Baking buns to house all that pulled pork I made, for instance. I learned many things from this.
Batch 1: I finally found yeast that seemed somewhat alive still, knocked the dough together quickly in the stand mixer, and then was left to puzzle over why, contrary to the recipe, my dough was not sticky. And then I realized that I had forgotten the sugar. (It remains unclear to me how these two things are related.)
Lesson 1. Do not bake under the influence/fog of too little sleep.
Lesson 2. Do not leave yeast untended in the cupboard for six months and expect great results.
Lesson 3. Do not attempt to fix dough that is missing sugar and has already been thoroughly kneaded by dumping 1/4 cup of sugar into the middle of it.
[Corollary 3a. Especially if the dough is now sitting in a well oiled bowl.]
Batch 1 went into the trash.
Attempt 2: I remembered the sugar and everything else. But two hours of proofing later, the dough was still the same size.
Lesson 4. It is worth hunting down the thermometer so one is not left wondering if one killed the yeast with dairy that should have been cooled down to the specified 115 degrees F.
Batch 2 joined Batch 1 in the trash.
Lesson 5. Do not be daunted by repeated failure.
Lesson 6. If one is uncertain about the outcome, make a backup.
Batch 3 turned out okay. And went into our bellies.
I went through 15 cups of flour and more than a quart and a half of milk and cream to make 17 buns.
Lesson 7. Homemade buns are worth the trouble.
PS. This is the best potato salad ever.