Read your recipe BEFORE starting
I always harp about the importance of a proper mise en place and just as important is to read through the instructions to make sure you understand the procedure and to double check that you have everything.
I admit I do not always do my mise en place at the bakery but if you are baking at home I certainly suggest it. Why don’t I always do it at the bakery? Well, there I may have 300 pounds of sugar and several hundred pounds of various types of flours and a couple gallons of vanilla and, well, you get the point. There is a good chance I have everything I need. I know what I am using and am keeping an eye of the ingredients used by others in the shop so I am confident we have what I need in inventory on our supply shelves. Baking at home is a different story though. There I only buy vanilla 16oz at a time or milk a gallon at a time instead of the 10 gallons delivered to the bakery. The inventory at home is much smaller and I do not have a handle on what my housemate may have used. (Maybe I should get a ‘sacred’ cabinet or shelf in the fridge?)
I tell you all of that to tell you this:
Are you sitting down? This may come as a shock to some of you. Ready?
Not everything you read on the internet is correct.
Wait! What? Yes, I know. Shocking isn’t it?
Here is what happened: I was in the mood for some pudding. “Maybe I have some JELL-O instant chocolate pudding left over from when I made the EXXXtreme Chocolate Cake recently?” I said to no one there and no one heard at all not even the chair. (Sorry. I am a rocker at heart but I love me some Neil Diamond too. Don’t judge me.) Quick check of the supply shelf and none to be found. Besides it is just as easy to make chocolate pudding from scratch as it is from a mix so I jumped on line to find a recipe. I just pulled up the first one I could find and started to read through it. By the end of my read I was scratching my head wondering what I missed.
This person had left out some key ingredients from the method part of her chocolate pudding recipe, namely the addition of the chocolate. How do you miss that? I had to go back and read it again. Yep, not a mention of when or how to add the chocolate.
Not really a big deal in this case. You guys and dolls are smart. You could have figured it out. Yet sometimes there are recipes where there is a step like “Let rest overnight” and if you needed the dessert tonight, well then it is a walk of shame down to the local bakery to buy something if you failed to read and understand the directions well enough in advance.
So there you have it: Always read and understand your recipe and method before you mise en place and before you start mixing.
Now go bake something and let me know how it turned out.
Do you have any stories about how a recipe went terribly wrong because
you someone you know did not read the recipe before getting started? Let me know in the comments.