Tonight, I tried to make pesto bread. It would've been awesome. I adore pesto, and the bread is essentially a basic bread, rolled out and covered in pesto, then braided, put in a pan, doused with parmesan, and baked. Yum!
But alas, the dough never rose, even after trying with a second batch. Roommate said I should wait three days, and (after a lot of laughing) explained that after three days, Jesus rose from the grave, and maybe I should be a little more patient. I would honestly be really freaked out if I gave rise to holy bread, so I'll just stick with the "I'm a failure as a baker" idea.
My current (non-supernatural)
- The yeast was expired. There was no date on the yeast and one of my roommates just had the packet sitting around. When I try again, I'll try and get fresh yeast.
- The milk was too hot and I killed the yeast (for the first time), or the milk wasn't warm enough and the yeast didn't wake up (for the second time around).
Second, the success.
My boyfriend is in a fraternity on campus, and they always assign pledges a "big brother" to help them through the process. Boyfriend got a little brother, which means I have yet another person to make fat with my efforts. The little brother's favorite kind of cookie is snickerdoodle, and I was pretty excited to make them because I've never made them before on my own.
I used the basic Betty Crocker recipe for snickerdoodle (you can find it here if you don't have a cookbook), but ended up improvising a bit. I ran out of white sugar, so I used about a third of a cup of brown sugar and a third of a cup of powdered sugar in the actual cookies. I'm a big fan of using brown sugar in everything — it makes it softer, chewier, and (in my opinion) tastier, and to my relief it turned out nicely. I also used powdered sugar for the cookie coating, and it worked like a charm.
Honestly, the only problem with this recipe is that it only makes two dozen cookies, and that is nowhere near enough! It is important to note that the recipe calls for both butter and shortening, and you do need cream of tartar, something I didn't have but one of my housemates did. Hooray for Housemate!
Even if I couldn't figure out how to deal with yeast, I'm really happy the snickerdoodle turned out properly. I really don't like messing things up, especially when I'm baking. I forget that there are some things I just can't do, so while it's good to get a reminder, it's not exactly fun. Knowing how to fix the problem next time helps take the sting out of failure. And snickerdoodles definitely help!