunchy roll and dream of white tigers, water buffaloes, spicy curries and the man who lights the fire in your room and places a hot water bottle between your bed sheets before you retire.  Or not.

It’s sort of sad 😀



About cookinginsens

An American living in Burgundy, France
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15 Responses to I Disrespected the Yeast

  1. Laura says:

    I love this post and I’m sorry for your day – but I’ll bet that cinnamon roll tasted quite good in spite of the lack of lofty rising!!

  2. They look wonderful! Yeast can be so temperamental

  3. Mad Dog says:

    I agree with you – baking does mess up the kitchen – it’s all that sprinkled flour and sugar, though sometimes its for a good cause. Looking at the length of dough you have there, I’d say a baker would use his or her arm and maybe the yeast got too hot or too cold – it’s a fickle friend. I love the way your Kitchen Aid looks like it’s clutching the bowl with it’s hands and legs while staring inside! Too much Wall-E on my part, perhaps…

  4. gemma16423 says:

    They look delicious! I made some bread rolls in the shape of bunnies at Easter and I discovered after that the yeast was old and that was what the odd taste was! Will have to buy a new jar and try yeast again!

  5. I’ve had my fair share of yeast mishaps over the years, so I feel for you!! I love cinnamon buns – your post has inspired me, I will try and make some for Christmas. A dear friend, who passed away earlier this year, gave me her recipe, which makes pretty large cinnamon rolls (which are usually delicious). I like the way your cupcake sized ones are smaller, will see if I can modify the rolling/shaping to make them fit!

  6. Nadia says:

    Doggie does not look happy. I am not a baker and hate working with yeast!

  7. Never mind. We all have our off days. Better luck next time!

  8. Baking is indeed messy and yeast temperamental but a perfect activity for a snowy day!

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