Monday, October 2, 2017

French Bread, take 3

02 October 2017

I'm trying the French bread recipe for the third time.

The first time, I followed the recipe exactly, with the exception of substituting in some whole wheat flour. The bread was good and I thought the recipe a keeper, but it made so much that I ended up eating stale bread for days.

The second time, I halved the recipe, substituted the whole wheat flour as before, and incorporated the oat mash left over from making oat milk. I left out the oil, and brushed the loaves with olive oil before and after baking. It was even better than the first time, much more flavor to the bread and the texture was soft but not dense.

The third time, today, I tried to replicate the previous batch, but I made the mistake of writing the halved measurements right next to the original measurements on my piece of paper, resulting in me adding the original amount of liquid to the halved recipe. The dough seemed awfully sticky when I had incorporated all the flour and I realized my mistake. Oooops! So I added enough flour to get it out of the bowl and hoping I didn't ruin it. I guess it will be another large batch, maybe I'll freeze a loaf or two.

So far, the dough looks normal. Crossing my fingers! (Where does that expression come from?)

Stay tuned for an update later...


And it's out of the oven and looking like bread! Taste test once it's cooled down a bit.


Saturday, September 30, 2017

Pinterest, Pickles, Oat Milk, Jamaica and French Bread

30 September, 2017

Confession: I am crazy about Pinterest. Years ago when I first heard about it, I was extremely skeptical, thinking it was just another social media site. However, a few months ago a co-worker showed me how it works, and now I use it to save everything. It's like bookmarks and a search engine, with pictures. Great web tool and I don't have to be "social" at all.

So this week I tried a few recipes I found there...

Sriracha Fridge Pickles
Spicy and sweet and tangy, what's not to like about this? I added a few cloves for extra flavor. The chard stems in the original recipe were too stringy textured for me, even though it was baby chard from the garden. so I ended up tossing them and reusing the brine with carrots instead.

Oat Milk
This is something I've been meaning to try, but making soymilk was such an ordeal (soak, drain, rinse, blend, strain, cook) that it took me a while to want to try plant based milk again. Oat milk was so quick and easy! Just blend and strain and it's done. Tasted good plain and also with vanilla and sweetener added. Compare the cost of plant based milks at the store with the cost of a cup of oats, and it's an obvious win.

For straining plant based milks, cheesecloth is hard to work with and not easily reused; I highly recommend investing in a nut milk bag. I use Ellie's Best Nut Milk Bag, it is strong enough to can handle the pressure of  squeezing it quite hard to get the liquid out (as I found out when making the soymilk!).

Agua de Jamaica / Hibiscus Punch
Whenever I eat at a Mexican restaurant, I always want this sweet, tart drink. I've seen the dried flowers in the local Mexican markets and finally bought some to try to make my own. Here's how it looked on the stove.
I was pleasantly surprised to find out that it's cost effective, as the resulting liquid is concentrated enough to make several pitchers. Shown here is one pitcher made up, plus 2 jars of concentrate left over.
And finally, time to sit down and drink an iced beverage! (Yes, that's the same pitcher I used for the oat milk, but that was 2 days ago and it's all gone now.)

Homemade French Bread
There's probably nothing French about it at all, but it is delicious, I just made it today for the second time in a week. The full recipe made 2 giant loaves, which took a long time to eat. Bread is really best when fresh from the oven, so this time I halved the recipe and it made 2 normal loaves. Next time I want to try freezing some of the dough.

Before baking:
The finished product:

Today's bread incorporated the leftover pulp from making the oat milk, now time to taste test it!

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Pumpkin Bundt Cake

21 November 2015

A fellow student in my German conversation class often brought in the most wonderful Bundt cakes made by his wife. One Christmas he gave several of us copies of the cookbook, Kiss My Bundt by Chrysta Wilson.

I read it cover to cover and even bought a special bundt shaped pan, but with one thing and another... I somehow never got around to baking one.

So yesterday, for my dad's birthday, I decided to bust out the bundt. I made the Pumpkin Bundt and modified the vanilla buttercream frosting with brandy flavoring. It turned out perfectly!

And I'm totally hooked! The recipes are simple but creative, and the texture is perfect. Love it!

Now, like my colleague, I will have to buy a special bundt cake carrier so I can bring them to work instead of leaving temptation at home.