Yesterday, my friends took me to the Rockland Bakery where customers can purchase their grain-based products fresh from the industrial sized ovens in the back of the store. We walked alongside workers wearing plastic caps and wheeling trays upon trays of baked goods. It smelled overwhelmingly like freshly baked bread and conveyor belts whirled in the background. I felt like a privileged factory insider.
Never before have I seen so many varieties of bread. There were scones, soda bread, bagels, kaiser rolls, challah, pretzels, something that was heavily seasoned and flat. Loaves the size of newborn babies and bowling balls sat awaiting purchase and consumption, and the crumbs were strewn everywhere in patterns that would have made Hansel and Gretel despair. And it was all delicious and rather inexpensive. (Seriously, 45 cents a bagel? Where have I been living all this time?)
I never thought I would encounter the sight of mass-produced homemade goods. But they exist! A factory somewhere in New York is baking the various manifestations of bread by the thousands, and it tastes just as good as the dinner rolls you slaved for two hours to make.
At least in my case, this is true. I attempted to make cinnamon rolls today, and for all the tender, loving care I put into kneading the dough and letting it rise, I wound up burning them. Taste-wise, they were what I expected, but texture-wise, think toasted cracker in bun form instead of soft, fluffy awesomeness. I am sorry to say that the precise churning of the bread factory has defeated this novice home baker. I promise I can cook. I haven’t quite figured out why my poor rolls charred and roasted in my kitchen, but I guess I’ll just stick with store-bought goods for now.