This weekend was a new chapter in perseverance for Jennifer and bread baking. To back up, during Cochabamba International Church’s praise team rehearsal Thursday night, I was the last one in line to say what I would bring to Saturday’s long planned potluck. Everything had already been mentioned at least once, so I piped up “pan”! Then thought oh great, and if it doesn’t make?!
Which is exactly what happened on Friday night. A huge flop. I spent from 7 till past 11pm on my Mom’s “never fail in Bolivia” refrigerator “Easy Dinner Rolls” recipe. Big boost to the self-esteem there, for sure! The yeast seemed to work, I followed the recipe to the letter, I believe all the temperatures were right.
I suspect the pasty, extremely white, overly processed flour I used. That stuff is gross, and will NEVER be used again by me if I have any choice whatsoever! Perhaps it can serve the cook for bread crumbs…
Saturday morning I peeked at the failed bread like some miracle might have made it suddenly normal—and light and fluffy. Seeing as that was not the case, I rolled up my sleeves for a batch of Pioneer Woman’s Dinner Rolls. Change would be good! Then remembered I didn’t have any milk and it’s the last weekend before the monthly bulk dairy purchase (i.e., almost nothing in the way of dairy). No problem, there are little stores nearby. I briskly walked to one and bought two bags of milk (note: very good that I bought two!).
Once back, with a little group of toddlers and tias in the kitchen, I began what was looking to be a very lovely, beautiful batch of bread dough. Then I squealed and the kids ran over to see—bugs floating to the milky, buttery, floury surface and a worm wriggling out. YUCK! I’m fine with bugs but not in my food. Massive ingredient waste! My second batch of bread within 12 hours! And I only had a few hours left before the big event.
The tias suggested sifting the flour next time. Check. (As there was no way I was going back to the other bleached-to-death white flour.) I briefly considered buying bread on the way to the potluck, but with an eye on the fast advancing clock I just couldn’t admit defeat. I’ve been wanting to make a yeast bread for weeks now and could practically taste it. So I began to shift flour like a mad woman, with the kids standing around the trash can in wonder, saying that Tia Jenny’s bread has worms in it. This will be a hard one to live down!
(Notice there aren't any pictures to this point. No explanation!)
This third batch of bread, a much prayed-over batch, was quite possibly my best batch of bread EVER! It rose wonderfully in minimum amount of time and everything was going very well finally. I’m not sure who had more fun rolling the bread into balls and putting it in the pans—me or S. (almost 5 years old). When I asked her “S, do you like this?” she immediately gushed to me “Oh tia, I am SO HAPPY!” That’s my girl! And it made her forget about the whole worm incident - an extra benefit.
Then……the wind suddenly picked up. The sky clouded. We looked at each other confused “is it going to rain again?!” You see, we’re currently in dry season in the altiplano of Bolivia. Sure, nearing the end, but not THAT close.
I carried out the bread, in it’s final rising cycle, in RAIN, wondering why humidity negatively affects bread making. I also had a laugh realizing that the last time it rained just a couple weeks ago, also out of season, that I was also transporting food to friends and got all wet. Now I can tell you when it will rain in Bolivia even in dry season: when I’m taking food to someone!
This 3rd batch of bread continued cooperating however, and baked up beautifully in Hermana Lidia’s 40+ year old bread oven, perfuming the house.
But the story of the bread was not done yet. I brought home what leftover rolls I could find to use in a little tea party with a few of my favorite girlies on Sunday afternoon...
I’m glad I didn’t give up!
I love bread.