It might not surprise you that I'm not a huge gambler. When I went to Vegas for my 30th birthday, almost 5 years ago (OY!!!!), I think I only used $5 in a slot machine, and then I was done. What can I say, I'm not a huge risk taker. This dislike of risk taking applies to many parts of my life, but that's a conversation for another day.
A few weekends, ago, however, I decided to take a little risk and make bread. In of itself, baking bread is not a huge undertaking. You really just need to follow a trusted recipe closely and hope that your yeast isn't old and doesn't get killed by too hot of the water. BUT I decided not to follow a recipe precisely, but add a few things to it instead! I'm such a rebel...not ;)
I took a great recipe from Ruhlman that I successfully made last year, and added a few things.
Olive Herb Bread: Does Experimenting in the Kitchen Pay Off?
Here's what I did: I added 1/4 cup chopped herbs (combination of cilantro and dill), 1/4 cup chopped kalamata olives, and 2 teaspoons za'atar to the dough. I added all of these fun ingredients as the dough was being mixed in my food processor.
Here's what it looked like. Pretty, right? And it smelled amazing. It looked a bit wetter than I remember the original dough looking, but I figured that's what happens when you add the extras.
I waited impatiently for the dough to rise, and it did so, but it did not double. I tried not to panic and not to scratch the entire project, although I was tempted. Instead, I added a bit more flour to the dough, kneaded it, and then baked it in a smaller Le Creuset than the recipe called for because my dough ball was quite a bit smaller.
Guess what? The bread turned out awesome! It was dense and chewy and had a great crust. I loved the bits of olives and the flavor of the herbs and za'atar. In fact, I sprinkled the bread with za'atar before baking it.
All in all, this was a successful gamble! Next time, however, I think it'd be best to add the olives and the herbs after the dough has had a chance to rise.
What are some of the risks/gambles you take in your kitchen?