I caved in. Every year I try not to put the heat on until Oct. 15. No good reason, just an attempt to be frugal. I almost made it this year except that it is 62 deg F in my house and I'm chilly. So, I just put it up to 65, and I can smell that warm air, and it's getting a bit warmer. But I came close to that Oct 15 moment.
Yesterday I finished up the bagels. Well, old bagels get like hockey pucks, at least they're supposed to get that hard, and I didn't want my tasty bagels to get to that point. So, I sacrificed and ate the last couple of them. And that's my story and I'm sticking to it.
Then I baked some cinnamon bread. We're about half through it, and it's wonderful! Mmmmm.
The normal bread pattern plus I added 3 TB of nonfat drymilk powder for extra tastiness and nourishment, and dumped in a bit of Ceylon Cinnamon, and then rolled it out when it finished rising, and spread a little bit of melted butter and sprinkled on some cinnamon/sugar. We are talking delicious here.
Here's my formula for my everyday bread. I knead in the bread machine, but you can do it by hand, in the KitchenAid, in the food processor.
1 cup warm water
1 tsp Diamond Kosher salt (less sodium than table salt, and still as good)
3 cups flour, either all-purpose or bread flour, depending on what kind of bread I'm making.
1 tsp yeast, the kind that goes into a machine. Nope, you don't need more.
I add biga, or nonfat dry milk or buttermilk powder, or different flours, herbs, seeds, whatever I want. I use King Arthur flour almost exclusively. It's good stuff and employee owned. White, brown sugar, or honey if I want a sweet dough. I haven't tried agave syrup, although I should since it's very low on the glycemic index.
I use only one tsp of yeast. Many, many years ago, I would use a yeast packet, and my bread always tasted too yeasty. So one day I got brave and went down to a teaspoon. Bread tastes wonderful, rises well, and I never add any more yeast unless I'm making a very sweet dough, in which case I add maybe 1/8 tsp more. I buy my yeast in bulk, also from King Arthur. One pound of Fleischmann's yeast runs me about $7.95, and easily lasts a year. I keep some of it in a jar in the refrigerator, and the rest in the freezer. If you bake a lot of bread, buying in a one-pound package is the way to go.
I generally use white flour, but will substitute white whole wheat flour, or rye or semolina or oat or whatever is around. I don't like whole wheat bread. Really don't like it at all. I know, it's good for me. Piffle. I eat bread because I love it, not as a form of medicine. And besides, when I snack, it's not because I'm stomach hungry, but becase I want something in my mouth. Ergo, I make bread that I love. Food police: too bad.
So, I mix up my dough, let it rise until it is where I want it to be, knock it down, shape it, cover and let rise about 45 minutes more. After 30 minutes, I heat the oven to 500 deg. F. Yes, 500 deg! When the bread is fully risen, then I slash it, smear something on it or not, put it on a piece of reusible parchment paper, which is on top of a cookie sheet, put it in the oven, shut the door, REDUCE the heat to 425 for regular breads, and 375 for sweet breads and bake it. When it's done, I give it the "knock" test, i.e. I rap it with my knuckles and if it has that hollow sound, it's done. Take it out of the oven, put it on a cake rack and let it cool. The parchement paper comes in sheets and is totally reusible. I have had my original 100 sheet batch for many years. I don't bake cookies often, so it really lasts a long time.
Yes, I know all about baking stones, own one in fact. And I do sometimes spray water to give it that steamy moment. And I often let the dough or shaped loaf rise in the refrigerator to get that extra taste, but honestly, my parchement over cookie sheet gives me a great crunchy crust, and the bread really does crackle when I take it out of the oven. I don't like very dark crust; it tastes burnt to me, so I don't bake my bread forever. In fact, I don't do half the rules about bread baking. I've been doing this for 35 years, and I think I have it pretty much down pat. Except for getting real bagels. That eludes me, but I love my crunchy bagels so much, that it's fine. I read bread books all the time, and own a few amazing ones. But the truth is that I never weigh ingredients, or follow formulas except for mine. However, I do pay a lot of attention to the dough when it is beginning to knead, and add bits of water, or flour as I think the dough requires it.
On the needles: My 2 latest projects. The little blue scarf that I showed you yesterday. I would have more done, but I needed a nap.
And the Janus Scarf, which is motoring along very speedily. And it lives in this adorable sock bag that I got from ZigZag Stitches. Cute, huh?
And now the house is warmer and I'm a happy camper.
Scrabblequeen - I am so sick and tired of "eat this; it will let you live 100 years more". I want my food to be healthy and tasty, but I'm not going to eat 1/4 cup of something I don't like to live longer. Enough already with the food scare of the week.
itsJUSTme - You just wish. There are never any leftovers.