When Recipes Go Wrong

When Recipes Go Wrong cradlerockingmama.com

Being a wheat/egg/dairy/freaking-everything-free family, one thing I really mourn the loss of is bread. 

Bread would be SO nice to have again.

I could make Jed sandwiches, french toast, regular toast, or just slather a slice in some sunbutter and call it a snack.

You don’t realize how versatile bread is until you can’t have it any more.

So far, finding safe bread for Jed has been just shy of impossible. I found one rye bread that is theoretically safe for him, but the last two times he’s had an anaphylactic reaction were times he had that rye bread; once with peanut butter, so that could have been the cause, but once without peanut butter. That’s when I learned about the possibility of cross-contamination with egg products in this particular manufacturer.

Otherwise, our other options are terribly expensive, must-be-refrigerated, taste like pasty cardboard rice flour bread options. First of all, they suck. Secondly, they are wicked expensive. Third, I’d like to avoid using rice flour based products if possible, due to Zac’s likely FPIES to rice.

That leaves me with two choices: go without bread entirely, or figure out how to make some for Jed from scratch.

Obviously, I want choice number two. Though so far, we’ve been going without entirely until I manage to make it happen.

It seems as though the Great Bread Quest will continue for even longer; today I’d planned to share with you a recipe that SOUNDED like a sure-fire win…instead, it was a monstrous flop!

I won’t even share the source of the recipe here, just in case it isn’t a case of operator error. I thought about just not posting anything about it at all until I had a winner recipe. But that’s what I always do! I keep working away at a recipe until it gives good results every time, and THEN I share it with you. Y’all never see the disturbing failures I’ve experienced in the kitchen.

So today I thought I’d share with you what it looks like When Recipes Go Wrong in my kitchen. Just so you know that it happens to all of us at some point. 

It all started off so well.

The instructions were clear and thorough; I’d gotten out a ceramic bread pan as instructed and sprayed it with my homemade olive oil spray.

I started proofing my yeast and pouring out the wet ingredients.

Gathering the liquid ingredients

Gathering the liquid ingredients

Then I gathered the dry ingredients.

Gathering the dry ingredients

Gathering the dry ingredients

Then I poured the wet into the dry and mixed them in the mixer.

Mixing in the mixer

Mixing in the mixer

The consistency was just right; like a pourable cake batter.

I re-sprayed the ceramic pan just to make sure it was nice and oiled, then poured in the batter.

Poured and ready to bake

Poured and ready to bake

Into the oven my lovely, perfect looking bread went, and when it came out, it didn’t look too bad. A little sunken in the middle, not exactly a perfect bread but I still had high hopes it would work.

Then it all went wrong.

After it cooled, I attempted to remove it from the pan. I say attempted, because this is what happened:

Oh, no!

Oh, no!

The horror! The nightmare!!

The horror! The nightmare!!

It tasted pretty good, from all reports, but this…this was just NOT what I was aiming for.

That’s not a bread loaf; that’s a hot mess of flaking, crumbling bread-like stuff. I can’t use this for sandwiches, or french toast, or even regular toast.

And now I had a hellacious mess to scrub out of that ceramic loaf pan. 

Honestly? I still don’t know what – if anything – I did wrong. Maybe my homemade olive oil spray wasn’t enough oiling of the pan. Yeah. That’s probably it.

So I’ll keep working at it, and one day, God as my witness, I’ll never have failed bread loaves again! (to paraphrase Scarlett O’Hara)

The truth of the matter is, recipes just go wrong sometimes, especially when dealing with new techniques and ingredients. Going allergy-free or allergy-friendly involves re-learning how to cook and bake from scratch at times; a certain amount of failures is to be expected.

I try to keep that in mind when things go wrong. None of us are born experts in the kitchen. Even if you’ve got a natural knack for food preparation, education is still vital.

And in the kitchen, as in so many other places in life, the best education comes from doing. Even, and in some cases especially, when “doing” results in less than stellar results. 

We learn from our mistakes.

And we keep on going, trying it again. And again. Until we finally not only get it right, but can do so consistently and repeatedly.

And if that’s not a metaphor for life, I just don’t know what is.


What was your most spectacular kitchen failure?


For a gluten-free bread recipe that WORKS: try this one! I did, finally, succeed!

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7 Responses to When Recipes Go Wrong

  1. I had the exact same thing happen to me. It is so frustrating. Then another mama told me about lining the bread pan with parchment paper. I traced the bottom of the pan onto the paper and cut it out with scissors. I greased the pan and stuck the parchment paper to the bottom of the pan. It comes out perfect every time now!

  2. Becky D says:

    I remember reading somewhere that parchment was coated with something, but maybe I’m thinking of aluminum foil? Either way, I second parchment if it’s safe for you. It’s fool proof for getting baked goods onto a cooling rack. I’ve had allergy friendly bread turn out like that before too and I narrowed it down to two problems for my particular recipe: I either forgot to dust my pan with flour after oiling it or I left the loaf in the pan for too long which made the bottom too soggy to come out in one piece. I’ve learned through trial and plenty of error that I have between 5 and 10 minutes to get my GFCFYF bread out of the pan or else it’ll be “sandwich sticks” or croutons.

    As for kitchen failures, well I’ve had many over the years! But the most memorable and spectacular was when I was a senior in high school. It involved the fire department… Yeah. I still haven’t quite lived that one down!

    • Carrie says:

      Hi Becky! Yes, parchment is okay for my guys. That’s my next thing to try with bread. 🙂 Thanks for the suggestion!

      And OMG! That sounds like an AWESOME kitchen failure! (Not awesome as in “cool, great” but awesome like “filled with awe” and “oh crap, I’ll never hear the end of this!”) Thanks for sharing!

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