I had travel plans for this weekend, but unfortunately they fell through. So instead of leaving tonight to go and enjoy Origins (they do a full track of programing regarding games in the classroom), I'll be schlepping around Atlanta. I'm not too broken up about it though. I was going to miss my sister's birthday and now I'm not. I've also made tentative plans to go see the Big City Burlesque show on Saturday.
To console myself, I decided to make bread this afternoon during that time I'd set aside for packing. Making bread activates something primal in my brain. It's such a basic food, so easy to purchase these days and so versatile and necessary. Entire walls are devoted to it at grocery stores, but how many of us actually know how to make our own?
Bread is pretty easy, actually. Your basic sandwich loaf takes more time than skill. I made bread today from my nearly foolproof Joy of Cooking. I think the only time I've ever gone wrong with this recipe was when I made my own sourdough starter and it wasn't strong enough.
Unfortunately, I find it difficult to take pictures when my hands are covered in flour, so here's the first picture. The dough rests on the counter, after being kneaded to within an inch of its life. I used a combination of white and wheat flour for this bread.
Now cover it with a towel and let it rise. I let mine rise twice. You get a better crumb that way.
Newly risen dough.
Newly risen dough with a fist shaped hole in it.
This recipe makes enough for two loaves. I decided to play around a bit with the second loaf.
Cinnamon Swirl Bread. The ribbon of cinnamon is achieved by smashing the dough flat with your fingers, buttering it, then coating it with a dusting of cinnamon and sugar. Roll the whole thing up as tight as you can, then put it in the loaf pan for the final rise. I need to play with this one a bit more before I get it quite how I want it. One thing I need to recall for next time is to put down a layer of parchment paper in the pan. The sugar melted and fused the bread to the pan. I had a hell of time getting it out.
Regular ol' sandwich bread.
Since we had delicious fresh baked bread, dinner tonight was scrambled eggs and toast. You can't really go wrong with that.