April 20, 2013

Bread and Varmints!

Adventures in bread making, part two and meet the varmint.

I am remaking the quinoa honey bread using a different recipe that requires more rising and 5 minutes less kneading.  RB really liked the taste of the last loaf, and so I thought I might try it again.  In case you don't already know, I bitched in my last post about a lovely-looking loaf with an oozy centre - ick!  RB makes pancakes for the kids every weekend and he has been known to produce a gooey pancake once in a while.  I think he feels for me.    

I just finished mixing up the yeast, letting it proof and I now have a "homogeneous mass" or "sponge" that needs to rest for two hours.  After 30 minutes of sitting, I felt the sponge through the plastic wrap and it's quite warm, almost hot really.  I love the chemical reaction - it makes me feel like a scientist!

I am about to take the Nathanimal to speech therapy and the dough should be finished rising when I return.


Two hours later... damn, damn, DAMN!  I have another problem.  The dough looks almost the same as it did when I left, despite the heat under the saran.

Stupid me.  I boiled the water for the yeast instead of using warm tap water.  I thought that this might speed up the activation of the yeast; however, I just read that hot water damages the yeast.  Lesson learned:  hot water should not be used to proof yeast.  I decided to bake it as I am a sucker for punishment.

before baking - see that pancakey loaf at the top?

Post-baking.  They don't really look much different, just a little shinier due to the egg glaze.  
Stupid bread; stupid me.  Why didn't I just follow the recipe?  The bread was heavy and dull.  No sparkle in these loaves.

I was so peeved that I had to make some more bread PRONTO.  The recipe is from Alexandra's Kitchen and is touted as the "best easiest bread you will ever make".

Here's my yeast and water mixture in WARM (I've learned something!), not hot water.

foam and bubbles equal success!

I baked the bread for the required 40 minutes and guess what... it turned out!  RB says it's his favourite (not hard - thus far I've produced raw, overcooked, and unleavened - not a great track record).

The bread was edible and tasty... but I was not impressed.  This is what you get from a "quick" no-knead recipe.  I am returning to the basics in a few days - meaning that I will be kneading.


On to new bread today, the 20th of April.  It snowed last night and I am not happy with Mother Nature.  My tulips need sun and heat, not frost!  Brouwer is brewing up some beer and so I thought it seemed like a good day for baking.  Here's my recipe:

My friend, Katherine, lent me her bread-making bible:  Great Bread Every Time by Marilyn Barbe.  I made two substitutions:   I used melted butter instead of shortening and honey instead of molasses.  Not really the best idea for me as I am a novice baker but what the hell.

Here it is right before I whisked it into the oven:

It is currently baking...  30 mins. at 400 degrees... we'll see what I end up with.


The moment of truth.  Here's the bread!!!

We slathered it in butter and indulged.  The bread was DELICIOUS!!!!  I will definitely be making this again.


And the moment you've all been waiting for... meet the newest member of our family - Zoomy.  Zoomy was found by my husband in our basement last night, after his mater was annihilated by two of our traps (the mother was a real trooper - she got caught in one trap and must have dragged it over to the second trap for another snack).  RB showed Gwen the baby mouse and she couldn't resist him so we have "adopted" him.  He likes red licorice, cashews, raisins, milk and homemade bread (hee hee).

Zoomy and Gwen
I'm not sure why he's called Zoomy as he's the slowest mouse I've ever seen.  I told the kids that they should spell his name Zumi, to lend themselves and him some cred, but they didn't buy it.

Gwen carries him around constantly; I told her that she's going to love him to death*.  Z's home is a big plastic bin with a small plastic toy dog, some food and drink and shredded newspaper.  Oh and Z has a fur bed.

Seems like good living to me - the early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese**.

*postscript - Z died two days after I took the picture. Poor little mouse.  The children were devastated.  We had a proper mouse funeral:  nine guests, kind words, a quiet burial, flowers on the mound, tea and cookies post-service.  Z was laid to rest in a purple silk lined blackberry box.  RIP Zoomy.

**quote attributed to Willie Nelson