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Fri, Sep. 10th, 2010, 10:41 pm
Kitchen Residential

The kitchen spirits have finally graced me, after a grueling and frustrating day at the oven. I woke up this morning with the spontaneous desire to make English muffins (crumpets) from scratch. Using my new recipe and a fresh bag of white whole wheat flour, I whip up some batter and assemble the griddle.

But first, I cleaned the kitchen.

A word of warning, when attempting to use muffin rings (okay, I was cheating by using an egg ring) remember to GREASE THE RINGS. This would have neatly circumvented the fumbling to unstick the muffin so I could flip it and the mild burn to my finger.

What's that smell? you say? Why, yes, why you had your hand under cold water the bacon WAS burning. *sigh*

Made two bacon and egg breakfast sandwiches and then gave up. I was a little disappointed at the lack of 'nooks & crannies' but AgtOrange declared his sandwich delicious. The batter was also more salty than I care for, so I simply threw the rest out.

After sulking for an hour or so, I cleaned the giant mess in the kitchen.

Ah, clean counters! What to do next? I reached for the freezer bin of frozen bananas. The vegans on the internet would have you believe that blending frozen bananas has a taste and consistency similar to ice cream.

They lie.

After pulling down and assembling the blender and filling it full of frozen banana, soy milk, sugar and vanilla, I turned it on and created an almost creamy paste that tastes like... frozen bananas. In fact, the freezing actually seemed to bring out more of the banana flavor. It's not bad, but it certainly isn't ice cream, not even banana flavored ice cream. I plan on trying another batch featuring heavy chocolate.

Then I cleaned the kitchen.

Okay, how about prepping my new baking stone. Let's make a pizza! I thawed the sauce from a previous pizza-making-fest and began mixing some dough.

Two hours later and my dough stubbornly refuses to rise. I think I added too much oil. I throw a little gluten in the mix and check the consistency. It is nice and elastic, but it JUST WON'T RISE!! ARGH! I give up and create the first pizza on the stone, using zucchini and green pepper as toppings. I'm also roasting tomatoes and garlic for chili making at some future date.

The pizza dough recipe does not adapt from grill/broiler to oven very well. This must be the world's first pizza you can roll up like a tortilla. It tastes great. I still sulk for awhile, then prep the second pizza, which first goes into the broiler, THEN the oven.

WOW, I've made a fucking work of art. Crispy like a cracker, with the perfect ratio of sauce to spice to topping. I wish I'd bothered to reblend all the pizza sauce, but the blender bits are still in the dishwasher. I barely manage to get the stone out of the oven at all, for it is stubbornly refusing to part from the rack.

Finally, something I can sink my teeth into. Funny thing is, I'm not really hungry anymore.

Settle down with one pitiful slice of pizza (AgtOrange wolfing it down beside me) to watch Anthony Bourdain's 100th episode in Paris. Look at all that butter!

Um... then I clean the kitchen.... again.

I'm exhausted, but I really want to learn to make blood pudding. Why so? I think deviled eggs would be perfect if done with fresh mayonnaise, a dollop of blood pudding on top (instead of salt or hot sauce), and thin slivers of sweet red pepper on top. Now that sounds yummy.

Sat, Sep. 11th, 2010 03:47 am (UTC)
happyorganist: wow, a cooking mood!

And your stamina beats my own ('course that's easy to do).
Sounds like an exciting day =) and entertaining.
I can't bake bread (or pizza dough, probably). You could make a house with the loaves I bake........ ;/
thinking of trying again, though (thought about it today - but have no yeast that I know of anywhere). nor a good recipe.

hope your burned finger feels better soon (if it doesn't already).

Sat, Sep. 11th, 2010 05:35 pm (UTC)
jadxia: Re: wow, a cooking mood!

French bread is truly hard (if you are turning into a bread snob like I have become). I am still not satisfied with the quality of my French bread, although no one else seems to be able to tell the difference between what I make and my imaginary version of perfect.

The easiest (and tastiest) white sandwich bread recipe I have found comes from A Year in Bread:


I have adapted the recipe for two loaves:

2 cups (13.5 oz) all-purpose flour
4 tsp yeast
4 tsp sugar

4 tsp. oil
2 2/3 cup warm water (or milk)
1 tsp. salt

3-4 cups bread flour

Get good loaf pans and remember to grease them well--I use Chicago brand 1lb. loaf pans--otherwise you will have a devil of a time getting the bread back out!

Mixe the AP flour, yeast, and sugar in a very large bowl. Make a well, add in the oil and water. Mix well, then begin adding in the bread flour a cup at a time until you have a soft, slightly sticky dough.

Turn onto a floured surface and knead for 6-7 minutes. When making bread, it is better to over-knead rather than under (this is the opposit of making pastry items).

Place dough in bowl, dusted with flour or greased, and cover with a damp tea towel. Don't use terrycloth unless you like lint in your bread. Or put in a straight-sided bucket with marked sides (king arthur, which sells wonderful flour, also sells these dough buckets).

Set it somewhere, preferably 70-78F for 60-90 minutes, until dough has doubled. If using a bowl, you can tell it has doubled by poking a finger into the dough. If the indentation doesn't spring back, it is ready.

Divide dough, flatten out any large bubbles, and shape into two loaves. Stick them in the greased pans.

Cover with damp tea towel and let them rise for 45-60 minutes more. If you lightly poke the dough, it should spring back a little.

Bake 375 degrees for 35 minutes or until golden brown. Remove immediately from pans and LET COOL ON WIRE RACK BEFORE CUTTING OPEN. They should sound hollow on the bottom if you thump them. If you cut bread too early, it ends up more dense.

This is the best recipe I have found so far. I have used both water and milk. I have switched oils. I have tried an alternate method of kneading which, instead of using a floured surface, you without the oil up to this point in the recipe and use an oiled surface and oiled hands to knead. This does help prevent sticking, although you will end up having more oil in the bread overall. I have replaced the water with old, cold coffee (that was yummy), among other liquids. I have messed with the types of flour. I think the original recipe uses only all-purpose flour, but you will get much better results using some bread flour.

If your preference is for wheat bread, the best recipe I have found so far is right on the side of the King Arthur Wheat Flour package, it has both nonfat dry milk and molasses in it.

Good luck and happy baking!!

Sat, Sep. 11th, 2010 05:38 pm (UTC)
jadxia: Re: wow, a cooking mood!

ugh, should have read that recipe before I posted. Sorry bout all the typos, was talking on the phone at the same time as I typed it :/

Sun, Sep. 12th, 2010 04:14 am (UTC)
happyorganist: Re: wow, a cooking mood!

Thank you. I will try that this week.
I usually use half white, half wheat flour when I make things. Have no idea how to adjust for that. But I'll probably just give the wheat bread recipe a try ;)
Looks like fun, though.

So you make French bread, eh? I went to France back in high school (just two week trip) and I LOOOOVED their bread. And nothing at home has ever tasted like what I had over there. ;/ There was one bread company (I forgot what it was called - but I'm sure had France in the name) that came close. But everything else - no where near close.
anyway.. That's cool that you enjoy attempting that. (it's very difficult!)

Fri, Sep. 17th, 2010 02:20 am (UTC)
jadxia: Re: wow, a cooking mood!

You can use a mix of white and wheat flour for the recipe given (seems to work just fine if using a commercial wheat flour). Some of the local wheat flour that I've gotten from our farmer's market has less gluten, however, so if I use that I have to add gluten to make it work right.

Fri, Sep. 17th, 2010 02:36 am (UTC)
happyorganist: Re: wow, a cooking mood!

Hi ;)
I grind my own wheat!
isn't that cool? I think it's cool. I don't grind it by hand, though..

Fri, Sep. 17th, 2010 07:33 pm (UTC)
jadxia: Re: wow, a cooking mood!

wow, that is pretty cool
I think you have me beat ;D

Thu, Sep. 23rd, 2010 03:23 am (UTC)
happyorganist: Re: wow, a cooking mood!

There. You inspired me, and I baked.
(don't feel obliged - but here's proof..)

They didn't rise as much as they should have. I think I'll try talking to them next time or something.... =D

Fri, Jul. 6th, 2012 06:53 am (UTC)

Yes, the hand grinding of wheat will lead to less rising. You have to add gluten. I've just verified/confirmed/experimented with this recently. Talking or singing wouldn't hurt either.