When the Whisk hits the Paddle – Duck!

Bentwhisk

            It was as if I was watching a film in slow-motion. I was creaming butter and sugar together while streaming the eggs into it, when the whisk that I used to pre-whip the eggs fell into the bowl with the paddle beating at medium-high speed. Do you know how in the movies when scenes are in slow-motion and a character screams “Noo!” but the sound is deep and muffled just like in a vacuum? …Exactly. I heard my KitchenAid’s (KA) motor expel a horrible grating noise, saw the whisk straining against the paddle as I reached to slide the power-switch off, and then saw the same whisk go catapulting across the kitchen island as my freaked-out cat scampered for cover. 

            Silence.

I was pretty sure my mouth was agape as I stared stupidly at my mixer, a jumble of notions racing through my mind. Did I just fry the motor of my KA? Is the whisk salvageable? What if the whisk flew at me, would it have taken out an eye? Law of physics dictated though, that the projectile’s path would have been low and could have at most struck my shoulder (I could probably figure that out with some geeky kinetic equation but I do not know the velocity of the mixer’s speed). But really, the nagging thought was how I could have been so careless as to let it happen. What happened to common sense? How simply logical could it be to remove the whisk from the bowl of eggs before pouring them in? It was a classic “Duh” moment.

Kitchen Safety 101:  Be respectful of a mixer in use. It may look innocent and self-contained. But I could count the times when a glass bowl almost fell into it or how my fingers nearly got caught in its planetary motion. Scary. But do I learn? Never! Maybe now, a little paranoia will be good.

Of course there was also some explaining to be done when I presented the “Hungry” Hubby with the mangled whisk for some fixing.  I could easily have found an excuse and said that the whisk fell from the pot rack (coincidentally we kept them above the mixer) but my “white-lying” abilities were kind of absent that morning.

I was a bit alarmed as I started the KA again; I heard a rattling sound that reminded me of an old car trying to drive across the Nevada dessert. I thought for sure I needed a new machine but it turned out that the force of the “whisk vs. paddle” dislodged the bowl from its snap-on position.

All that excitement was due to the Daring Baker’s Challenge of the month: Cinnamon/sticky buns, hosted by the lovely Marce of Pip in the City. After the “incident”, I thought that surely all will be smooth sailing from henceforth.

I “made” my dough (not really knowing how it was suppose to look like) and left it to ferment as the instructions said. After an hour or so I checked on my yeasty blob. It did not budge. I re-read the instructions and it dawned on me that there was a difference between instant (rapid-rise) and plain active yeast! The instant could be added directly to a mixture to leaven it while the latter needed to be mixed with warm liquid first.

Guess which one I used?

Luckily, I had a packet of instant yeast, so I threw out my first dough and started all over again. (I later found out from Lisa, that active would have still worked but it would have probably taken twice as long to rise).

So, what I thought was going to be a breakfast of cinnamon buns was looking more like an afternoon snack.

I hated proceeding into a project without all the facts, especially after this setback, so I decided to read up about bread since I do intend making more yeasted products in the future anyway. Before my second attempt, I got out my copy of Bread Baker’s Apprentice to see if I could glean more information about how kneaded this dough had to be.

I did find interesting information. You could check if gluten development is sufficient by employing the windowpane test, also known as the membrane test. This could be achieved by stretching out a piece of dough carefully until it will hold a translucent membrane without tearing. Notice in the picture below that I had a slight tear at the corner, all I needed was to knead it for about 2 minutes more after that.

Windowpane

My dough took around two and half hours to rise. It rolled out unevenly – it was very soft- and I lost most of my cinnamon sugar as I shaped it into a log. I decided to forego sticky buns because the hubby and I were not too fond of anything overly sweet. The buns were baked in the oven for about 25 minutes until they turned golden brown. I prepared a fraction of the required white fondant glaze and waved them on playfully to decorate the buns. Then I tasted it – hmm -it was a little dry. I was a bit disappointed because they smelled so good. I immediately thought of two things that might have caused this. One, the obvious reason of baking it too long and two, I really should have used all that cinnamon sugar because they do add moisture.

Cinammonbuns2_2

When the hubby took the buns to his office, his colleagues liked them and said that it was very good. So maybe it was because I ate the corner ones which, according to Helen, could be less moist.

This was an incredible challenge. Finally finding a reason to figure out the difference between active and instant yeast was worth the trouble of having to redo the dough. There are a lot of cinnamon/sticky bun creations by my fellow Daring Bakers so go check them out here. Marce should have the recipe up on her site.

Pinksmalll_3