November 22nd, 2011 § Comments Off § permalink
I probably shouldn’t admit how quickly this apartment goes through loaves of bread — we eat the stuff as fast as I or B. can bake it. (Our record is three loaves of pretzel bread, which is B.’s specialty, demolished in less than twelve hours. Almost no loaf makes it more than 24 hours, or 36 at the outside, around here.) So when I was on vacation a while ago, and had some spare time, I made some extra batches of a basic white loaf and stuck most of the dough in the freezer. It’s all gone now, and I’m going to settle down to some serious kneading and shaping again so I can stick to the habit of thawing the dough in the fridge overnight and baking it while I’m drinking my morning tea and catching up on RSS feeds. (You do know you can get A Very Uncommon Cook delivered to your virtual doorstep in a feed, right? I am just looking out for your welfare, folks!)
photograph by timlewisnm
(This recipe, I should note, is adapted from King Arthur Flour.)
1 ½ cups warm milk
1 heaping tablespoon honey
2 ¼ teaspoons yeast
1 ¾ teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons soft butter
around 4 cups all-purpose flour
2 mixing bowls
1 nine-inch loaf pan
Pour the warm (not scalded! just warm) milk into a large mixing bowl. Add the honey and yeast, and stir to dissolve. Let rest two to five minutes. Add salt and butter, and stir to distribute. Add three cups of flour and mix. Add the last cup-or-so of flour gradually, kneading in between additions, until you have a smooth, elastic ball of dough.
Oil or butter another large mixing bowl and put the ball of dough in. Roll the dough around so the exterior is a little greasy. Cover with a hand towel or plastic wrap (loosely, in the latter case; don’t make it entirely airtight). Leave in a warm still place (I like the top of the refrigerator) for up to an hour and a half.
Grease a nine-inch loaf pan. When the dough is puffy, deflate it gently. There’s no need to slam your fist into it like it’s done you personal injury; if you want that, I suggest a boxing gym. Shape it into a log that will fit in the pan. Cover the pan with the towel or plastic wrap, and leave it in the warm still place for another hour or so. After an hour, turn the oven to 350°; when it’s preheated, remove the towel or plastic wrap and put the bread in.
Bake for twenty minutes, and then drape some aluminium foil over the top. Bake another ten to fifteen minutes, or until golden brown, and cool on a rack.
October 11th, 2010 § § permalink
Google Analytics informs me that a lot of people come here because they are searching for “apple chips homemade”. While it is true that I wrote about them a while back, there’s not much I can do to follow up on that. But it’s apple season now, and I am having a baked apple with honey syrup for breakfast, with some fresh-baked bread that B. made yesterday, and I feel I should share. Well, not the breakfast itself, that is mine, all mine, but I will share the …it’s not a recipe. It’s guidelines. Suggestions. Some friendly advice.
photograph by leoncillo sabino
Last time I wrote about apples, I insulted Red Delicious, and I stand by that. The apple I’m having is a Gala, which are my favorites, and which I tend to buy just from habit, but Braeburn, Empire, and Jonathan varieties are also good choices. They hold together and don’t go grainy or mushy, both of which are primary characteristics to prize in whole baked apples (which is a slightly different beast than baking slices in pastry).
Partially core four apples, leaving some flesh in the bottom. Pack the hole with brown sugar, chopped golden raisins, dried cranberries, and cinnamon. Bring a cup of apple juice or cider, a few tablespoons of honey, a cinnamon stick, and a few cloves to a boil and simmer briefly. Pour the syrup over the apples, and bake for twenty to thirty minutes in a 350-degree oven.
May 2nd, 2008 § Comments Off § permalink
A few weekends ago, I spent the day with a friend, marathoning the first season of Slings & Arrows (for the record: hilarious). I offered to bring something to sustain us.
I had bookmarked Laura’s recipe for Scottish Honey Scones in Pollanesque when she first posted it, complete with notes. Apparently she got the recipe from Cricket magazine, and despite the fact that it’s been a decade since I read it, I remember it fondly.
What makes these Scottish I don’t know, but they’re great; delicate and crumbly, the honey flavor isn’t overly sweet or harsh, as I’d feared, and they’re wonderfully easy to make. The original recipe, though, is a little oddly proportioned—following Laura’s advice, I doubled it, and the six scones I ended up with were a little on the big side, but not unreasonable. I find it unbelievable that half this dough could produce six to eight scones, even for a child. Accordingly, then, I’ve presented the recipe as I made it.
Scottish Honey Scones
Oven: 425 F, 220 C, gas mark 7.
Mix together 2 cups all-purpose flour, 4 teaspoons baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cut in six tablespoons softened butter until the mixture is crumbly. Add 2 eggs and 6 tablespoons honey and mix very lightly. Add 1 cup raisins and incorporate, mixing the dough until it forms a ball in the bowl. Divide in half, cut each half into three pieces, and form into half-inch-thick vaguely shaped forms. Grease a baking pan, and bake for ten minutes or until the tops are golden brown and a toothpick, inserted into the center, comes out clean. Cool on racks.
Laugh hysterically at Geoffery Tennant.
Notes: I forgot to brush the tops of the scones with milk before baking; next time I’ll try it. You could easily substitute a soy or vegetable butter to cut down on the fat content and maybe an egg substitute (although that might take away from the golden color of the dough), and while these will never be vegan, they’re vegetarian already, which is nice, and would make them a great hostess gift.