(April) fools rush in…

IMG_8878

“Ooooh, so THAT’s what that Saccharomyces cerevisiae has been doing in there!”

Working in the test kitchen here at King Arthur Flour is not without its… uh, mishaps. Herewith a comic compendium of the year’s high (low?) points in the kitchen.

Let’s start small. Wonder what happens when you “bake” a muffin in the microwave?

Lava muffin!

Love crusty baguettes. Love cheese.

Love crusty baguettes and cheese.

[Lightbulb moment!] Add chunks of cheese to baguette dough, bake in perforated baguette pan.

[Reality check] Do this ONLY if you enjoy cleaning perforated baguette pan with metal skewer, hole by hole by hole…

Our pie runneth over…

…but that didn’t stop anyone from digging in.

Hey, beauty is only crust-deep, right?

Ice cream cake. Step #1: make ice cream layer.

[Lightbulb moment!] Instead of spreading ice cream on cake and tearing/crumbing cake, freeze ice cream in cake pan, then loosen in warm water and simply FLOP it onto cake.

[Reality check] DOH! Flop is right…

A little less warm water, perhaps?

[Lightbulb moment!] Hey, bet a popover pan would be great for chocolate cannelés.

Or not.

[Reality check] “Abject failure” is simply not a term that’s EVER applied to chocolate.

Our pan runneth over, take one: bread.

Our pan runneth over, take 2. (You’ve done this, right? Tell me I’m not alone here…)

Our pan runneth over, take 3: lava cake wannabe.

“I think I put too much ClearJel in this strawberry pie filling.”

Ya THINK?!

And now, a journey through the enticing world of yeast bread.

On the left, gluten-free bread baked in the bread machine.

On the right, gluten-free bread baked in the bread machine.

Dig in! Got a hacksaw?

And, for your viewing pleasure…

The loaf that ate Chicago.

Crusty sourdough, anyone? These really, really, really, REALLY sour loaves are a great example of the un-Maillard reaction: no sugar, no browning.

Name that loaf!

You’ve heard of mystery meat, right? Meet baffling bread.

Sure, leave your bread alone for 1 minute, and what happens?

Very funny, guys…

Next up: passing the bar exam.

How’s the corner? Good. How’s the center? Good. Anyone for an edge?

Sometimes, it just doesn’t matter. All gooey – all good.

OK, kids, let’s start in the center of this bread pudding and work our way outwards.

Same with these blondies. Looks like the edge-lovers had all gone home.

Yeast bread, the sequel: bubbles & burns.

Hey, I said flatbread – not FATbread!

Baking on an oven stone makes bread extra-crisp. Extra-extra-EXTRA crisp.

But then, you don’t always need a stone. Did someone lose their sandwich?!

And sometimes a pan works just as well as a stone. Especially for extra-extra-EXTRA crisp toasted walnuts.

And now – it’s a piece of cake!

Well, that’s the way the cake crumbles. 75% success rate? Not bad…

Bundt-lette? Bungle-ette!

Uhhh…… banana bread trifle, anyone?

“Cut each layer into three thin, even rounds…”

Yeah, right.

OK, who’s the joker with the carrots?!

File under: miscellaneous mishaps –

Lovely…

…but wrong. Forgot the layer of fresh raspberries, didn’t you?

Whooooops…. Sorry, MJ! Ah, purple and green, fall’s hot color combo…

Does anyone have a spoon rest? No?

Did your mother let you do this when you were little? No wonder we love working in the test kitchen.

It’s times like this that try (wo)men’s soles…

Trust me, there WAS a good reason for this…

…but not for this. @&%@$*%&:%*”#^$@*!!

Here’s an idea: next time, let’s leave the graham cracker crust IN the pan…

Chocolate redux: from the ridiculous…

…to the – uh, sublime?

You can’t imagine how long we spent discussing whether this looked delicious, or disgusting…

…and never came to any conclusion.

Your thoughts?

Finally, when everything goes wrong…

Manage expectations.

This wasn’t SUPPOSED to be cappuccino blocks.

(Pssst, Sue – what is it again?)

Oh yeah, it’s – uh, spoon fudge!

From all of us in the King Arthur test kitchen, to all of you out there in the Real World, remember –

There’s no such thing as failure.

Only “teaching moments…”

…and bird food.

Happy April 1 (in advance)!

And, if you enjoyed this post, check out our “foolish” posts from years gone by: 2008, 2009, and 2010.

PJ Hamel
About

PJ Hamel was born in Wisconsin, grew up in New England, and graduated from Brown University. She was a journalist in Massachusetts and Maine before joining the King Arthur Flour Company in 1990, where she's been ever since. Author or co-author of three King Arthur ...

comments

  1. "sandra Alicante"

    Ha ha! I recognise some of those from my kitchen! Was that brown blob stuff (under the sourdough) supposed to be malt loaf?
    One of my best ones was when I was in Home Economics class as a 12 yr old. My mother did not want me to make the gingerbread, so I was making it for a teacher. He came in the next day and said it was very nice but not very gingery. I suddenly had a flash back, a slow replay, and realised I had completely left it out!

    Sandra, I found out later it’s the inside of a pumpernickel loaf… probably very tasty, but hard to ID when it’s just sitting there. And thanks for sharing your “whoops” moment. :) PJH

    Reply
  2. The Café Sucré Farine

    This was a perfect post for me today! The recipe that I was planning to blog about today was such a flop!!!! I was feeling a bit discouraged until I saw this – wow, even King Arthur himself has these kind of days! Thanks for the encouragement and a great website!!

    Reply
  3. kygin

    Love it! Thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing that you all are human like the rest of us!

    Not a problem – that’s our mantra, after all – “We’re all in this together.” And together, we’ll figure our way through… dropped flour buckets, crumbled cakes, and all! PJH

    Reply
  4. mikest

    Okay, now how many flops didn’t make it in here because they looked great, but… In my search for the Ultimate Lemon Cookie I decided that I needed to try creating my own cookie. I eventually succeeded using lemon curd in the recipe, however in the process I discovered one thing… If you want a tart lemon cookie, don’t, DO NOT, in your wildest dreams thing that Citric Acid (Sour Salt) will help. Nooooo….

    A little TART, were they? :) PJH

    Reply
  5. martibeth

    This story isn’t exactly a mishap, but one day I had just washed and dried my huge mixing bowl, set it on the table, and then turned back to the counter to continue getting my ingredients ready. I turned back around, and there snuggled up nice and cozy in my mixing bowl was my tomcat, Baby Cat. No, we didn’t have Meow Meow Gai Pan for dinner, but it did cross my mind!!

    Well, it was nice and warm – cats are sensible that way… Glad he avoided your dinner plans! PJH

    Reply
  6. csrockwell

    Ah. I recognize so many of these… Especially the pools of flour on the floor (oh, and let me tell you oatmeal does not vacuum up well off of tile – picture the front of the vacuum as the equivalent of a leaf blower :-) )
    Thank you for the reminder that even the “best of the best” have those days.

    My officemates just asked me what I was laughing about… I’ll take your advice and not try to vacuum up oatmeal! PJH

    Reply
  7. Michelle

    As if I did not love all of you every day just a little bit more for posting to this gorgeous, informative, helpful blog…now I love you a bit EXTRA for admitting that it’s not all wine and roses (or cake and icing) in that kitchen.

    This could quite possibly be my most favourite KAF post of all time (and that’s saying something!)

    Thanks for the smile.

    Michelle (in Melbourne, Australia)
    http://emzeegee.blogspot.com

    Michelle, “the hungry three” must be those beautiful kids – what a fun blog! :) PJH

    Reply
  8. lorna16272

    Great post to help us all feel better about our “learning experiences”. Last week I made whole wheat bread but forgot the yeast, I baked it in the pans anyway, followed your instructions for biscotti and my dog loves his new gourmet treats.

    Bet that “bread” has great chew, eh, Lorna? For a dog, anyway! Glad s/he likes it… PJH

    Reply
  9. mumpy

    okay, my vote is that the chocolate swirl thing looks really gross…and i’m ashamed to admit that i’ve seen it before.
    when my younger daughter was graduating from med school, we had a big party…the night before, my older daughter made a cake and decorated it to look like the ‘operation’ game person…she outlined the body with a medium brown frosting…she was having trouble getting the color she wanted and kept adding more frosting and more color, and finished with a ton of it left over…so the two girls and their cousin took the leftover brown frosting and went outside and created a similar swirled looking, but huge…uh,….thing?….at the edge of the sidewalk, then hid where they could watch all the dog walkers recoiling in horror while the dogs themselves were, of course, trying their best to lick the…uh, thing.
    i wanted them to clean it up but they left it overnight…it was gone in the morning….i imagine all the squirrels and chipmunks were racing around on a wild sugar ‘high’ but it was a busy day for me and i really didn’t notice.
    the truly odd thing is that the brown outline on the ‘patient’ on the cake looked just fine.

    Yipes! We could post a lot of witty comments here, but in the interest of all we’ll just say – thanks for sharing your sweet story! Irene @ KAF

    Reply
  10. anna

    I laughed all the way through this. Thanks. My favorite post in a while. Love the clear jel mistake and the dog poo chocolate! My husband gets fear in his eyes when he sees me carry a cake or pie. 50-50 that I will stumble and drop it.

    Reply
  11. bseek

    I look forward to this post every year. It makes a nice year-end review of some of the posts I meant to try, and shows some good reasons why I didn’t. Thanks for your transparency. It really does help those of us less experienced to feel better and keep trying.

    Reply
  12. cwcdesign

    Thanks for the smiles today — some are very familiar. But purple and green IS my favorite color combination!

    Michelle, you’ll have to check out the April Fool’s blogs from years past – they are as amusing.

    Reply
  13. "Nutmeg Nanny"

    Well it’s good to know even King Arthur bakers can sometimes have learning moments :)

    One of my biggest failures is when I thought it would be an awesome idea to drop caramel pieces into individual chocolate bundt cakes. The caramel sunk to the bottom and stuck to the pan. I couldn’t get the cake out (I ended up eating it out…not a horrible thing) and was left with hardened caramel in each little mold. It took forever to get all that hard caramel cleaned out of the pan. Oh well I guess. The cake was still delicious…haha :)

    Reply
  14. MelonNet

    It’s good to see that everyone has their share of baking blunders. Recently, I tried to bake my trusted “Yellow Cake” recipe for a Japanese style Strawberry Shortcake (Please try this soon ^^) and it continued to have a deflated crease on the underside (Baked it in a 9 x 13 pyrex since the cake pans were M.I.A)

    After I dusted off and assured myself that “third time’s the charm”, I left my batter unattended to come back and find that my siblings decided to add a few drops of food coloring and make it an “Actually Yellow Cake”. It was delicious.

    Reply
  15. ms.lauralou

    Ok, I have to ask, based on some of the pics that include shoes: Is there a favorite among those in the kitchen for shoes to wear that are supportive and comfy? I know many chefs wear clogs of one kind or another. I’d love to hear what your kitchen recommends.

    Danskos, maybe?

    Thanks!

    PS: I loved the pics; helps us to remember we all make mistakes and we should keep on going.

    You see Andrea’s feet in Dansko clogs. She swears by them (though she says they take a few days to break in), and adds “Dansko is what anyone who has to be on their feet all day wears.” PJH

    Reply
  16. Alisa

    It so wonderful to see even the most professional and experienced bakers have ‘one of those days’ every once in a while! I so appreciate you showing your losses as well as those amazing wins in your blog! Makes us regular bakers keep on tryin! Thanks again.

    Reply
  17. S

    OMGoodness…Michelle took my answer.
    I love KAF, and all of your posts, but I seriously love you even more after reading this!!!

    Reply
  18. Jeni

    I thought I’d try your Donut Muffins with cinnamon instead of the Allspice, and fold in some blueberries. Had the batter ready and discovered that I didn’t have any blueberries. Baked them off anyways. As I was cleaning up the mess, I realized that I forgot to add the salt. They weren’t awful (because, really, you HAVE to taste, right?), but they weren’t that great either. Loved the article and pictures!

    Reply
  19. clh2873

    “You can’t imagine how long we spent discussing whether this looked delicious, or disgusting…
    …and never came to any conclusion.
    Your thoughts?”

    on your website/blog–delicious!
    anywhere else on the net–probably disgusting :)

    Reply
  20. fussybritches19

    I could have sworn that someone snuck into my kitchen to take the “flour on the floor” picture. You mean it’s a bad idea to pick up a container of flour after using your hands to grease a pan? Yes, yes it is. Thanks for sharing the foibles we all experience in the kitchen, especially the slicing the cake layers picture! Still can’t get them quite even enough…

    Reply
  21. hidburch

    The worst ever: I was making a chocolate rum cake that called for instant chocolate pudding made with milk and a not insignificant portion of rum. The first batch would not gel. I went to the store and bought more pudding. I reduced both the amount of rum and the amount of milk. The pudding still would not gel. I put the pudding bowl in the freezer. When I opened the freezer to remove the pudding for incorporation into the cake, the entire bowl (a double batch of instant pudding) tipped out of the freezer and spilled EVERYWHERE! It was in the grill of the refrigerator, in the grooves in the door gasket, in the vents in the freezer, all over the white tile floor, up the wall, on the dining room carpet, all over me. It took two hours and three bottles of SpotShot to clean it up. As a result, I will not make chocolate rum cake for anyone!

    Reply
  22. Tessa

    My husband’s parents invented a cake that consists of layers of cake and Jell-O. Basically cake, Jell-O, Cool Whip, cake, and “frost” the whole thing with more Cool Whip . It’s pretty tasty. Through the refinement process we have discovered that lining an 8″ cake pan with plastic wrap and then using that for the Jell-O mold works well. Once the Jell-O has firmed up you can gently put a 9″ cake (or as I discovered this week a 9″ torte pan works wonderfully!) on top and flip it out, then peel the plastic wrap off. Perhaps that would have worked for your ice cream cake? I think it is easier and cleaner than soaking the bottom in warm water, which is what we first did with the Jell-O as well.

    Thanks for sharing the mishaps! It looks like a fun place to work!

    Tessa, I’m definitely taking your advice next time. Sounds like a better plan that mine! PJH

    Reply
  23. Diana

    This was awesome! So many things I’ve had happen in my own kitchen along with some actual laugh out loud moments. Perfect!

    Reply
  24. svanzutfen

    Thanks for the laughs! Yep, we’ve had the waffle iron run over. Once, and only once, I managed to flip a cup of brown sugar in the air and watch in horror as it fell to the floor. Take it from me, brown sugar on your clothes and Wicked Good Slippers is no fun. Something you can’t photograph but can imagine is how bad my tapioca pudding was without the vanilla. And just yesterday, I dropped a 10 pound bag of KAF AP flour.
    I think my favorite picture was the dressed up bread!

    Reply
  25. vel

    well, my worst mishap is my husband breaking his tooth on an attempt at sourdough bread. I guess I’ve also put in a pizza and the toppings took off on their own into the bottom of the oven. and great to know that someone else bakes in their “wicked good slippers” :)

    Reply
  26. Tara

    Hilarious! The best bakers know when to own up to being imperfect. My worst “fools” moment was during Christmas cookie baking a few years ago. I made gaufrettes every year, and for some reason, I was distracted while mixing the dough. I put a quarter CUP of salt instead of a quarter teaspoon! They tasted like salt licks!

    Of course, the gaufrette iron always gets spills and gunk all over it, like yours :)

    Reply
  27. Crystal

    Well, I’m VERY glad to see that I’m not the only one with these kind of occasional results! I recently made some bread that looked exactly like the bread that ate Chicago. Too funny!

    Reply
  28. SoupAddict Karen

    I really enjoy this April 1 tradition. My biggest flop is sadly ongoing. Last year, I wanted to ice halloween mummy cookies with white chocolate ganache. Which it turns out you absolutely do not make same the way you do chocolate ganache. The lumpy, juicy, sticky mess made me swallow hard several times just looking at it (think, big bowlful of puss). On the fifth try, I got a usable batch, but needed more. I finally gave up after the seventh. On the plus side, the fifth batch was delicious.

    Reply
  29. brendaharamis

    Oh, I love you guys. Thanx for the lighter moment. This isn’t a baking mishap, but certainly a mishap. Knowing that my husband and I were going to a club meeting, I asked my daughter to bake one of her wonderful cheese cakes. The cheese cake came out the oven with nary a crack and placed on the cooling rack. Later when Stephanie, my daughter, went into the kitchen, I heard a loud yell. The cat had eaten the center of the cheese cake. She had enough time to make another. However, the tale of the defaced cheese cake preceded our arrival at the meeting and there were a lot of questions about the safety of eating it.

    Reply
  30. Swathi

    LOVE This post. I always think I am the only one who makes blunders in the kitchen. Last week I made mango cheese cake that ended up like mango custard. Hubby put entire thing in garbage bin. He was disappointed as he is cheese cake fan.

    You are right, failures are stones of victory. Cute bread though.

    Reply
  31. eleyana

    LOL, it’s almost sad how many of those look entirely too familiar. But the one that always sticks out in my mind are the beautiful loaves of cinnamon swirl bread. They looked gorgeous. They were for friends. The problem? A cup of salt that had been left over from a crab boil had been mistakenly put back in the SUGAR canister. Good thing I needed to make an orange julius, because the horrible salty flavor finally made me check the sugar jar after the second batch was salty too. And thank goodness we had not given the loaves away yet. The cows loved them though…

    Reply
  32. MGW960W

    A question I’ve been meaning to ask (and this post reminds me of it): does each KAF baker clean her/his own pans and test kitchen area or do you have “elves” to help clean up such things as the cheese crusted baguette pan?

    During the year, anytime I have a disaster, I always think of this yearly post and feel better. You folks are the greatest!

    In general, we wash our own dishes; I always wash all of mine, because I like the instant gratification (and need my bowls and spoons and beater blades back ASAP!) If there’s anything left in the sink at the end of the day, one of our customer service teammates takes care of them, thankfully. King Arthur Flour is one of those places where we all pitch in – no one’s “too good” to do any kind of job. Definitely part of the culture with being an employee-owned company… PJH

    Reply
  33. RobertaJ

    Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU ! It’s so very reassuring to know that the “pros” sometimes have issues too.

    Reply
  34. Vanessa

    LOL, it’s nice knowing even the professionals make mistakes. As they always say learn from your mistakes. I certainly have.

    Reply
  35. Tonya

    Love all the mistakes! My “best” mistake was when I was making cookies, grabbed the cinnamon and just started dumping it in the mixer (I love cinnamon). The only problem was I accidentally grabbed the cumin. Cumin cookies. Gross. My 2 year old liked them though!

    Reply
  36. amgbooth

    Love this post. I was wondering if parchment paper wouldn’t work to line the cake pan for the ice cream. Might be worth a try. As for the waffle iron mess, that’s what the drip pan is for, right? (Which I noticed you didn’t have on it, by the way.)

    My most recent cooking fiasco was the pizza dough I made on a particularly bad day. I know I put the yeast in but it could be getting old or maybe the kids opened the bread machine. Whatever. It didn’t rise as much as it should have. I went to bake it anyway and discovered that I hadn’t put the pizza stone in the oven. Baked it on parchment right on the rack while heating the stone. Tried it. It was okay and the kids ate it, but I ordered Domino’s. Of course, when Domino’s delivered and I was signing the receipt I dropped the box. Luckily, it was thin crust and all the toppings stayed on and it stayed in the box. ARGH.

    Reply
  37. missmargaret58

    There’s an old saying: “You have to break a few eggs to make and omelet.” I think we should start a new one: “You have to DROP a few eggs to be a cook.”

    Thanks for the positive viewpoint! Irene @ KAF

    Reply
  38. ebenezer94

    @brendaharamis – I had that cheesecake mishap too. I left it to cool on top of the stove and came back awhile later to discover a divot in the middle where my cat had enjoyed her share. I confess that it was a sour cream topped cheesecake that hadn’t had the sour cream topping added yet and so I scraped out an area of the cheesecake around the divot, spread the sour cream topping on, filling in the hole, and baked it in the oven to glaze the topping as per the recipe. It looked lovely and tasted delicious. :)

    If you renamed this recipe “Kitty’s Cheesecake” everyone would think you have a baking mentor! This is the stuff of family (and baking) legend. Irene @ KAF

    Reply
  39. d in CO

    Well, it IS a test kitchen! Thank you so much for all of your efforts so recipes are KAF guaranteed. I hate to admit some of my recipes still end up as ‘spoon’ fudge.

    Reply
  40. dilsab

    Thank you for the laughs and for letting me know even professionals make things that turn out the way some of my stuff does. It all is good though. Practice makes perfect and it sure is tasty eating the mistakes! Have a great day.

    It’s all in the viewpoint, baking compadre…..we like to think of those baking mistakes/ disasters as “learning opportunities”! Irene @ KAF

    Reply
  41. hobbit

    Too funny! Although I’d never be without King Arthur in my home. I never thought of reading your blog. Put it on my list of things to do for April. This popped up and had me in stitches. I guess you’re a keeper

    So glad you’ve found our blog. Many readers see it as baking with a best friend at your elbow to guide you through recipes, both old and new. You’ll love the step by step pictures and prose. Happy Reading…..Happy Baking! Irene @ KAF

    Reply
  42. helenfl

    Love these, a reminder that my baking disasters are not unique! My son and very fussy daughter-in-law were visiting when I dropped an unopened 10lb bag of KA AP flour on the floor, splitting it open. Now if no one was there, I would have salvaged the top layer that didn’t touch the floor :-), but instead I threw out a couple of lbs of flour! I should send her a link to these pictures…guess I can’t now that I’ve posted!
    I’m with you Helen, I would have salvaged too. The 5 second rule RULES my house. ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  43. PJ Graham

    Thanks so much for this post! Aside from being very funny, it makes me feel so much better about my goofs (which I generally slide into the trash can before anybody can see them, much less take pictures of them).

    Also, the chocolate pudding-like swirl. Looks good to me! Ironically, so does the chocolatey mess above it.

    Reply
  44. sandylee6

    What fun – we learn from mistakes but laughter is the best medicine – thanks for taking pictures, keeping them and Posting – I got a major chuckle. And spoonable fudge ?? I was waiting for that recipe!!
    I’ll have to ask Sue what went wrong to see if we can make it happen again. It may be the new big thing in baking! ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  45. DebSmithMoore

    Thanks for the belly-laughs this morning!

    When I was 10-ish, my neighbor was having a garage sale and told me I could set up a table and sell cupcakes. So I ran into the house and got permission from my mom. Got out the cake mix, made the cupcakes and they puffed up SO beautifully in the oven! However, I took them out to cool and they promptly fell… terribly. I filled the indentations with frosting and called them “grand canyon cupcakes” and sold every single one of them! To this day, I have no idea what I did wrong…

    Reply
  46. vbst9

    I like to try things first before making them for everyone in the family. I just tried my first 3d bunny cake. All came out great from the pan, but once I cut into it the head was all mush on the inside. We did not let it go to waste. My daughter and I ate the backside. it was delish!!
    MMMmmm, nothing like a slice of Bunny-butt cake to hit the spot, eh? ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  47. milkwithknives

    Hooray! I’ve been looking forward to this entry all week.

    I don’t know whether to be embarrassed about this or not, but the photo of the Chocolate Ridiculousness (right above the gorgeously piped poo) literally made my mouth water. I just want to reach a spoon into the computer and start shoveling it in.

    My dog-related one came when I was making a Christmas gingerbread cake, and decided to set the pan of boiled beer/molasses on the patio for a few minutes to cool. I turned around thirty seconds later to see my dog out there enjoying a little Christmas libation. Hot beer molasses? Really? -Erin
    So funny!! Hope he didn’t put a lampshade on his head later in the day ;) ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  48. Janet

    Many years ago… My mother made a chocolate sheetcake with chocolate icing – both from a boxed mix. My brother told her it was too dry. They bantered playfully, then she took a piece and rubbed it in his face and mustache. It would not stick, even the frosting fell off. She finally conceded it could be a little more moist.

    Reply
  49. Brenda

    Speaking of pets in the kitchen–first time my daughter visited with their nearly-grown male great dane, breakfast was blueberry muffins and scrambled eggs. Went to get the butter off the washing machine (main cooking surface) to melt and there was none–Pici (Hungarian for Tiny) had eaten the entire quarter pound, wrapper and all, leaving nary a trace of evidence. Later he snitched a muffin from my plate when I went to get the water. He had a good breakfast! And I finally learned that everything was within his convenient reach. They finally had success with a LeCreuset butter dish–the only thing he couldn’t get the butter from.

    Reply
  50. lauried

    When my kids were little, and I was sleep deprived, I made a big beautiful batch of sugar cookie dough. I put it in the fridge to rest and cleaned up. Later in the day, I went to bake the cookies, but the dough was gone. I looked everywhere and felt like I was losing my mind. A huge batch of dough doesn’t just disappear into thin air. A month later I found a surprise in the cabinet where I stored the baking equipment–my well-rested cookie dough. I was so happy to know I had not just imagined making the dough. Baking while sleep deprived is a ill advised.

    Reply
  51. daphnewoman

    When I was a newlywed my new husband loved fresh hot oatmeal for breakfast. On his birthday I thought it would be nice to serve his favorite breakfast with a nice birthday candle in it. Ulp! Icky pink melted wax puddled in the middle of the bowl! Easily plucked out and enjoyed with lots of laughs anyway!

    Reply
  52. Colleen

    So, I work as an intern in a test kitchen in my home town, this week we’re doing application testing… for a product that none of us actually like, that’s made with some very sweet olives. This series of photos looks like our week’s worth of experiments… love it! Makes me feel like less of an intern and more like someone who know’s what she’s doing!

    Reply
  53. CJ

    I feel so much better now! :) Seeing that things don’t always go as planned in a professional test kitchen makes me think I can laugh about stuff that goes wrong in my own . . . . . like the two cakes that have Mount Vesuvius-ed in my oven. (Twice in three months was a little disconcerting.) Now I wish I’d taken pictures. :)
    Thanks for sharing!
    CJ

    Reply
  54. Elisabeth

    I made my living for several years baking (mostly) pies for a couple of local restaurants, so you would think that I had the whole pie process down! I was making a raspberry-banana pie, and I was in a hurry, and somehow the quarter cup of cornstarch in the filling turned out to be a quarter cup of baking soda. All the while I was putting the pastry together and crimping the edges, my mind was niggling at me, but I was thinking of all the thing I had to do to get ready — vacuum, wash hair — and it wasn’t until I was in the bathroom struggling with my hair that I heard a strange sound from the kitchen. Sort of a *foomp*. I went to see what had happened — and the horror is still with me to this day! Heaving, rippling, absolutely monster-from-outer-space from Brilliant Pink Planet! Crawling all over the inside of my oven! Foaming and whiffling and gonna GET me! Ohhh, my. I think that is the worst thing I have ever done, in the baking line, that is.

    Elisabeth, now that it’s over and cleaned up, I have to say – that’s one of the funniest baking stories I’ve ever heard! Your description is absolutely priceless… Thanks for the good laugh. PJH

    Reply
  55. Drue

    I actually stumbled upon this April 1st !!! Great tribute to unpredictably humorous baking events ! Taste will prevail ! Instant ” Have a Snack , because we can’t serve it to company that way ” Break. Happy April Fool’s Day !!!

    Reply
  56. chinchillalover

    The whole family has fun in the kitchen right? Not in our case I may be only 11 but when I bake with my older brother I come out as a baking einstein.He tried to juice a orange with the egg separator and when I asked for a 9×13 inch pan he gives a cookie sheet.Brothers are so much fun in the kitchen aren`t they.

    They are indeed, C- sometimes older brothers are challenged by those special kitchen gadgets, aren’t they? :) PJH

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  57. justthecook

    It makes me smile to know that you guys are so real. I think we all have had a few that did not turn out “just like the picture”. My husband is always a good sport and willing to eat or at least try my mistakes! Looks like that holds true for the test kitchen.

    No food is ever thrown away, thankfully – what doesn’t get consumed gets composted. In our bakery, what doesn’t get bought gets first donated to a homeless shelter, then goes to a local farmer as animal feed, then is composted. “Mistakes” are in the eye of the beholder, anyway, right? :) PJH

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  58. danpittman1

    My version of the cat/cheesecake story involves baguettes. I’d been trying for 3 or 4 weeks in a row to get them shaped right, with no success. I blamed my failures in part on my cat, who likes to be in the middle of the action and therefore made kneading the wet dough a real adventure every week. Anyway, finally I felt like I was getting the hang of shaping them and my wife was getting the hang of keeping the cat distracted while I prepared them. I rolled some beautiful looking baguettes onto my peel, and then called my wife in to help me–her job was to open the oven while I slid the baguettes off the peel, close the oven while I put down the peel and grabbed a tea kettle, reopen the oven so I could pour boiling water into a pan I had ready, and close the oven again while I put down the tea kettle. So I was explaining all this to her when the water began to boil; feeling like a harried orchestra conducter I told her, stress creeping into my voice, “open the oven now!” and turned around to grab the peel–only to find my cat standing on the peel, back foot literally in the middle of one of my perfectly-formed baguettes, giving me a look that said “what? I left you alone while you kneaded!”

    I just passed this along to all of our test kitchen cat lovers… SO funny, Dan! Thanks for sharing- PJH

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