Monday, July 9, 2012

Garlic Knots and Bread Drama

What I need to start doing is just bringing the camera with me to the kitchen no matter what I'm doing in there, in case something *really important* happens that I need to tell you about.  But I didn't do that, so we have no process horror pictures.

I think that means this isn't a fail, but is instead a hot tip, since I won in the end, but whoa was it a fail early on. 

We made this pesto pasta chicken dish.  It was good, but probably not different from all the other pesto pasta chicken dishes for me to write about.  Fresh pesto, chicken sauteed with garlic, some roasted red pepper and storebought spaghetti because yesterday was the day that dough refused to work in my house and try as I might, the pasta dough would not come together. 

Also, garlic bread.  Bread sticks.  Garlic knots.  It evolved throughout the day and into the evening. 

I wanted a fluffy and luxurious bread, and since the bread I make tends to be a bit whole-wheaty for what I was going for, I turned to the internet.  I turned to a fairly embarrassing web search for chain restaurant food, and came up with this breadsticks recipe.  You know, *those* chain restaurant breadsticks. 

Except I wasn't going to do it all simple-like.  I added a bunch of garlic powder and romano cheese powder to the dough.  And red pepper flakes.  And goodness and love.  And set it to rise in my china cabinet. 

Yes, we have "air conditioning" on, but unless you're sitting directly in front of the wall unit, it's been 82 and melty in the house, so I wasn't worried about a breeze affecting my dough, and besides, it was closed up in the china cabinet.  So I was quite surprised to discover that after an hour and a half, the dough hadn't risen at all.  At all.  Like, it wasn't puffy whatsoever. 

I checked the date on my yeast, and all was well, and figured I had used water that was too hot and killed it.  Maybe I didn't wait for it to get really foamy. 

I was sad. 

The dough was smooth and luxurious and had used the last of my butter. 

I got to Googling.  

"Dough didn't rise"
"Can I save unrisen dough"
"What do I do with dough that didn't rise"
"How to re-use dough that won't rise"


And the internet was all like, "You're screwed, lady." And I was like, "No!" and the internet was all like, "You must have mucked it up somewhere along the line," and I was like, "But it's all the butter I have!" And the internet shrugged and said, "Crackers?" And I put my foot down. 

So I took out some more yeast and took the temperature of the water and waited until it got really foamy.  I threw that in my stand mixer and tore my unrisen dough into bits, tiny little bits, pinches, and put them back in the mixer.  I added a bit more flour, since I had that yeast water, and kneaded it for five minutes and put it back in the  china cabinet.   Lo and behold, it rose.

Then we started getting confident.  We rolled it into breadsticks and stuck it in the music room upstairs, the one room without any sort of AC, and closed the door.  And got to making filling.

Garlic scapes, garlic, red pepper flake, olive oil, sauteed until just before the garlic would have browned.  Waited an hour for the breadsticks to rise again (and they did, a little bit) and smeared them with the garlic saute.   Tied them into knots, spritzed with olive oil, sprinkled with more garlic and some parmesan then 10 minutes in a 375 oven.

And they were luxurious.  Rich.  Garlicky. Amazing. 

The internet does not seem to believe you can resuscitate bread this way, so you know, don't start off with it as your plan, but if you end up screwed with unrisen bread, it's worth a shot. 

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