Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Baking Blues

Today is our library's annual spring bazaar. It's a four-fold event: used books, beautiful potted plants, garden items, and a bake sale.

For the first time in a while, the bazaar is being held before Easter. This has expanded our crafts into things for children like yard bunny stakes and eggs. It has also expanded our baking.

I like to make yeast breads so I dug up international bread recipes: hot cross buns, Russian Easter bread, Brazilian. The hot cross buns were going well, the Brazilian bread made with pineapple and Brazil Nuts rather exceeded my expectations in size (next time I'll divide the dough in thirds), and the Russian should have been so easy.

Alas, no. For starters, the recipe is so old coffee was still sold in one-pound cans. And while I had smaller cans, they all have inside rims, so I reverted to 9-inch loaf pans which proved too big.

Then I hit too many buttons on the oven and cut the oven off. Didn't mean to. Didn't discover it until I checked on the three loaves of bread at the 25 minute mark and noted they'd risen nicely but weren't exactly baking. So I took a deep breath and turned the oven on. They eventually baked up, but by then, I'd started a second batch.

I didn't have any more almonds, so I switched to pecans. Calling the second batch "southern" Russian Easter bread. Kept the oven on. Since I didn't have coffee cans, the loaves are a bit rough around the edges, not smooth like the first slow-risen batch.

But the crowning touch was dropping the instant read thermometer in the water-milk-butter mix warming to 120-130. I pulled it out, washed it, opened it, dried it, got the battery straightened out and then the two little wires which connect top to bottom came out. I may be down one good thermometer if I can't figure out where said wires go.

On the up side, I cut open a loaf from the first batch to share this morning and to make sure it was edible. Even on slow rise, it's just fine.

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