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Help me decipher my gingerbread disaster!

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Help me decipher my gingerbread disaster!

LindaMc | Oct 30, 2006 05:54 PM

I'm a frequent baker and, with one exception involving merengue and a "thin stream of caramelized sugar," I've rarely experienced a true disaster despite my tendency to play around with recipes. But over the weekend I decided to whip up a batch of tried and true gingerbread (I posted a paraphrase of the recipe, from the excellent Sweet Stuff by Karen Barker, on this board last year)since I had some fresh ginger from the farmers' market.

I've made this many times, and I used the same pan as always. Same oven. I don't even mess with this recipe the way I usually do. But this time the failure was spectacular--it rose WAY too much, overflowed the sides of the pan, dripped all over the oven, then collapsed in an unsightly brown heap. I was to bring this as dessert to a friend's dinner party; I had to stop at a Whole Foods on the way over instead as all of the decent bakeries were closed and I was disgracefully low or out of necessary raw materials to do another take. So embarrassing! I won't even get into what happened after my husband decided to run the self-cleaning cycle on the oven without waiting for me to scrape off the coating of gingerbread batter...

The only mistake I think I made was in reversing the additions of the last two ingredients--orange juice and a mixture of warm coffee and 2 t baking soda. I got distracted and added the OJ first, then the fizzy coffee mixture. Could the extra acidity of the batter when I added the baking soda have caused the extreme rising and subsequent collapse? Any insight from food science experts/home eccies would be gratefully received.

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