Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Addicted to my digital scale and other tales

I became crazed the moment I realized the digital scale was not working. It was literally right in the middle of mixing together a sponge for the third try at bread #46. I must have been leaning on it while I was talking on the phone and mixing the sponge at the same time. Early the next morning, I ran out for batteries, but new batteries did nothing. The error message kept appearing. The scale was broken. There was no troubleshooting chapter of the brochure, nor a page on the website with a miraculous fix. There is, however, a lifetime warranty on Escali scales, but the employees are not elves; they don't work weekends or respond to emails after five on Fridays.

I feel like I am in withdrawal.

I actually went back to old recipes for volume measures and for recipes where I translated my volume measurements for weight measurements - then worked backwards. I am hoping for a quick Escali response and an invitation to mail back the scale and have it fixed. My fragile balance of life is thrown out of whack.

Bread #46 in development
I am stuck on bread #46, a sourdough challah that I have already made three times. I want this to work. I feel close, but no cigar.

1. Do not make a dough, a sponge, or any pre-ferment at the same time as doing something else. I forget where I am in the recipe or I neglect to write down a measure or a time. Or something else, definitely something, will go wrong.

2. Do not talk to your best friend from high school, who lives half a world away - that's 12 time zones - in a high school-like chattering, wonderful conversation, and expect the bread not to suffer.

3. A dough is like a baby; it needs attention, especially at first.

4. After nine o'clock at night is as bad as five in the morning in terms of brain operations.

5. The aforementioned phone call was at about 9:30 at night. Two strikes against that bread. Still, the dough came out well. It was the overheated spot in the kitchen that precluded perfection.

6. Perhaps my family is using a challah voodoo doll to jinx this challah series because they already love my regular challah and they do not want to taste or become accustomed to anything else.

7. I apologize for using the word "addicted," because I read a few of the articles about the death of the late Phillip Seymour Hoffman, may he rest in peace, and there are so many people like him who are unable to overcome their demons, instead drowning themselves in narcotics or alcohol. So sad how many people he saw and interacted with in those final days, all of whom said how sick he looked, and no one reached out or pulled him in to take care of him.

8. Even with that perspective, life feels askew without my digital scale.

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