Coach laughed at me when I did this yesterday. It was Easter Sunday. I was making my very awesome and moist Irish soda bread. It is my great-grandmother's recipe. I know a lot of Irish people, and none of them have ever eaten Irish soda bread as moist and delicious as this recipe. It always gets rave reviews. I can't remember ever messing it up.
I always double the recipe. In our house, we can never have enough Irish soda bread. Besides, I often share. Two large mixing bowls were positioned in front of me. I was counting 3 teaspoons of baking powder into each bowl.
One (normal, whispered tone to myself) . . . Curly entered the room and started to talk to me. . . TWO (slightly louder, as if I was conversing with someone), . . . THREE (a modified shout).
Coach scoffed at me. 'How hard is it to count to three?' The rest of our offspring heckled me a bit about my need for silence so I can concentrate on my craft. Hey, we all have our 'things', right? My mind is always running. There are always things I am trying to remember to do. I have to block out my own remembering in order to give my full attention to baking.
I felt a bit like the little red hen. In my version, I am not asking anyone to help me thresh the grain into wheat. Instead: 'Who will shut the Hell up, so I can bake some Irish soda bread?' After being heckled, my little-red-hen-self pretends not to share the bread with them . . . that doesn't last long, because I can't even eat the heavenly bread anymore. Damn celiac disease.
When I poured it into the pans, I started to doubt whether or not I had messed it up. It seemed too dry. My two different one cup measuring cups were in the dishwasher. Rather than open the dishwasher mid-cycle, I opted to use the large measuring cup that is really more for measuring liquids. I prefer to dip the cup, and level the flour. Instead I dumped the flour into the big measuring cup until it was at 3 cups.
Now I wondered if it the flour was too packed into the cup. Coach assured me that it would be fine. If I thought it was too dry, why not add a bit of buttermilk? What? Why would I listen to him? What does he know about baking? Desperate times, call for desperate bakers to do stupid things, I guess. There was only about a tablespoon of buttermilk left in the container. I drizzled a bit in each of the pans and stirred it into the batter just before I popped it into the oven.
Coach's sister arrived for Easter dinner with her kids. Her husband was stuck at home working on taxes. I had teased him the day before while trying to entice him to join us. I texted: 'Does warm soda bread speak to you?' The oven buzzer beeped. The bread was done. I felt like someone punched me in the gut. My bread was ruined. It looked like albino raisin bread. What the Hell?
I tried to think back. I couldn't recall putting the baking soda in the batter. Had I skipped an ingredient while being heckled?
The bread was edible. I couldn't sample the weird results. Coach and Eddie insisted they liked it very much, maybe even better than the original. Whatever. I still sent a small plate of the colorless bread home with my sister in law. With a note attached for her husband: 'Enjoy the sub-par soda bread.'
I wish my little-red-hen self had the last laugh, but I don't find baking mishaps funny. 'Do you want to make fun of me for concentrating on making YOU bread? Do you want to help me eat the bread that didn't turn out? Well, go right ahead.'