Friday, April 27, 2007

A Cook Should Never Bake

Well, this cook, anyway. I'm a pretty decent cook (ask Hubbs) and for the most part, my dishes come out palatable, tasty, and not over/under-done. I can do most types of entrees, salads, and even the occasional appetizer, and can follow a recipe, or even improvise one, without creating disastrous, inedible fare.

However, my cooking skills (and my reading skills) do not transfer so well to baking. You see, tonight I tried what was promised to be a fool-proof banana bread recipe. Apparently, it isn't fool proof when the fool is me. The healthy whole-wheat banana bread recipe called for 3/4 cup of brown sugar, which I brilliantly replaced with brown sugar Splenda. The instructions on the Splenda package suggested using half of what the recipe normally calls for in brown sugar. Half of 3/4 cup is essentially 3/8 cup, or 94 mL. Don't ask me why I suddenly developed a major case of dyslexia or lost all my number sense, but somehow I parsed the recipe to say that it needed 1/4 cup of brown sugar. This brain fart of mine led me to calculate that I needed a mere 30 mL (1/8 cup) of brown sugar Splenda, which I proceeded to add to the rest of the ingredients. I shortchanged my banana bread by 2/3 of the required amount of sugar!!

Yes, folks, never let this cook bake. I don't know how I manage to fumble up these baked goods, but somehow I always succeed in doing so. The worst part was that Hubbs had convinced me to make 2 loaves instead of just the 1 that I had planned, so now we have 2 loaves of less-than-sweet whole wheat banana bread. The only saving grace is that, in my baking ineptness, I also failed to use the unsalted butter. As such, my failed loaves of banana bread taste not unlike buttered pieces of banana bread, which for some is even more desirable than a sweet banana bread.

Lesson learned. The next time I bake, I think I'm going to need supervision. And a lot of help.


With Love, Fat Girl said...

I love to bake and after much trial and error I've found that you absolutely *must* follow ingredients almost to the letter. Baking is more of a science than cooking - who are we to dabble with the laws of physics?!

I've also found that if you're making something a little more complex. ie. layer cake, especially for company, bake out a test layer a few days in advance. Sometimes our stoves and other kitchen tools don't correspond well with our recipes!

Sylvana said...

I know this is going to sound obvious now, but if you were making 2 loaves, why didn't you just double all the other ingredients while leaving the brown sugar amount the same(since you needed to half it)?

Mrs. Loquacious said...

Good tips and great suggestions, ladies. I am learning that baking = science, too, but obviously I am a slow learner.

And here's even more dumba$$ness on my part, Sylvana - I didn't have big bowls (no Kitchen Aid Artisan mixer yet) so I did the two loaves separately and measured all the ingredients into separate bowls (2 for flour & baking soda & salt, 2 for butter & sugar, 2 for bananas & yogurt). Hindsight is 20/20 and sheds great light on one's stupidity. I will do better next time, though..and I am making only ONE loaf to test it out this next time round.

Natalie said...

I can't bake either. I don't think cooking and baking typically mix well.

Mrs. Loquacious said...

Some people are talented that way, like ambidextrous people. But I am a cook, not a baker, and right-handed, not both-handed. *sigh*

I will attempt another loaf in a few days though. HOpefully this time I will have learned how to read ;)