Never bake at 4 am!

This is a story that is outright hilarious. It’s hilarious because it’s a story about what happens when you don’t listen to the inner voice that suggests that you simply go to bed. Unless you are used to such activities at that time in the morning, I suggest leaving it to the professionals.

It all started with me asking a friend if we could meet up so we could catch up. I haven’t caught up with this friend in 10 years, and we were actually supposed to meet up before. Unfortunately, the initial plans got canceled. Because I really wanted to meet up with this friend, I contacted her on Facebook. She didn’t see my message until about Thursday to meet up Saturday, but she wasn’t busy. Hooray! We scheduled to meet at her house that afternoon.

Friday night, I was doing a favor that had me up until 3am, and even then, I barely made it! I drove home, and stepped into my house at 3:30 am. Then I remembered… oh snap! I wanted to make cinnamon rolls! The trouble with this was that these cinnamon rolls need to sit overnight, and it was already closing in on 4am!… and once the dough is made, it must rise for 2-1/2 hours! Well, there was no time to waste!

All the while, I was very drowsy, and had the nagging feeling to just go to bed. I was not trying to hear this, though. I persisted… and this is when things get bad.

I rushed towards my refrigerator as if I was chasing it down, and snatched the door open. All the ingredients were there, including one last stick of butter that had survived my sister’s cookie-making stint! And it was unsalted! Yes! I grabbed it out, and reached for the buttermilk. It had been in the fridge for about two weeks now; had it survived?

Cautiously, I opened it up. What greeted me was a nauseating foul kind of smell and a lumpy liquid. I know buttermilk smells a bit off to begin with, but this would never do. It had to make its way down the sink, and it was also chased by cold water. Now this should have been enough for me to just do a 180 and go to bed… but no. It was past 4am now, and I was at the point of no return; there is no true ability to reason with yourself after 4am when you’ve also spent the day being awake. “This won’t take long, though”, I told myself. “I can do this! I’ll just set an alarm for 2 hours!”

NEVER listen to your insane ramblings when you’re getting closer to 5 am, which is about 1-1/2 hours away from when you had awakened the previous morning.

I forged on, and found a way to make something similar to buttermilk on the Internet. This is when disaster struck.

Everything went on according to plan. I divided the eggs, tempered in the hot butter, and added my buttermilk mixture. After that, I added in the flour and started to mix… but oh crud! I forgot the yeast! Even though the dough should’ve been formed by now, I could probably add it now. I threw in the yeast and the salt, and tried to get the dough to form… but it still wasn’t forming. Maybe it needs extra flour, I thought. So I added another 1/4 cup. Still not forming! Then another went in… and another! It still was very loose!

Then I remembered… it only needed 3/4 c. buttermilk… and I had added 1 full cup! That couldn’t make that much of a difference, could it?? Maybe I can knead more flour in.

I hurriedly scattered some flour onto my countertop, and dumped the dough out. It took in the flour, but it started sticking to the surface of the counter. What was my response and, at this point, 4:30ish am rationale?? MORE FLOUR!!

At this point, there may have been somewhere close to 4 c. of flour in this dough. I decided at some point that I needed to stop putting flour in it because it could throw off the recipe or make the dough tough. I tried to pick it up and form it into a ball. If you’ve ever tried to hold a raw egg in your hand, it was something like that. The dough kept slowly flowing through my hands, and it was sticking to my hands at that! It reminded me of that old school horror flick “The Blob.”

While any moderately sane person would’ve thrown in the towel and thrown that dough in the garbage, it was quickly approaching 5am. I was neither sane nor rational; plus, I had used my last stick of butter! This dough HAD TO WORK. Beyond any rational thought at this point, I liberally oiled a bowl and put the dough inside. “Maybe it’ll be less sticky if it rises.”

This whole time, I’m still having the niggling to go to bed and 86 this cinnamon roll mission. Did I do so?

That’s right… I set my alarm to go off in 2 hours and went to sleep. I would wake up a bit before 7am to check on this dough.

After getting myself up, I discovered that the dough had expanded all right… outwardly. Not only that, it was still sticky, and on TOP of all this, it was now greasy. I don’t know if it was the 2 hours of sleep, but I was beginning to see the light. There was no way I was going to try rolling out a dough that sticky onto a table or counter. I resigned myself to late baking failure and put it in the trash. As far as what was going to happen with me bringing something to dinner, well, I’d have to consider that after at least 8 hours of sleep.

I woke up several hours later, drowsy, but feeling better. I decided to go onto Facebook to see if she had sent me the time we were to meet.

It was then that I saw this message: “I still want to meet up, but my house is in no condition to have anyone over. Why don’t we meet for coffee instead?”

I just stared at the screen, and the only thought that came to mind was “I could’ve saved my butter… and gotten some more sleep.”

Having said all of this, please learn from me: if you feel like something’s guiding you a certain way–like to your bed so that you can save yourself some time, frustration, and various ingredients, including the last bit of your butter–just listen. This is God’s way of trying to make things easier on you. As He knows, I’m the master of making things more difficult than they have to be…

2 thoughts on “Never bake at 4 am!

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