Reconsidering lovin' the oven
Essentially, my oven is a liar. It claims to be hot enough when it's still 100 degrees away. It pretends to maintain consistent temperature while quietly cooling down. It beeps at me for no good reason.
The incident that led to my loss of baking confidence occurred two years ago: a Christmas cake recipe that promised moist, fruity richness manifested itself as a dense, impenetrable slab of concrete.
After that, I installed a stand-alone thermometer (aka lie detector), which helps a little. But I'd already been betrayed, and it was hard to believe I could ever really trust it again.
And then, through my enlistment in the Foodie BlogRoll, I discovered Baking for Britain's recipe for Cornish saffron cake.
Sure, I could probably have started slowly, maybe with cupcakes or oatmeal cookies. But the cake was so wonderfully yellow, and the recipe was allegedly devised by a 6-year-old, so I figured I was safe.
It starts with saffron in warm milk.
The dough has butter, flour, sugar, yeast, the saffron-infused milk, and dried fruit.
Once baked, the loaves are--
Wait, let me rephrase that.
I baked something! And it worked!!
Oven: pwned. For now.