For the last few days, between calls and during my breaks, I’ve been studying Alton Brown’s book “I’m Just Here For More Food” where he explains some of the science behind baking. I’d really like to make my own recipes, therefore I need to know how ingredients react with eachother.
One morning I woke up a couple hours before work and decided to put the old banana’s on the counter to use. Due to limited time, I took Alton’s recipe for banana bread and made banana muffins.
After weighing the flour (Alton hates measuring cups; measures everything in grams), I realized that two bananas weren’t going to be enough for the recipe, so I cut the recipe down a third… in my head. I’m good at math, but didn’t feel the necessity to get a calculator out for exactness. Well, I’m sure you know what happened next. I forgot I was scaling the ingredients down and didn’t cut down the baking soda. But phew! I caught my mistake before I ran the food processor (Alton’s favorite method of sifting) and pinched out some of the soda. I also didn’t have oat flour, so I figured I’d just toss in some oats. They’d become flour in the “sifting” process.
With the batter spooned into the silicon muffin pans and in the oven, I jumped in the shower, where I do my best thinking. Many grand plans have been formulated in there. No brilliant ideas this time, but I realized that there was no sugar in the muffins. I know Alton likes his muffins not too sweet, or he’d just label them cupcakes. Well, I’m sure Alton knows best.
Muffins out and cooled. Okay, time for the test. I broke one in half to inspect the crumb. And just like the picture in the book with a big X through it, there was my muffin with worm-like holes in it. That is what Alton believes happens when the batter is over-mixed. But I purposely stopped mixing earlier than I thought I should. And I’m sure I tasted some of the baking soda in the taste test.
Disappointed and hungry, I trudged off to work. I really don’t think it was Alton’s fault. I scaled down the ingredients carelessly and made some substitutions. And looking over the recipe again while typing this blog, I see “sugar” in the ingredient list. How did I miss that?
The lesson? Make sure all ingredients are there and don’t bake before work. In the rush, mistakes will be made. The grade is…