Bread Baby—BB—is officially pissing me off. The, “Oh, look how much she’s grown!” and the “She’s going places—she’s going to do Great Things!” musings have stopped.
Ladies and gentlemen, I’ve got a raging, hormonal, embittered, stubborn, lazy sourdough starter on my hands.
She had so much promise. She was light and bubbly and had that tangy-sweet smell to her that all new bread babies have (or so I’ve been told). She happily puffed up when I fed her, and I learned to interpret the signs that she was hungry and needed more attention.We bonded. We loved each other. Or so I thought.
Her first loaf was rather … short. “That’s okay,” I said. “Perhaps she’s just vertically challenged so early in her life. She’ll hit puberty soon enough and shoot up like a yeasty beanstalk.” I comforted myself with hopes for the future.
Then the second loaf was the same. And the third. I ended up overcooking the fourth one.
My dear BB couldn’t get it up.
I’ll be the first to admit—I got frustrated. I didn’t do a good job of hiding my frustrations from BB, either. Instead of working with her, I lost my patience and shipped her off to boarding school, otherwise known as the refrigerator. There, I hoped she would chill out enough to come to her senses. Slow things down. Frankly, I needed time to cool off as much as she did.
An experienced baker friend sympathized with my angst and sent me a recipe for a quick, easy, painless, no-knead bread. With store-bought (read: impossible-to-fuck-up) yeast. “You can’t mess it up,” she said. “It’s so easy,” she said.
And here’s what happened:
I fucked up the un-fuck-up-able bread recipe. I had a wet, soggy mess of a loaf that couldn’t get it up if you crushed up a bunch of Viagra and mixed it into the dough until it was as blue as Papa Smurf.
In short, I failed. So far in this experiment, I have been a complete failure. The words “THREE NINETY-NINE. THREE NINETY-NINE. THREE NINETY-NINE,” keep ringing through my head. Why? Because that’s how much a loaf of authentic sourdough costs at Whole Foods. Three freaking ninety-nine. BB is costing me way more than that, and she’s not even behaving herself.
Plus, BB hates me. I bring her home from refrigerator boarding school a few days before I want to bake, like everyone says to, and I feed her and nurture her and put her in her nice warm countertop bed and she barely talks (words being bubbles and all). I get a few measly words. More like grunts. Not the giant streams of endless babbling and bubbling she shared in her early years.
Will she grow out of this? Will she hate me forever? I just don’t know. I’m not ready to give up on her quite yet. I’ve put so much time and effort and stirring into her development. Am I doing something wrong? Do I need to be more patient? Am I being punished for all the years I ate low-carb? Did the days and months of breadless countertops leave my kitchen devoid of the wild yeast that BB so desperately needs?
I think this whole thing is proving I’d be a terrible mother. One of those who, as soon as her kid gets the least bit out of line, starts obsessing and blaming herself, connecting that tiny person’s present behavior with things she did 20 years before she even thought about maybe getting pregnant.
Yes. I’m definitely one of those. Thank God my parenting is currently contained to two cats and one beige blob in a mason jar.
Sorry, BB. You’re not a blob. You’re beautiful.