Saturday, October 4, 2008

Confusion Reigns

So I was reading a cookbook, and I was wandering around in the bread section thereof. You see, I have always intended to settle down and learn to break bread when I retire...although what with the current situation, both national and personal, by the time I get to retire, it'll be a miracle if I'm not too senile to recognize the stove, let alone bake bread.

At any rate, I was suddenly struck by an instruction that seems to be common to all bread recipes, wherein it says something like, "Bake until the bottom of the loaf sounds hollow when tapped." I have been reading this for years now, but for some unknown reason I actually started to think about it tonight.

How in hell do you tap the bottom of a hot loaf of bread when it's in the oven, presumably resting on its bottom (I know I've never seen any recipe that tells you to bake it upside down), and in a bread pan? All of these recipes also tell you a couple of lines later to take the bread OUT OF THE PAN. So we know it's still IN the pan when you're supposed to start playing around with its bottom. It seems to me that what you are going to do is take a hot pan of bread out of the oven and tap the bottom of the pan to see if it sounds hollow. But this doesn't make sense either, since you are then going to be tapping the bottom of a pan which can't sound hollow on account of it isn't - there's a loaf of bread in it. And what am I tapping with? I'm not sticking my bare hand on a pan I just took out of a hot oven, for heaven's sake, and if I tap it with a pot holder, I'm going to get a sort of muffled noise, aren't I?

Maybe this is why people order takeout a lot.

Well, I just wanted to bring a little joy into your lives this evening - and I'll bet every single one of you who cooks is going to lie awake all night long worrying about the hollow sounding bread. I love having an effect on people.

Love, Wendy

1 comment:

karin said...


i was walking by your house today and had to physically restrain myself from shouting aloud "but soft! what light through yonder window breaks?
it is the east, and wendy is the sun! "

i miss you :)