Saturday, February 27, 2010

Challah: Sacrilegious on a Saturday

This blog entry is dedicated to:

my babies Vicky and Natty! (They are looking in the distance at something really cool, no doubt -- maybe me, except I wasn't there.  Maybe in the direction of C-bus.), who made me an honorary Jew.  Hence, I am baking challah on the sabbath.  I'm a bad honorary Jew.  Unless Jewish people bake challah on Saturday, in which case, I am affirming my honorary religious values.  Bread = religion.


Anyway.  Challah (or CHOLLA!!) starts with flour + sugar + salt + yeast =

And in a separate bowl, oil + egg + egg yolk + water =


Look!  Friends!  Or baby and bigger baby.  These get mixed together.  I never understand why liquids and dries are mixed together separately and then added together.  Also, I may have not added enough yeast, b/c cutting the recipe in half = 2/3 tsp, and I mean, how do you measure that?  So, we'll see if it's all sluggish today aka I get a challah cracker, in which case, hey, I just invented a new product, which will be called CHOLLA CRACKAS.  Haha, racialization (PS: please realize all my humor ever is tongue-in-cheek, if you don't already know me.)

Mixed together and ready to knead!  Yay!  PS: kneading is really hard.  It's like the only exercise my arms get ever.  I realize how scrawnily-muscled my arms are.

After ten minutes of kneading (BLAH), it passed the windowpane test (yay!), and I get this pretty thing:

Kneading does seem a little more worth it b/c the dough is so pretty and soft afterwards.  But it would be nicer if I had a mixer.  But then I wouldn't be physically one with the dough.  So, maybe kneading isn't so bad.

This sits:

for an hour, and hopefully will, you know, rise, with perhaps not enough yeast in it.

So, after an hour, it looks like this:

I guess it does look a little bigger.  I need one of these awesome bread measuring things, so I can actually see if the dough is rising at all, or if it's just lying to me.  LIAR.  Or maybe just one of these.  Maybe next month, when I hopefully don't get unexpected expenses aka clothes and parking tickets.

Anyway, so breadmaking is so weird.  After the hour that this sat, all I do is knead it for two minutes so it can degas (or this).  OMG.  So this is the first time I ever looked up degas, and all this time, I thought it was some fancy French term pronounced like the artist's name.  But it's just de-gas.  Which is gross and way less fancy.  I will continue to pronounce it like the artist's name.

So, now, all degased (NOT degassed), it's ready to sit again for another hour.  See, breadbaking is weird.

So, after an hour it should be one and a half times its original size:

Hope that works.  It looks bigger than the previous picture, at any rate, na?  So, challah is all braided and stuff (we'll see how that goes -- um, braided dough = difficult).  So, the dough needs to be split into three equal pieces, which you know, was difficult.  Um, mine aren't so equal.  Sorry, babies.

One is like a monster.  The other two are like normal.  Hope the normal two don't feel the anxiety I'm sure Robert Pattinson feels around Taylor Lautner.  These sit for ten minutes (again, WTF baking?).  PS: Our upstairs neighbor is so weird.  He -- b/c a) I think he lives alone b) I think he is a man and c) I think he is a FOBby Indian -- is always like banging around.  Are you making a chair or something?!  What are you doing?!?!

So, after ten minutes, the normal ones are def feeling some R-Patz anxiety.

Okay, maybe not.  Maybe they look exactly the same.  So, these get rolled out (and yes, they are supposed to be tapered -- I am doing some things right).

Slugs.  I put the fat one in the middle for the braid aka conglomerated mess.  Um, yeah.  Braiding challah does not = braiding other things.  It's way more complicated.  You start in the middle and yeah.  Whatever.  I ended up with this hideous looking mass:

Like.  What is that.  That's what I get for baking bread on the Sabbath is what it is.  Peter provided horrible directions on how to braid this shiz.  So, this is bathed in egg wash and subsequently looks dirty:

Yeah, people.  I know.  So, this sits for an hour or so (yay!  I have time to not be dressed like a sloth!) and will hopefully look more like a braid after that.  Or, you know, more like not gross.

So, after an hour plus some more (I don't remember when I finished egg washing above), we got this:

Looks fatter for sure.  Did it get one and a half times bigger?  Who knows.  Does it look more like a braid?  No.  Does it still look like a horrible, conglomerated mess?  Yes.  Challah, why you hatin' on me?


Muahahahhahahahahaha.  Burns for twenty, then turns around, then probs about twenty more.  AND IT BETTER LOOK BETTER WHEN IT GETS OUT.  (Sorry -- all caps looks so mean.)



One with and one without flash.  Braid = uber fail.  Uber fail.  You can only see the lines.  Like Taylor Lautner's abs.  But the bread itself looks tasty!  Sweets.  Smells good, too.  Per you-zh, gotta wait ek gunta to perform bread surgery aka slice the bread.

This is good bread.  It's buttery, but doesn't have any butter in it.  Yums.  Yums.  Four and a half out of five stars.


Yay!  CHOLLA!  <3

Thursday, February 18, 2010


I have a confession to make.  Earlier this week, I cheated on Peter.  That's right.  I made zucchini bread as formulated by Betty Crocker.  Oh, Peter, would you ever forgive me?!  Peter, tell me whatcha say.  I don't want you to leave me, though you caught me cheatin'.  Tell me, tell me whatcha say.  I really need you in my life, cuz things ain't right.  I'll make it up to you -- I'll blog about you and not Betty.  First, though, ode to my mistress, Betty on the zucchini side.

With Batty's help!  She came to visit me!  Here she is enjoying the zucchini bread and (badly) attempting to imitate my bread-eating face.

Bottom line is I don't look like that.

Anyway, to demonstrate my full-fledged love for Peter over Betty, I'm baking for you, Peter.  So, whatcha say?  When I become a star, we'll be living so large, if that helps at all.

So, anyway, today is casatiello, "a rich, dreamy Italian elaboration of brioche, loaded with flavor bursts in the form of cheese and bits of meat, preferably salami."  Oh, if only I could think of a hot Italian guy to use as a simile in this blog entry, because that sentence is ripe for it.  I can't though.  Is the guy in Unfaithful Italian?  No, he's French.  Neither is that hot guy in Love Actually.  Italians, you need to get on this hot guy actor thing.  Geez.  And I'm not talking about this:

Although, as I have previously admitted, I for some reason harbor a strange attraction to The Situation.  Anyway...

Sponge = flour + yeast + milk.  This sits for an hour.  Meanwhile...

Fake salami!  It looks so real.  I can't believe they include fake things to look like those little bits of fat.  The salami is cut up and fried to be a little crispy.  Peter says you can include fake things like fried bits of tofu (I figured that would have no taste) or bacon bits (which weirded me out and Batty and Brendan told me it was a bad idea).  So, we'll see how this turns out, esp b/c fake salami has no additional fat, so idk.  Whatever.  I cooked it up.

Still looks raw, but believe me, it's (a little) crispy.  So, anyway, an hour later, we have sponge + flour + salt + sugar + egg =

This sits for ten minutes so it can get all gluten-y.  Now comes fun!  Kneading!

omg, so when Peter said casatiello is like brioche, I forgot that The Oppressors' brioche has like eighty pounds of butter in it and b/c the upper class is always what's you know, normal, obviously when Peter says casatiello is like brioche, he means like buttery Oppressors.  Butter in this recipe = twice what's pictured!  So, apparently Italians have only one class, the upper class, and can therefore afford a lot of butter.  Seriously.  This baby bread has 1/3 cup of butter in it.  And cheese.  And salami.  At least I'm low-fatting it with fake salami.  Sort of.  Although that's so bourgie.  Anyway, so, I kneaded the ridiculous amount of butter into the dough.

And "salami"!

Looks like pizza.  And cheese!

This is like pizza bread or something.  Just needs some tomato sauce.  Would probably be delicious breadsticks.  I guess all Italian food is pizza.

So, all the butter, salami, and cheese kneaded in =

Bad picture.  It looks like mashed potatoes with skin.

After a little more than 90 minutes (got caught up in reading boring things about family and money. yuck), it rose!

So, you can bake this bread in a paper bag.  How cool is that?  So not Oppressor-y.  But the butter.  THE BUTTER.  Unfortunately, this poser-y-proletariat-bread-baked-in-a-bag also requires a can.  A bag in a can.  A #10 can.  Which, I, as a person who normally cooks for one, would never have.  So, a loaf pan it is.  Bo-ring.

So, per usual (I want to write "per ush."  How can you spell that?  Per you-zh?), I have class at 5:30.  So, I came up with a genius idea!  This is supposed to proof for sixty to ninety minutes, but I'll be gone for you know, three hours (unless class ends early -- fingers crossed).  So!  I put it near a window!

Baby in my room!  I know, don't I have a great view?!  Hopefully the cooler temp will slow the rise so it'll be normal in three hours.  idk, I just made this up.

So, I'm back (a little early) and have this:

So, I think it kind of worked.  I also realized the loaf pans I have are bigger than the average loaf pan, so that may also explain why the dough doesn't necessarily crest over the top of the pan.  Hey, we can't all be The Situation.  Some of us have to be Vinny and/or Pauly D.  Or Ronnie at the reunion special.

Baby back at home.

omg, this bread smells so good.  Like a sandwich cooking in a sandwich maker, except better.  And also like for thirty minutes.

Looks like chicken pox though.  Just know those spots are melted cheese and/or salami.  Yum.  Peter makes me wait an hour to eat it, though.  But I accept that as punishment for infidelity.  (PS: Last week, I was supposed to wait an hour to eat brioche, but I didn't b/c I was tired.  I couldn't hold in the secret any longer.  I didn't notice a difference, but I will wait out of love for Peter.  PPS: Watching the Olympics.  Shaun White is so genderqueer.)

OMG.  This bread is delicious.  DELICIOUS.  Best bread so far, hands down (probs all that butter :) ) .  Yums.  And my camera is taking half-decent pictures!  Good times.  Plus, good bread = I guess Peter forgave me :) <3

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Brioche: Classed Bread Baking

Yo.  Two big things to discuss.  Um, one: Benzie made me an apron!!  And it is so cute.  Two: I have been getting The Bread Baker's Apprentice at various libraries in order to complete this project, but it was recalled and I didn't have it.  So, I decided if it didn't come in by Thursday, I would buy it.  It didn't come in!  So now I actually own it.  So, basically, I now own an apron and cookbook.  Thus, I am a real baker.


Deal with it.  (PS: Benzie, your apron is so cute.  I mean, seriously people, doesn't it look like a dress?!)  Okay, now on to today's project!!  Brioche.  So, Peter provides three different formulations of brioche, which he problematically labels "Rich Man's Brioche," "Middle-Class Brioche," and "Poor Man's Brioche."  Obviously patriarchy and class-based oppression are at work here.  Peter also notes that back in the day, when Marie Antoinette was reported to say "Let them eat cake," she really said "Let them eat brioche," connoting its relation to the oppressors.

Basically, the differences between the breads are their amount of eggs and butter.  So, in solidarity with the proletariat, I'm making "Poor Man's Brioche," which I am relabeling "The Brioche of the Proletarian Revolutionaries."  aka The Brioche of:

Dude.  When I first saw Les Miserables, I thought Marius was ridic hot.  (PS: If you're wondering if every single one of my posts will feature of celebrity crush of mine, you're right.  However, they will not all be directly connected to Claire Danes, who I've probably also indirectly mentioned in every post.)  So, I looked him up on imdb just now, and was like *gasp* he appears in The Tudors in a while (I'm in the middle of season two)!!!!!!!  But, he looks like this:

Ew.  I'll stick to Jonathan Rhys Myers and that guy who marries his sister and gets killed as my celebrity crushes in The Tudors.  N E Wayz...

Sponge = (all bread -- I'm actually following Peter from now on and ignoring my love for whole wheat flour.  I liked the artos with just bread flour) flour + yeast + milk =

While this sat for forty-five minutes, I ate last week's bagel with cream cheese and (vegetarian) sausage!

Forty-five minutes and a bagel later, I added eggs + flour + sugar + salt + butter to the sponge = dough = 

This kneaded =


Pretty!  Reminded me of buttery pie crust.  It was fun to knead b/c it was so silky.  This sits for ninety minutes, so I . . .

. . . talked on the phone with Vicky instead of cleaning my apartment for Batty.  I'm a horrible person.  Hey, at least I wasn't taking a nap.  Life is sad when that's your comparison for laziness.

After ninety minutes, the dough rose!  Yaay!

So, then you spread this out.  It's like butter.  I seriously can't imagine what the "Rich Man's Brioche" aka Oppressors' Brioche is like.  It must be like cake.  Haha.  So poignant.


aka Nikki.

So, anyway, spread out:

This is the perfect bread for me to bake.  B/c after it's spread out, it has to sit for four hours or more in the fridge.  Thus, I am not tempted to skip my 5:30 class like I normally am to continue baking.


After four hours, it looks the same.  Except greasier.  Like the dough didn't take a shower today or something.  Ew.  Dirty dough.  (PS: I am watching the Duggars now.  I just wanted you all to know that.  It's very odd to grade WS 101 midterms, bake, blog, and watch the Duggars at the same time.  It's almost too much world-colliding to handle).
So . . . I could make brioche look like this:


But, I mean, that involves too much.  Like special pans.  And I'm like, Peter, I just spent $35 on you today.  I'm going to pass on the brioche pans you probably never use in the cookbook again.  So, I just stuck my dough in a loaf pan.  That I bought at Goodwill.  MORE POWER TO THE PROLETARIAT.

So, this sits for an hour.  Looks the same, you know the drill.  So, this is egg washed.  I was like, eh, I cut the recipe in half.  But the normal recipe calls for a whole egg.  So, what should I do?  I was like, eh, I want to make it good.  So I whisked up an egg.  Then I realized I didn't have a pastry brush.  So I used a paper towel to brush on double the amount of egg needed.  I hope the bottom of the bread won't be caked in oven-cooked scrambled eggs.

Blah.  This is supposed to fill the pan in fifteen to thirty minutes.  Like that's going to happen.  It'll happen like Marius will overthrow stuff instead of die.  PS: Is anyone else obsessed with the way Liam Neeson says "Jean Valjean."  You know the part I'm talking about.  In the trial.  Ugh, I can't find a clip.  But, there are a lot of clips of random people singing songs from the musical and some odd comparisons of Jean Valjean and Aragorn from Lord of the Rings.

Like, I'm sorry.  "'Who Am I?' from Les Misérables, starring Aragorn as Valjean and the Witchking as Javert"?!  Could you get any nerdier?!  I guess posting it to a blog about baking bread.  Um, yeah.

So, I was wrong!  It did get bigger in half an hour.  But, it doesn't fill the pan.  Oh well, it's going home with little luggage.


PS: (A more ugly) Zoe Saldana is in the episode of SVU I'm now watching.  Sorry you have to learn so much about what I'm doing, but I'm alone and need to tell someone the things I discover.

So, about forty minutes later, we get this:

My hand is there for comparison.  Dude.  It's so little.  I should have let it rise longer.  It's like a mini loaf.  How is this going to last me all week?!  I guess this is the lesson of the proletariat.



It's almost midnight.  This was tasty.  I'm tired.  Goodnight <3