I can’t tell you how many times I heard that expression growing up. I think that most of the time I wasn’t a willfully disobedient kid, but I have always had trouble keeping focused on the task at hand — I daydream and space out and generally don’t pay attention more than most people I know. It’s worst when I’ve been reading for a long stretch of time, but it happens on a fairly regular basis even when I haven’t been reading.

One of those times when I really should pay attention and not zone out? Baking bread. I’ve been trying to make a whole wheat sourdough bread for weeks now, but those plans have been delayed several times for various reasons, usually involving me not planning ahead or not reading the instructions far enough down to realize that some stage or other had to sit for a day or three before moving on to the next step.

This morning, however, was going to be the morning. I had the sour starter all ready and fermented, had taken it out of the fridge yesterday and mixed it with additional flour that I ground myself, and ground the rest of the flour I would need to add in to make my first loaf of sourdough as well as the first loaf I’ve made with freshly ground organic flour. I got up, mixed it all together, kneaded it until it became supple and elastic, and was preparing to set it aside for the first rising.

That was when I noticed that I had forgotten to add the yeast, carefully dissolved in lukewarm water to activate it, into the dough during the mixing phase, before kneading it for the required fifteen minutes. In a panic, I tried to add the yeast and water mixture to the dough, which proceeded to splash all over the counter and slosh around in the bottom of the mixing bowl but which did NOT combine with the rest of the bread dough.


I threw away the ruined dough, and since I didn’t have more starter at room temperature premixed with flour and didn’t want to wait ANOTHER twelve to eighteen hours for my reserve starter to sour properly, I made up a batch of whole wheat buttermilk bread instead. I did grind additional flour (not having any preground whole wheat bread flour), so this will still be somewhat of an experiment, but of course I was infuriated that my carefully laid plans were thwarted.

I did manage to channel my frustration at the ruined bread into an energetic cleaning of the kitchen, so I guess it wasn’t a total loss.