There’s a lot of ways to get frustrated (believe me, I’ve tried most of them). But being a connoisseur of things that tend to make you want to shout/throw appliances out of multiple-story windows, I think I’ve managed to settle on the king; the single most irritating and bone-shakingly frustrating thing I can conceive:
Screwing up at baking.
And there’s a reason why I chose baking specifically, and not just “anything you happen to be flailing about at in the kitchen”. Sure, spending a few hours on a roast and watching it come out dry as an African desert and taste…well, also like an African desert is pretty damn discouraging. But screwing up a cake or a pastry is its own special level of hell.
That’s because unless you’re making something offensively easy like bread pudding, baking is a fine art, and a craft that comes down to the millimeter. If you’re making something ambitious (and really, why would you be a baker if you weren’t?) it’s going to take hours of proofing, frosting, mixing, and eyebrow-furrowing to get it right.
So when all that work deflates in the oven or explodes in your face, your measly little cupcake artist-cum-Martha Stewart wannabe aspirations go right along with it. Being a normal, average frustrated person is plenty enough to make you want to put your first through the nearest non-fist-supporting object. Being a frustrated baker is like meticulously building a house of cards, and then trying to fill that house of cards with frosting and praying it all doesn’t fall down in the process. It’s maddening.
Which is all to say that this week I (metaphorically) tried to do just that, and met with predictable results. Turns out yeast doesn’t like to do the whole rising thing when it’s cold out, so I ended up with the world’s flattest donuts on my hands. Luckily, the cream filling and the glaze turned out just fine, so if you’re not an idiot like me and actually check your damn thermometer, this should go well. If not, then you’re gonna have the world’s worst game of 52-pickup on your hands…along with a crap-ton of frosting.
—Fresh Beats, Fresh Eats