And it was shaping up to be such a fantastic loaf.....
The other week I was at the library, returning the books that had somehow slipped my attention and were now overdue and looking for new ones to replace them, when I came across the River Cottage's third book on bread. Of course, having read good things about it on other blogs, I immediately put that little gem in my bag before it anyone else could snaffle it. I'm like that in the library - furtive and incredibly swift in my selections!
Anyway, back to the story at hand.....I have since had two attempts at creating a masterpiece of yeast and flour (truly, santa brought me a breadmaker last year - I'm lazy!) inspired by Daniel Stevens' passion and while the first was a dismal failure (think tasty but very dense floury brick), the second was shaping up to be something truly amazing!
I had loved and attended this dough like nothing ever before. And it responded with gusto. I even took it to the shop with me because I worked the afternoon and I didn't want it to rise too much without me there to punch it down (delicately, because I love it sooo very much!) and because the shop was heated and home wasn't -see how much thought I had put into it!
It was such a beautiful loaf too, rising so deliciously at the end there in its tin placed so strategically on the floor in front of the fire (the warmest part of the house), close but not too close....
And that's when it all went pear shaped.
I should have expected it, really.
It was going so well until then.
So, you know how my hotplates have died a sad and horrible death? Well, add to that now the oven.
Black smoke and a horrid electrical smell coming from the back of the oven that had only minutes before finished baking the most perfect pizzas ever (that's right, ever - so said the LOML and we all know that he never exaggerates!!!) greeted the LOML as he went into the kitchen to answer his phone.
On the one hand, I'm so very glad that he did go in (who knows what could have happened if he hadn't - our house is built from 60 year old hardwood timber - a tinderbox if ever there was one!) but on the other hand......why now, of all times? Why could this not have happened two weeks ago? Or even the night before, long before I had invested all my love and attention into my wonderful loaf...!
RIP Westinghouse Macquarie. You've served well and will be sorely missed.
So I now have a stove that is purely cosmetic and serves only as an additional benchtop in my kitchen. No cooking to be had, just for looks this sucker. Dated, early nineties looks to boot. Not good for any kitchen.
I am distraught. Totally distraught.
I don't know why and I don't know how but my days of baking are at an end - temporarily I hope because there is only so much a person can do with a two burner camping stove fueled by an 8.5kg gas bottle on the bench. Of course, now that I have no oven, all I want to do is bake stuff. Cakes, biscuits, roasts....you name it. Of course. That was always going to happen.
And I won't even go on about how I smashed one of my best baking dishes the night before - one that has been with me since I first moved away from home. It's not the sentimental side that got me, it's that it was a great shape and I got it cheap. And now I have to go and get a new one and pay too much for it.
I think I'll just have another red wine....
* on a side note, I managed to save (barely) the loaf by manhandling it and manually proofing and baking it in the breadmaker. Not for long enough the proofing it turns out, but at least the end result was edible. Sad, so very sad.
God help me if the electricals in this house ever give up the ghost (touch wood - always a very real possibility in a house of this vintage.....). It'll be BBQs by candlelight all round.....I think I'll just book into a (five star) hotel until it's all better.....