I’ve always been a fan of viewing mistakes as an integral part of creativity. Sometimes they just plain ruin the thing, but often they’re like positive mutations in the DNA of the process, allowing us insights or improvements that would have otherwise never come. I was making bread the other day–now that it’s cooler, I’m back to making 2-3 loaves a week–and as I mixed the wet into the dry, the dough came together into a much tighter, dryer ball than normal. I scratched my head for a second, and then figured out what happened: I used a plastic container for the flours and a metal bowl for the water and starter, and didn’t zero the scale when I switched. The metal bowl weighs 125 grams more than the plastic tub, so the scale read 600 grams of water when I had only poured in 475. Rather than add in the missing water and make a no-knead loaf in the Dutch oven, instead I dumped out the dough and gave it a good hard knead on the counter and then put it in an oiled bowl to rise.

After it doubled, I put it in the fridge overnight since by then it was late. The next morning I took it out, and once it began to swell a bit, I divided and shaped it into rolls. They baked in about 20 minutes. Half an hour later, I used them as the warm, chewy substrates for some serious sandwiches.

To begin, I mauled the ham, angling it just so to get nice (mostly) thin slices off of it. One of those jamón stands they have on every bar in Spain would have been useful, but I made do. Then I sliced paper-thin rounds off of a good cured salami. On the meats I deposited a damp and fragrant mound of the latest batch of kimchi, and topped it with a fat-ass slice of yellow brandywine tomato. I buttered the top half and set it in place.


This accidental level of hydration made for beautiful rolls with just the right resistance in the crust and just the right density in the crumb. White, whole wheat, and rye gave it a pleasing flavor, and the overnight retard in the fridge added nice sourness. I will surely make more of these, focusing next time on better shaping. Or I’ll just bake them in a preheated muffin tin.

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  1. September 30

    Now if that doesn’t look absolutely delicious, I don’t know what would. So if you want some real variability and surprises with your bread, don’t measure at all!

  2. September 30

    Ooh! A preheated muffin tin. That’s a good idea.

    Bread still eludes me. Maybe this is my year.

  3. October 1

    Here’s to screw-ups, then! Rye appreciates a slow rise, so that fridge trip made its day, I am sure.

    I’m gonna have to do a seed trade for those yellow Bwines. You want some Goldies (similar size except orange, but brighter in taste) or some pinks I have had going for the last 9 years?

  4. Peter
    October 1

    Ken: That’s an interesting idea. I’m getting there.

    Blanche: Get a starter going so you’ll have it when you’re ready.

    El: Sure. I’ll take some of both and send you a packet of these.

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