"Ooooh, so THAT's what that Saccharomyces cerevisiae has been doing in there!"

Working in the test kitchen here at King Arthur Flour is not without its... uh, mishaps. Herewith a comic compendium of the year's high (low?) points in the kitchen.

Let's start small. Wonder what happens when you "bake" a muffin in the microwave?

Lava muffin!

Love crusty baguettes. Love cheese.

Love crusty baguettes and cheese.

[Lightbulb moment!] Add chunks of cheese to baguette dough, bake in perforated baguette pan.

[Reality check] Do this ONLY if you enjoy cleaning perforated baguette pan with metal skewer, hole by hole by hole...

Our pie runneth over...

...but that didn't stop anyone from digging in.

Hey, beauty is only crust-deep, right?

Ice cream cake. Step #1: make ice cream layer.

[Lightbulb moment!] Instead of spreading ice cream on cake and tearing/crumbing cake, freeze ice cream in cake pan, then loosen in warm water and simply FLOP it onto cake.

[Reality check] DOH! Flop is right...

A little less warm water, perhaps?

[Lightbulb moment!] Hey, bet a popover pan would be great for chocolate cannelés.

Or not.

[Reality check] “Abject failure” is simply not a term that's EVER applied to chocolate.

Our pan runneth over, take one: bread.

Our pan runneth over, take 2. (You've done this, right? Tell me I'm not alone here...)

Our pan runneth over, take 3: lava cake wannabe.

“I think I put too much ClearJel in this strawberry pie filling.”


And now, a journey through the enticing world of yeast bread.

On the left, gluten-free bread baked in the bread machine.

On the right, gluten-free bread baked in the bread machine.

Dig in! Got a hacksaw?

And, for your viewing pleasure...

The loaf that ate Chicago.

Crusty sourdough, anyone? These really, really, really, REALLY sour loaves are a great example of the un-Maillard reaction: no sugar, no browning.

Name that loaf!

You've heard of mystery meat, right? Meet baffling bread.

Sure, leave your bread alone for 1 minute, and what happens?

Very funny, guys...

Next up: passing the bar exam.

How's the corner? Good. How's the center? Good. Anyone for an edge?

Sometimes, it just doesn't matter. All gooey – all good.

OK, kids, let's start in the center of this bread pudding and work our way outwards.

Same with these blondies. Looks like the edge-lovers had all gone home.

Yeast bread, the sequel: bubbles & burns.

Hey, I said flatbread - not FATbread!

Baking on an oven stone makes bread extra-crisp. Extra-extra-EXTRA crisp.

But then, you don't always need a stone. Did someone lose their sandwich?!

And sometimes a pan works just as well as a stone. Especially for extra-extra-EXTRA crisp toasted walnuts.

And now – it's a piece of cake!

Well, that's the way the cake crumbles. 75% success rate? Not bad...

Bundt-lette? Bungle-ette!

Uhhh...... banana bread trifle, anyone?

“Cut each layer into three thin, even rounds...”

Yeah, right.

OK, who's the joker with the carrots?!

File under: miscellaneous mishaps –


...but wrong. Forgot the layer of fresh raspberries, didn't you?

Whooooops.... Sorry, MJ! Ah, purple and green, fall's hot color combo...

Does anyone have a spoon rest? No?

Did your mother let you do this when you were little? No wonder we love working in the test kitchen.

It's times like this that try (wo)men's soles...

Trust me, there WAS a good reason for this...

...but not for this. @&%@$*%&:%*"#^$@*!!

Here's an idea: next time, let's leave the graham cracker crust IN the pan...

Chocolate redux: from the ridiculous...

...to the – uh, sublime?

You can't imagine how long we spent discussing whether this looked delicious, or disgusting...

...and never came to any conclusion.

Your thoughts?

Finally, when everything goes wrong...

Manage expectations.

This wasn't SUPPOSED to be cappuccino blocks.

(Pssst, Sue - what is it again?)

Oh yeah, it's - uh, spoon fudge!

From all of us in the King Arthur test kitchen, to all of you out there in the Real World, remember –

There's no such thing as failure.

Only "teaching moments..."

...and bird food.

Happy April 1 (in advance)!

And, if you enjoyed this post, check out our "foolish" posts from other years

Filed Under:
PJ Hamel
The Author

About PJ Hamel

PJ Hamel grew up in New England, graduated from Brown University, and was a Maine journalist before joining King Arthur Flour in 1990. PJ bakes and writes from her home on Cape Cod, where she enjoys beach-walking, her husband, three dogs, and really good food!

View all posts by PJ Hamel