Wednesday, September 16, 2009

It's ALIVE!!!

Yeast I’ve had to do a lot of cooking and baking while testing the recipes I include in my Booktown Mystery series. For the most part, it’s fun. (Okay, maybe not that time I had to make and remake the savory muffins until my husband pleaded with me to STOP ALREADY!!!) But there’s one thing I have never attempted: anything with yeast.

Well, sort of.

Years ago, I attempted to make homemade pizza. I didn’t want to bother with yeast, so I bought a roll of frozen bread dough, which the recipe’s author assured me was A-OK with her. I followed the package directions, added my sauce, pepperoni, and vegetables on top and popped it in the oven. Some 20 minutes later I was horrified to open the oven and find that my pizza dough had risen to about three inches high, knocking off most of my toppings. And that’s when I realized it: the yeast in the dough was ALIVE and probably had been out to get me.

Gulp.

Cinnamon-rolls One of my favorite coffee table books is The Romance of Country Inns by Gail Grecco. In it, she includes a recipe for cinnamon rolls. She has included a gorgeous photograph (of not only the cinnamon rolls, but of Sedona, AZ as a backdrop. (Gail’s husband Tom Bagley is a professional photographer and has taken photos for most of her cookbooks.) I must have had that book for a decade (or more) and looked at that lovely photo and longed to make those cinnamon buns, except . . . they’re made with yeast.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to assemble the ingredients to make bread, right? Then why does the thought of adding that little yeast packet to warm water terrify me so? Is it because it’s a living thing, or that it might go out of control – or is my mother’s not-so-great results at breadmaking. (If you ask her, she’ll say every loaf was a success—okay, they were, if you ate it right out of the oven and spread with a lovely layer of butter, but otherwise– Sorry, Mum.)

I’m determined to make those darn cinnamon buns one day. In fact, I’ve assembled at least ten different versions of the recipe in hopes that one day I’ll gather up my courage and JUST DO IT.

But not just yet. I have to find the courage to do so.

And what are you afraid to cook?