Rushed Ending and Making Bread (yes I’m talking about a loaf of bread)

My copy editor said my story ending is rushed. When you pay someone for comments you better consider those comments. I thought I wrapped the ending up with a bow in one chapter.

The problem is the heroine has been trapped in a mine all story long and has no communication with the above ground world. While the story is not strictly first person, how would she know what is going on outside the mine? The bad guys control the communication with the surface. They know what is coming. I don’t want a covenant way for the heroine to find out what happened in the past and on the surface.

I have to rewrite the story ending and that is going to be a pain. The heroine does not have X-ray vision or other superpowers. I can’t hand her the information on a silver platter. I am playing by the rules. No deus ex machina. This is a pain.

What do you, the reader, want in an ending? Do you want a quick ending? Do you want it to end with hugs and kisses? Do you want every last plot line tied up? Or can I leave some things for the next book? Write me or leave comments.

The ad, always the ad

Isolation bread

In a previous blog I mentioned that I have been making bread. The loaves are less than mediocre. I’m not looking for a great loaf of bread, but I do want a good loaf. Currently the loaves are tough and crumble when sliced. The bread taste OK, but something is wrong.

There is an old rule for cooks: In cooking you follow your taste; In baking you follow the recipe.

So, I researched for light bread machine bread recipes. I got three that were at the top of the search results. I tried them. It helped, but it didn’t help much.

The standard recipes for bread machine bread calls for one cup of water for three cups of flour. The first recipe called for one cup of water for two cups of flour per cup of water.

With two cups of flour the loaf came out a little better and was softer, but the top of the loaf did not get done. This happened twice.

In this time of stay at home I can not get all the ingredients the recipes call for. The store is out of bread flour. I have some store brand (regular) flour and I have to make the best of it. Many recipes call for the little packets of yeast, either quick rise or bread machine yeast. Those packets coast more than a loaf of store bread and the store is out of the packets and has been for weeks. I was able to get a block of Red Star Active Dry Yeast. It cost about the same as six foil packets (one packet equals 2 teaspoons of yeast). I’ve got enough yeast to last years, but yeast does not last that long so I need to use it up.

I am experimenting. That means things fail and bread, or the bad imitation of bread, gets thrown out. First experiments were to figure out if active dry yeast needed to be proofed before being added to the bread machine. It looks like the active dry yeast can be added to the bottom of the bread machine pan along with the water and sugar as long as the salt is added on top of the flour. Salt kills the yeast, but the bread needs salt in the dough.

Some people rave about how bread taste better when you use butter in place of oil. I have tried it both ways. Not a noticeable difference in the crumbling of the bread or the fluffiness of the inside of the bread.

There are only five ingredients in bread. That’s five things that I can change the amounts of, or try substitutions for, but I record the difference the changes make. You have to keep straight what did what, and your memory is not good enough.

So far I have used to much yeast and blown the top off one loaf of bread. I have used to much water (or more water that is standard) and gotten a sunken undone top of the loaf. I have made a loaf without salt and it did not make much difference. I have made dough in the machine then placed the dough in a pan and baked the loaf in the oven. I did it a second time and kneaded the dough ten minutes before placing it in the pan (it was still dense and not to good). Why is the loaf dense and crumbles when I cut it? More disasters to come.

If at first you don’t success, try changing something, but keep records so you can track what change gave you what results and when it goes right you know what works.

Stay strong, write on, and bake, bake, bake.
Professor Hyram Voltage.

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