Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The House of the Rising Bread

So, I'm pretty sure this bread is lookin' good. I am also pretty sure it will be delicious with a variety of soups tomorrow. Hooray for bread!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Red Orbs & The Bread Also Rises: A Baking Tale in Two Parts

Welcome back, me! I finally had the two things I needed to make a cookie-tastic blog:
1) my camera
2) will power

Let's get to it!

First of all, for the entire month of February we have been collecting donations for KS95's Change for Kids program. We had a bomb bake sale last week that raised $300. We've had a waffle wednesday and will be having another. Also, we're having a Leap Day party which we will be collecting donations during. So, hooray for people giving money to change the spawn of the world.

For Cookie Tuesday tomorrow I was going to make Petrelli's (chocolate cookie with peanut butter chips & coconut) however I did not have any shortening. This was a traumatic event. Not once in my Cookie Tuesday history have I had to change my baking plans due to an ingredient shortage. To be honest with you, it's a miracle I am still alive.
I furiously flipped through my myriad cookie books to find something that I not only had the ingredients for but also sounded delicious. I settled on jelly thumbprints. Now, I used preserves instead of jelly because of these reasons:
1) I made Loreos with cream cheese & raspberry preserve filling for the bake sale last week and had at least a cup of preserves left over
2) Preserves are superior to jelly
So they're basically shortbread cookies with raspberry preserves baked into the center of them. Also, I just decided at this very moment that I must sift confectioner's sugar over top of them because that will make them more delicious AND more beautious. Win.

2 sticks unsalted butter
2 eggs
1 1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp baking powder
3 cups flour
1/2 cup raspberry preserves
confectioner's sugar for dusting

1. Mix sugar and butter together. Add eggs.
2. Sift in dry ingredients.
3. Roll dough into balls and drop onto cookie sheet. Make thumbprints in each dough ball. Drop raspberry preserves into the center of each.
4. Bake 10-12 minutes at 350.
5. Sift confectioner's sugar on top if you want to be awesome!

These photos do not reflect the confectioner's sugar because I haven't actually added it yet, what they do reflect is the eerie red orb/alien petrie dish growth these cookies resemble when the flash is on:

With the flash off it does not truly encapsulate the rich berry appearance but it, at least, doesn't look like an extraterrestrial embryo or something else x filesy:

I would love to tell you all about how wonderful my 3 tiered cooling rack is but I get this feeling that no one actually cares. I care! But no one else. I will tell you anyways, but briefly: It is fucking awesome!

Now I will tell you about my yeast escapades! YUCK. I am talking about bread. YUCK. I am honestly talking about bread. That was pretty yuck even for me.
I decided to start making bread because it is excellent. I thought the best way to do this would be to make no-knead bread because you don't even have to knead it! Cheez whiz!
So, this past weekend I whipped up a loaf of whole wheat no-knead bread and it was fucking delicious. TASTY. Now, this Wednesday we're having some soup potluck bullshit at work which ordinarily I would not participate in seeing as how I cannot make soup or most other non-baked things. However!!! there is an obvious need for bread with soup. I will fill that need. With another load of no-knead bread.

Here is a little no-knead ditty just for you!

2 cups bread flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 tsp instant yeast
1 1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cup water

Mix those bad boys together and then cover with plastic wrap and let sit 12-18 hours. 18 hours is ideal. Make it 18 hours.

At the 18 hour mark flour a work surface and place the dough onto it. Sprinkle the dough with flour and fold it a couple of times then place plastic wrap over top of it and let is sit about 15 minutes. After 15 minutes has passed sprinkle your hands and the dough with just enough flour to keep it from sticking to you and form it into a ball. Then place it seam side down on a cotton towel with a decent coat of rice flour on it. Put another cotton towel over top and let it rise for 2 hours.

At least 1/2 hour before the dough is ready preheat the oven with a 4 quart metal, glass or ceramic pot with lid inside.

After the 2 hours is up slide your hand underneath the towel and flip the dough into the pot. Place the lid on top and bake for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes is up remove the lid and bake an additional 10-15 minutes until the top is browned.

Eat some right away as it will be crazy delicious.

That photo above is of my just mixed dough. I will post a photo of the finished product tomorrow evening. Start preparing yourself right now.

Peace out mofos!