Sunday, June 01, 2008

flaring tempers: experimentally or otherwise

As my most recent deadline approaches, my temper grows shorter. At unexpected moments I look up, see a fairly standard bit of boy chaos, and the little voice saying, steady on old girl gets drowned out by the voice that had been chanting my To Do list (in a nice, upbeat tempo, with a muttering about the Toddles' hives in the background, a chanting of the neglected gardening and a wistful air about school politics, all coming together in a lovely symphony of stress), which is now roaring at the kids.


The roaring subsides, and the sensible little voice says ruefully, now, did you really want to go and do that? Well, no, I didn't. And now I feel guilty and bad mom-ish, and that's bound to create a really wonderful feedback cycle that can only improve matters, I snap at the voice. The voice makes a patient sound that reminds me remarkably of my mother, and subsides.

And so it goes.

On Friday, somewhere in the middle of baking, chopping, broiling and stuffing, a little voice spoke up. I'm angry with you, Mummy. I looked down. There was the Toddles, hands on hips. He looked calm. I looked surprised. Are you? He'd been playing with his play stovetop for about twenty minutes, so barring lack of participation, I couldn't think of a maternal crime that I'd committed. (recently)
Yes, he told me firmly. I'm angry with you.
Oh, I said. I'm sorry for making you angry. Would you like a hug?
Yes, he said decidedly. And three kisses.
Hugged and kissed, he looked satisfied. Thank you, he said, and disappeared again.

It is consoling, really. The Toddles - as did his brother before him - was trying out the language of anger, and experimenting with patterns of response. I rather like this pattern, and I do hope that I can settle myself (or get past this deadline) before I teach him a different one.
So, what was I baking, oh-so-crankily? Ah. Well.
Friday was roll and crumpet day, courtesy of the Gluten-Free Gourmet Bakes Bread. We tried crumpets (see middle ground, right), popovers (background, top right corner), and french rolls (foreground, bottom left corner). As the Toddles is currently off banana, coconut and flaxseed (we use ground flaxseed and water or mashed banana to replace eggs), these three recipes offered an opportunity to try egg-free, flax-free options without the risk of collapse from lack of structural support - a constant challenge in gluten-free baking, and one that rolls avoid by being more crust than center.

The popovers, alas, were once again squodgy inside - those lads really need their eggs, I suspect, if they are to pop. The crumpets were too dense, despite my attempts to lighten the texture and flavor. Eventually, I dripped some soy yogurt on them and topped them with fresh raspberries and it was still - still! - tough going. Oh, well.

But the gluten-free french bread was all delicious crust and airy insides, despite (or perhaps because of) the tweaks we'd made to the recipe in making it vegan (no gelatine, no dairy, no eggs). So airy were they, that I could almost see the heat of my internal symphony holding them up...but not quite.

Hot Air Rolls
makes 12 rolls

1.75 cups white rice flour
1.25 cups tapioca
1 Tb guar gum
2.5 Tb Ener-G egg replacer
2 Tb sugar
1 tsp agar agar
1 Tb yeast
6 Tb Vance's Dari-Free powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vitamin C powder (I use this as a dough enhancer, you can skip it if need be)
6Tb + 1.33 cups hot water
2 tsp vinegar
3 Tb vegetable oil

Mix dry ingredients together. The Man does this for me, the night before I bake, and puts the ingredients in an airtight container. In a mixing bowl, combine wet ingredients.Add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, and turn your cake mixer to a high setting, and beat for about 2-3 minutes. When you are done, the dough should be like a somewhat thick cake batter - you should be able to drop spoonfulls on a tray and not have them run all over the tray.

Preheat oven to 425F. Then, choose: if you have a cupcake/muffin pan, you can spray and use that. If you are so blessed as to have a french roll pan, you can spray and use that. Distribute the dough as you choose, then let it rise on top of your oven (or in some other warm spot) for about 45 minutes or so until double in size. (Check your yeast - fast-acting yeast will rise faster, regular will rise slower.)

Bake for 20 minutes. Let sit in pan for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a cooling rack. Sniff the most unlikely scent from a gluten-free baked good, and wonder if you haven't somehow used wheat. But you didn't.

Our next baking challenge? Making this Imperfect-friendly.


Auntie A said...

Sorry to hear about the stress levels and banana challenge, but yay Toddles! for finding such an adorable method of expressing his anger.

Thanks for linking to the Naomi Wolf article - it was interesting stuff. I'm forwarding it to my friend who is both a high school teacher and a yoetzet.

mama o' the matrices said...

Oh, I'd be interested to hear what she has to say...

Auntie A said...

She really liked the article, but we didn't go into details about it. I can ask her for more specific feedback, and/or point her to your blog if you like.