Bruce Can Fly!

In my previous post I introduced Bruce, our newly-minted sourdough culture.  At the time, I mentioned his godlike power of raising the bread; but I didn’t realize that was only a fraction of his abilities.  Last week, I discovered that Bruce can fly.

As you might guess, this was not a happy revelation.

For the last forty-some years I’ve made my bread by hand; but Graubrot is new territory for me, so I was following the recipe.  And the recipe said ‘It’s best to use a stand mixer with dough hooks’.

Right there:  That’s when I should have asked some probing questions.

“It’s best” implies “it’s better than something else”; but the recipe didn’t specify “better than what”.  The whole fiasco was probably better than undergoing a root canal performed by a drunken chimpanzee; but since I’ve never had a simian dentist (inebriated or otherwise), I can’t accurately state that the dough hook experience was “best”.

Blindly optimistic, I scraped my rye starter dough and wheat starter dough into the mixing bowl and added the liquid and seasonings.

(Useful knowledge:  Wheat flour has a lot of gluten, which makes its dough elastic.  Rye has very little gluten, and its dough is like modelling clay.  Bruce occupied the rye starter dough.)

Even at their lowest speed, the dough hooks rapidly churned the wheat starter into a compact springy ball while the rye starter formed a slurry with the liquid.

Then (in a fit of temper or maybe malicious glee), the dough hooks seized the ball of wheat dough, flung it high, and slapped it down into the slurry at approximately thirty miles per hour.

And Bruce flew.

Oh, my, did he fly.  Ev-er-y-where.

That would have been bad enough, but the starter doughs have to ripen for at least eighteen hours before use.  So if I wanted to bake that day (and I did), I had to salvage the slurry.

It took about half an hour, but I managed to scrape most of Bruce off various surfaces and back into the mixing bowl.  I did try to use the dough hooks again, but when the mixer started to smell like burnt wiring (did I mention that Graubrot is VERY heavy?) I turned the dough out on the counter and kneaded it by hand, as I should have done in the first place.

After all that foolishness, the bread turned out fine; but I’m haunted by the knowledge that there are probably still microscopic particles of Bruce throughout my kitchen.  And now that he’s both all-powerful and omnipresent, I’m really hoping he turns out to be a benevolent deity.

But if there’s no blog post next week, you’ll know what happened…

Book 15 update:  In between rounds of company and dicing with death atop a 30-foot ladder (because our brand-new house needs most of its exterior re-caulked, grrr, don’t get me started), I didn’t make much writing progress this week.  But I’m nearly finished Chapter 5, and hoping for more writing time this week.  Fingers crossed!

25 thoughts on “Bruce Can Fly!

  1. You have the grandest adventures (or Bruce has), right at home! I had a feeling that there would be baby Bruces on the way. Hopefully, they behave and move into a commune together – maybe a new storage container – so your kitchen becomes pristine again. Well done on still being able to write some, with everything else going on.


  2. That is my fear, that mini Bruce babies will form from the tiny Bruce bits left on the walls and ceiling. Has the makings of a sci-fi horror movie.


    • I’m so, so afraid! And I hadn’t thought of Pembina Hall in years — there’s a shudder-worthy memory, right there. I wonder if the food really was as bad as I remember it, or whether I’ve exaggerated it in mind over the years. Either way, I don’t have any desire to go back and find out!


  3. Into visions of scenes from The Blob is inserted the phrase “Raspberry Splat”, which made me laugh out loud. From now on, that movie will always be known to me as Raspberry Splat. And now my son and I have a new addition to our long list of truly awful band names:

    Johnny Codpiece & the Yeasty Ooze.

    There is much frivolity and merriment here tonight. Thank you.


    • Bahahahaha!!! Thank you for “Johnny Codpiece & the Yeasty Ooze”. I’m still laughing! (And imagining the lead singer’s outfit, which is making me laugh even harder.) If that band ever comes to town, I want to see them!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh, dear . . . I think I’d have called it a day and gone back to bed with a good book!

    Oh, dear, on the exterior caulking as well. I hope there is some way to get reimbursed for that. Wouldn’t you think a builder would KNOW what to use to avoid problems? They’re supposedly the ones with the expertise and/or experience, right? Sigh.


    • So you would think; but these clowns didn’t have a clue. The house was already manufactured, and all they had to do was place it on its foundation, assemble the roof, build the dormers, and finish the siding and trim. So far we’ve discovered siding attached to thin air, structural beams without support, doors without flashing or caulking so the rain pours in, and a support wall in the wrong place, allowing half the house to sag toward the basement.

      After nagging them for a year (which was “coincidentally” the length of their warranty), I finally delivered an ultimatum: Fix the deficiencies, or write me a cheque so I can do it myself. Guess which one they chose? So I’m immensely irritated, but not half as irritated as if I was still trying to get them to fix their stupid mistakes. At least I know the work will be done right this time. (Sorry, I didn’t mean to get started. But, grrr.)

      And after another several hours atop that ladder today, I really, really want to go to bed with a good book… 😉


  5. Definitely fingers crossed on the writing front.
    Flying Bruce reminds me of my mother’s first excursion with a blender. The raspberry and cream mixture she churned at top speed and without a lid went from Christmas to breakfast, covering the celiing, the floor, the walls and my mother on its way. That dessert is now known in the family as raspberry splat.
    It is years since I have made bread, but I always preferred hand kneading. You can feel when it is ready – which my woeful eyes cannot guage.


    • Same here. My bread recipe seems to vary a bit each time — sometimes it needs more flour; sometimes less to get the exact texture I want.

      And OMG, your poor mother! I’m still laughing at “raspberry splat”. And now I’m curious about the recipe — anything with puréed raspberries and cream in it has to be good! Is it a frozen dessert?


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