I’m lucky enough to have a mother who teaches people how to cook for a living.  I just wish I took advantage of her knowledge when I still lived at home.  I just got interested in baking this year and I’m experiencing a lot of beginners luck in the kitchen.  I’m realizing that sometimes I learn more from my failures than my successes. 

When something goes right I don’t spend enough time reflecting on why it went well.  I’m too busy gobbling up the finish product.  I spend much more time thinking about why a recipe went wrong.  Mostly because I have nothing to eat.  Some of the time is spent feeling silly for making the mistake.  I am realizing that while I hate wasting ingredients, not all is wasted.
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Last weekend I made delicious pretzel bread and I decided that I would really like to add more baking soda and make the pretzel bread smaller.  I didn’t think through the impact of doing both of these alterations at the same time. 

The result? I added so much baking soda that burned my tongue and ended up throwing away the entire recipe.  What did I learn?  There is such a thing as too much baking soda in boiling water.  On the plus side, I discovered that If you boil the dough for a whole minute with baking soda, they puff up perfectly.  After the disastrous batch, I threw away the failed bites and started over again. 
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The second batch was twice the size, the amount of baking soda was carefully measured.  With these changes made, I couldn’t stop the bites from jumping into my mouth!  It was really good for me to reflect on the mistakes I made and get to correcting them immediately.