The bottom element in my oven.
Just a few days ago, I was trying out a nice looking recipe from Dan Lepard (he writes for the Guardian) for semolina BBQ buns. The recipe is here. Read the forum for some details from Dan on scoring the tops of the buns. The buns are not separated after cutting and the scoring is done by pushing a butter knife right down to the base.
I let my buns rise for over an hour, but it was quite a cold day. Apparently breads rise faster at altitude. The explanation requires an advanced degree in physics and biology.
After 20 minutes in the oven, the buns looked great. On top. Then I noticed that the underside (the ass ... arse?) was still very moist and not nicely browned like the tops. Had I made the dough too hydrated? After flipping the buns over and baking them longer, they came out quite well. Perhaps not as well-risen as expected.
Then I realised that the bottom rod was not hot. No cozy glow. A cold black. That would explain things. The next problem was the two loaves well and truly risen, and needing a good baking in a hot oven. I used all my mechanical skill to repair the oven. That meant turning it off, waiting a few minutes, then turning it on again. That often works with the computer. Not with the oven. Twiddling the dial to Grill, Toast, Warm and then back to bake had no effect either. I waited more. Patience. That is the solution.
The oven temperature did not get above 150. There were plans to make a visit to Letho at the Ambient Cafe. They have installed a new oven there. Ideal for baking bread. No. In the end, I stuck with my disabled oven. The bread was cooked and edible, but rather flat and insipid.
Yesterday, I took the oven to the appliance store. He was a nice man. Very helpful. The diagnosis was very fast, no need to even plug the thing in. But the news was not good. They did not have any "rods". The last customer that had this problem is still waiting for the part to come.
"We cannot say. It comes from India."
"What .... months, years?"
He took my phone number and wrote some details in his diary. Then he phoned up the supplier. Or was it his mother?
Now, I have a very large toaster that looks like an oven. And I am exploring recipes like Grilled Lebanese Flatbread. See the recipe here.
But I do miss my oven.