Friday, April 30, 2010

Focaccia: Day Dos de Dos

I'm doing my master's exams this weekend.  Therefore my brain is dead.  Sorry, I don't have the time nor the energy to entertain you greatly in this entry.  Here's some pictures!

This. bread. is. so. good.  SO. GOOD.  5/5!

Back to exams!  <3

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Foccacia: Day Uno de Dos

Hello children.  Do you got the music on, girl?  B/c we're making foccacia today and it's kind of a big deal.

I'm sure, unlike perhaps casatiello, most of you have heard of foccacia.  WELL WIPE YOUR BRAINS CLEAR OF THAT.  Peter is amazed focaccia caught on in the US b/c every version he's encountered has been subpar.  TODAY WE ARE MAKING PAR FOCCACIA.  And I will stop using caps now.  But, I hope you realize how important today's bread baking venture is.  Oh no!  I ended in a participle!  Or whatever it's called -- "is."

Foccacia = flour + salt + yeast =

+ oil + water =

Speaking of +s, I had to do math today for this recipe.  Like real math.  Like the area of a circle.  Why?  Remind me to tell you when it's actually relevant to the progress narrative that is baking.  Hopefully.  I guess burnt bread is nonnormative bread.  Refusing the progress narrative.  That makes me feel better about burning bread or otherwise ruining it.  Just refusing the baking progress narrative -- nbd.

So, this bready-bread is all stirred and stuff:

Ooh!  Yay new camera taking a cool picture.  Dough is all sticky-like.  Luckily this bread involves no kneading (although a lot of annoying stirring was involved).  Instead a bed is involved.  That's right!  Another bed of flour.  I'd like to sleep in a bed of flour now.  I always wanted to go swimming in flour.  TMI?  Or really, not.  Ha.  Maybe today will involve nap instead of grading the thirty-five papers I have to grade before my master's exams!  Ah!  I'm becoming a Grown-Up Baking Bread!  GUBB!  Noo!

Anyway, back to the bed:

The dough gets to take a five minute nap on it's bed before it gets tortured.  It's kind of like the rack.  Except then it turns into an envelope.  But, I'm getting ahead of myself.

See, after five minutes, it gets stretched to twice its size:

Look!  I'm demonstrating for you!  Then, it gets folded like an envelope so it becomes:

This is a weird recipe.  Like weird timings.  But, anyway, this sits for half an hour, then gets stretched-enveloped again.  It's kind of like working in an office again.  Except baking.  And no Aziz Ansari or Jim from The Office:

Here, it looks like he works on like a Law and Order-esque crime serial drama.  PS: Aziz Ansari was on Flight of the Conchords!  Which I didn't realize until now.  Even more reason to <3 him.  And he's hosting the MTV Movie Awards.  Dear Aziz Ansari, stop pandering to me.  Never mind.  Keep pandering to me.

So, after half an hour, we get to play office again!

This is the envelope.  The envelope again gets stretched and re-enveloped, so it looks like this:

I am running out of spray oil.  FML.  What will I do with myself?  It will be like old times when I didn't have spray oil.

Anyway, this re-enveloped dough sits for an hour.  Meanwhile, I make herb oil, which will make another appearance later!  This is olive oil + basil + oregano + garlic + salt + pepper.

I figured I'd make it early so that the herbs can flavor the oil, even though dried herbs have as much flavor as paper does.  At least the garlic is "fresh."  Gettin' fresh.

So after and hour, both the dough and I are lookin' fresh.  Me for the lie-bury, the dough for the fridge.  But, first!  The dough!

Did it get bigger?  Idk.  Hopefully.  So, foccacia time!  Oil time!  Hot.

So this is where the math came in.  Peter bakes his bread in a 17x12 pan.  I cut the recipe in half, and I needed to figure out the area of the appropriate pan.  Yes, I am serious about breadbaking.  This pan is a little small, but that's okay.  The focc will just be thicker, which is all the better for sandwich making.

The way you blowin' up my phone won't make me leave no faster.  But, it will make me bake faster.  Okay, nm.  It won't make me do anything.  Tonight I'm not takin' no calls cause I'll be dancing.


Herb oilz!  Sorry for no witty banter.  I left my head and my heart on the dance floor.  Come get them!  Boo-ya!

So this gets all dimple-y.

Having two radios on in two different rooms is like having surround sound.  Like surround apartment sound.

So, this dough sits overnight in the fridge!  And I attempt to work before spending my whole weekend regurgitating two years of women's studies knowledge.  Yuck.  I feel like I should be able to spend today watching episodes of Glee, not working.  Stupid kids needing their papers graded.  I don't care about your horrible analyses of movies!  J/k . . .

Good night! <3

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Cheerio, English Muffins!

I was going to put a picture of James McAvoy to start this blog entry, but his muffins are Scottish.

Still, I won't let that stop me.  National borders are constructed.  You know that.  These are probably Anglo-Saxon muffins.  Or if you're more of a materialist, I have a different option for you:

There.  Now, discursive or materialist, we all have hot men.  And hot english muffins.  Well, not yet.  First, we have flour + sugar + salt + yeast =

I started using the blue bowl more often than the red ones b/c we never use the blue bowl.  Poor thing is feeling rejected, most probs.  Also for some reason stirring feels easier in ceramic as compared to plastic.

This is mixed with butter + milk =

I realized that this recipe [as is] is supposed to make six english muffins.  Since I split it in half [like always], I'm only getting three.  Which is like nothing.  Why Peter made this recipe so small, idk.  Maybe b/c they "are fun to make, especially with kids" and as we all know, children cannot handle large amounts of things.  They are smaller than us.

So I kneaded and girls-in-stripper-heels-boys-rolling-in-Maseratis-what-they-need-in-this-world-is-some-love danced this dough for ten minutes.

Look how little!

I realize you probably don't know how big the other boules are, but believe me.  This was tiny.  It felt like I was kneading a baby's head rather than a two-year-old's.  It was soft as fontanelle.

So, this sits for sixty to ninety minutes, during which time I need to be productive.  I am so into senioritis right now, and it's not even like I should be.  GEEZ.

Productiveness still at minimum.  However, dough is now at maximum:

Yeah yeah what up.  Oh, I WILL CUT YOU.

Hi, I just went through all of this trouble for three english muffins.  Yeah . . .

These sit for sixty to ninety again.  Sixty to ninety minutes of attempting to read again.  Fail, most likely.

Stop me if you've think that you've heard this one before:

HUGE.  Peter Reinhart, stop making huge things.


B is now playing a cover of "Stop Me if You Think You've Heard this One Before."  NOT APPRECIATED.

I'll tell you what is appreciated.  Bread on a pan.  That's what's appreciated.

Nothing's changed.  I still love you.  Only slightly less than I used to, my love.

Because you're fuckin' BURNT.  WTF.  BREAD.  You are RUINING MY LIFE.

The other side looks better.  I can't remember what a normal english muffin looks like, though.

Okay, so mine are more burnt than normal, but whatever.  Normalizing discourse on english muffins needs to be addressed.  So, I'm doing it.  With my burnt muffins.

So, so their middles can cook, they go in the oven for five minutes, while I read about suffering and pain.

They actually don't look too bad [this is their good side].  Sit for half an hour.

Not really nooks-and-crannies-y.  But!  These were good!  Chewy!  4/5!  I only leave off the last point b/c of Peter's fail at consistent recipe sized.  And b/c I burnt them.

Anyway, let's end this foray into English baking with another english muffin.  Dare I?  Dare I?!

I know.  You can think me pathetic.

PS: The men I find attractive are so utterly homogenous.  I need to expand my horizons.


Thursday, April 15, 2010

Cranberry Walnut Celebration Bread: Recognize, I'm Back

I never let you down, I’ma shine on site.  Keep your mind on your grind and off mines alright.  Hard I'ma ball on them squares I float quarter million dollar cars everywhere I go I know in the lead it may see it might be, but no matter what they doing they don’t do it like me.  Like a G, I hold it down for the town I’m at and I flash like that recognize I’m baaaaaack.

I know, fellow bread bakers and bread lovers, it's been much too long.  I blame whoever stole my camera/ made me lose my pink bag in the abyss that is Maryland.  Ah, well.  I'm back where we all throw it down, your favorite city.  Bitch, please.  You know I <3 blogging.

Today's mission = turning in my taxes and baking.  I hate taxes.  Dude, I can't believe I have to pay this white capitalist heterosexist patriarchy money.  They should pay me money for dealing with this shit.  I can't believe they make me do math every year.

An-ny-way.  Cranberries!  Walnuts!  CELEBRATION!

This is flour + sugar + salt + yeast.  And friends.

Dudes, so you may be wondering, well, what happened to your old camera?  I still haven't found it, but my love for blogging and my blogging fans (I assume there are more than five) made me buy a new one.  I know.  I never buy things.  But my old camera was crap anyway.  And my new one is so cute.  I'd take a picture of it, but that's kind of impossible.  Oh!  Maybe in a mirror.  Next time, little ones.

Back to bread -- the picture above (if you remember it) is + lemon extract [I actually bought some!  Look at me spending $ left and right.] + egg + milk + butter.

Stir, stir, at 10am without even having brushed my teeth.  That is my level of dedication.  I'm even skipping lunch to write this blog.  Making me eat chips and crackers.  OMG.  I need to stop eating so horribly.

These new pictures take longer to load.  But, I hope they are better quality.  They are, look at all the specks on our countertop.  Betcha didn't see THOSE before.

Need to knead for five minutes, comes out lookin' lovely.  Well, hello there.

Sorry, I didn't get any pictures of the ATTACK this time, like with the raisin one.  There was too much attacking here.  They waited.  Cranberries, then walnuts.  Overtake, overtake.  PS: I'm currently reading Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games (thanks, Meg!), so my brain is filled with attack scenarios.

I realized it was a mistake to start baking as soon as I got up, b/c the point of baking early was so that I would come back after a 12:30 meeting and be ready to you know, shape this lovely dough, but it rose for longer than it would b/c I started right after I woke up.  Convolution -- here and there.  This blog is making no sense.  Too much talking, not enough pictures.  Too much bread.  Not enough hot boys.  Here:

I was going to show that picture to my class to talk about men sitting, but it didn't show up b/c I didn't save it to my compy and I have a lovely Macintosh.  But you can enjoy.  And try to come up with a related point to cranberry walnut celebration bread.  I thought of one.

So, after [more than] two hours, we've got this.  Doubled?  Who knows.  All I know is [ah!  I can't come up with a witty joke or pun!  My life is going to RUINS.  RUINS!]

SO.  Now.  This requires a braid.  And we all remember the horror of a braid when I was required to do one while making challah.  So . . . *gulp* . . . this braid is DOUBLE LAYERED.  Like one on top of another.  Like a cake.  Or a bus.  Or something.  TWO BRAIDS, PEOPLE.  Two braids.  (Vicky/Natty -- and Brendan! --, I hope you're getting the reference.)

So, here goes.

Three logs + three logs.

Omg.  I don't understand why I had so much trouble with this with the challah.  Honestly, it wasn't that hard.  Sometimes.  Doing two was pretty easy.

So, this is washed in egg wash.  Hot.  Like a sponge bath.

It was that much fun.  Omg, sponges!!


Endarkened ovens.  25 then 25.  Then, bread.  BREAK.

Looks pretty sweet, no?  Would you rather have this or James Franco?

Or this [me having a dance party to Van Morrison -- yes I can dance to anything].  I am so cool.

Bread, cut!

Ch-ch-check it.  I need to figure out how this camera takes close-ups.  This bread is good -- eh, a 3.7/5.  But, b/c of the inclusion of nuts, it'll probably become french toast.  That's right, it's TOAST.  Dude, why does that saying exist?  I mean, toast is only slightly burnt, and is actually better than plain bread, imho.  "You're toast" will thus forward be, for me, a compliment.  <3