And the challenge for month of June is ... *drum roll* ... Danish Braid !!
A Danish braid is a bread made from a laminated dough. Laminated doughs are doughs formed by alternating layers of dough and butter that puff up during baking (like croissants). Super tasty. And super hard.
And so began my laborious task of making a pretty Danish braid without burning the kitchen down. I knew attempting to bake bread (or ANYTHING for that matter) in my moody hormonal uneven pizzetta faux-oven was sure to end in disaster, but yet again, I ignored the Baking God and was struck down in shame.
A baker is meaningless without his oven. Sigh! Anyway, let's once again, go through my sad baking adventures. Onward! To healing!
Too bad modern technology could not penetrate the tough husks of dried cardamom. Food processor FAIL. What am I going to do now?? I know!
Edit (26/7/08) : Aparna kindly pointed out that you're not supposed to grind the husks of the cardamom, but remove them and just grind up the seeds in the pods. Thanks Aparna!
Reach under the sink and wake the beast from its slumber! The mighty giant mortar and pestle, long retired by my mother once she bought a blender, still as tough as ever. Let's see what I could do with it...
*Pound, BASH, crush*. No wonder my mum's punches hurt so much. This crap takes serious muscle! My arms ache and my fingers are numb but hey presto! Cardamom powder! HARDCORE STYLE!!
Wonderful isn't it? Totally not worth the effort. LUL.
And so I rolled out my dough for the first time...
...covered 2/3 of it with butter...
Rested it for a while in the fridge, then repeated the folding process. Two finger dents for two folds! So far 9 layers!
Third fold. Clearly not so excited anymore. Very tired. No more happy finger dents for you Mr Laminated Dough. Hmph.
And so I gave up! Baking time!
Ok. Leaking. Bad sign. Abort abort. Clearly an omen that something bad was about to happen. Even the braid was unravelling (due to uneven number of braid-thingies).
Lifted braid onto baking sheet. GAH. Braid totally unravelling already! I told myself, never fear! Something magical will happen and it will cook beautifully!
Well guess what? Something magical did happen...
MY DOUGH EXPLODED LIKE A DEMON RIBCAGE.
SPILL FORTH OH MINIONS OF HELL! MUAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!
Well, total disaster number one. Dough didn't even cook on the inside and it exploded everywhere. Note to self: make tighter braids, and don't use shonky wet fillings. Sigh.
I had some leftover dough, so I tried again. Lucky it rolled out a bit thinner this time, but I didn't have quite enough to make a tight braid.
And so it exploded again. Into a demon millipede.
Fail number 2. Looks quite cool if you ask me LOL.
Anyway, then Baking Spirit pitied me and told me, "Oh foolish child! Do try one more time! Surely happiness awaits!" to which I said, "HAHA WTF ARE YOU?" and threw pixie dust at it.
Yet, I tried again, using what little dough I had left, to try and make something, some sort of evidence that I was worthy of being a Daring Baker, and then, magically out of the oven emerged...
...a thing of beauty.