Hmmm... do you think I should have used a bigger pan? I don't know what I was thinking that day! I know perfectly well that a pound and a half of bread dough needs a 9x5 pan, not an 8x4!
Actually, I do know what I was thinking. The dough didn't rise much during its first proof, so I figured it wouldn't rise much during the second, either. I used more whole-wheat flour and less bread flour than the recipe calls for. I thought it would just be a nice, dense, seedy-grainy loaf. Obviously I was wrong. But it still tasted good! This is one of my favorite breads, adapted from Tony Lacalamita's "The All-New Ultimate Bread Machine Cookbook."
makes 1 1-1/2 pound loaf
1 cup water
1 extra-large egg (I used a large egg, and it worked out fine!)
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1-1/2 tsp salt
3 tbsp honey
1/4 cup flax seeds (I grind mine slightly in the blender to release all that Omega-3 goodness)
2 tbsp yellow cornmeal, coarsely ground
2 tbsp rolled oats
2-1/4 cups bread flour (I use 1 to 1-1/2 cups)
3/4 cup whole-wheat flour (I use 1-1/2 to 2 cups, depending on how much bread flour I used)
2 tbsp rye flour
2-1/4 tsp dry yeast
Mix and bake in bread machine on basic cycle, normal or medium crust, or prepare dough in machine and bake in oven, in a 9x5 pan, at 350 for 35 - 45 minutes.
This was our weekly bread a couple of weeks ago. Last week, I used the 2-pound recipe and baked two loaves in 8x4 pans. They came out perfectly. =)
Up next... humidity and bread baking -- an interesting combination!
Remember a couple of weeks ago, when I was complaining about how cold and rainy it was in Boston? Well, now I'm going to complain about how hot and sticky it is here. I hate this weather. It's been in the upper 80s all week, and very humid. I don't deal well with this weather at all! It drains me of the already very scarce energy I normally have, and it aggravates my asthma. And don't get me started on the pollen count. We really need an air conditioner.
Despite the heat, I've still been baking. I need something sweet to snack on, no matter what the weather! I wait until the sun goes down and the temperature drops to the mid 70s, and then my purple mixer and I go to town! So 10:30 last night found me flipping through cookbooks, looking for a treat. I ended up with this recipe from the old Better Homes and Gardens cookbook I stole -- I mean borrowed -- from my mom...
Molasses Cake Bars
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup light molasses
1/2 cup water
* I also added 1 tsp vanilla, for reasons only I can understand =)
1-1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp instant coffee (I don't have any, so I just left it out)
1 tsp ground cinnamom
1/2 tsp cloves (I used allspice instead)
Thoroughly cream shortening and sugar; add egg; beat well. Mix in molasses and water (and vanilla!). Sift together remaining ingredients. Stir into creamed mixture. Pour into greased 13x9x2-inch pan. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes. Cool, cut in squares. Makes 2 dozen.
The recipe also recommended frosting the squares with Confectioner's Icing (also in the book), but I lacked the motivation (and the milk!) to do so. Instead, I dusted the tops of the bars with a mixture of confectioner's sugar and cinnamon. You'd never miss the icing.
These bars were in the "bar cookie" section of the book, but they're cake -- plain and simple. Not that I'm complaining! They're awesome -- soft, light, fluffy, and spicy (finally -- something spicy that doesn't cost fourteen dollars a loaf!). And they got even moister overnight! I guess the humidity is good for something. The bars were very quick to make, which is a huge bonus in this weather. This will be a fun recipe to play with -- I think whole-wheat flour would work very well for at least part, if not all, of the AP flour. And wouldn't it be interesting to experiment with applesauce as a substitute for some or all of the shortening? Hmmm... suddenly, these seem to be turning into my apple gingerbread bars!
After 6 months of blissful (self-inflicted!) unemployment, a major move, and four weeks of not-so-blissful job hunting, I've finally rejoined the ranks of the (reluctantly) employed. I'm not exactly ready to say where I'm working since it's not in my chosen field, but I'll say this much for now: it's one of Fortune 500's totally amazingly splendiferous places to work, and I guess it vaguely counts as being food-related. Think celestial bodies and currency. And now I've said too much.
Here's something I never would have seen at the Brewer Hannaford :
Tamarind flavored Kool-Aid! And en Espanol to boot!
I haven't bought Kool-Aid in... wow. I don't even know how long. For me, it's water, iced tea, or Crystal Light. But I just couldn't resist this! I've read a lot about tamarind, but growing up in central Maine, it really wasn't a big part of my life. I know it's a tropical fruit, it's used a lot in Asian and Indian cuisines, and it's supposed to have a sweet-sour flavor. I also am pretty sure I read somewhere that tamarind was the original flavoring for cola. Is that true?
Empty the envelope into a pitcher and measure out 1 cup (ouch!) of sugar. Add water, stir, taste. Hmmm... maybe I should wait 'til it's cold? I'll withhold judgement for now.
Later... it's adequately chilled. Second taste test. Yuck!! This doesn't taste anything like cola! It's overwhelmingly sweet with a flavor far too similar to cantaloupe for my taste. Yes, I'm the only person on the planet who hates cantaloupe.
Well, Kevin likes it. It's almost gone. I'm back on ice water.