Saturday, December 31, 2016

Bread Baking Day #85: Bread or buns with dried fruit

It seems forever that I baked for Bread Baking Day.  I missed #84 because I was still in transition from moving and hadn't yet found my baking equipment or my spices and key ingredients.

Luckily, Simone, of Aus der Lameng, gave everyone two months to complete the challenge, which was baking a bread containing dried fruit.  In that time, I was able to find everything I needed and managed to bake two (!) types of bread.

The first bread was a loaf filled with currants and dried cranberries. 

It turned out beautifully and made excellent toast.  It was also very simple because I used my bread machine to mix and knead the dough.  It is definitely a bread that will become a staple.  You can find the recipe here:   Golden Egg Bread with Dried Fruit

The second recipe makes a dozen braided rolls, also filled with currants and dried cranberries. 

These require a bit more work, to roll out the dough and make braids, but they are also delicious and very spectacular-looking.  One advantage is that the dough can be made several days in advance and stored in the refrigerator.  Once again, I will direct you to the recipe link:  Milk and Honey Braided Buns with Dried Fruit and Pearl Sugar.

This was a very enjoyable challenge.  I always look forward to each one, thanks to Zorra (the original Bread Baking Day hostess) and the Hostess of the Month.   In the next few days, stop by Simone's blog to see all the wonderful breads with dried fruit that she will share.

Now, it's back to unpacking.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Babes see Red

Best laid plans, as they say.

Last week, mid-work project, my laptop died.  I immediately rushed it over to my computer repair lady, who, after 24 hours, declared it unusable.  The next morning I went to a local store, purchased a new laptop, delivered it to my repair lady, then waited (impatiently) until all files could be transferred and I could resume work and life.

Meanwhile, with enforced free time, I thought of all the things I could do, like bake bread and sew. 

But, no. 

Everything I needed was -- wait for it -- on the computer. 

Such is life nowadays that every important file or access point is on the computer, and when it dies, life is interrupted.

For this month's bread, I knew I needed beets, which I actually had, so I went ahead and put them in the oven to roast and soften.  While doing that, a friend and I disappeared into the garage to move boxes and search for those still-elusive items.  Two-plus hours later, I remembered the beets, definitely roasted and soft.  After cooling, they went into the fridge.

I made a distress call to the group, and, thankfully, I once again had access (via my phone) to the recipe.  Tuesday was the big day, both for bread baking and computer access (yay).

Did I pay attention to the vitals of the beets?  No.  I peeled them, dropped them into the blender, added the milk, and pureed away.  (I should mention that my blender is vintage 1971, so it's beginning to be cranky on some of its settings.)

Using the alternate recipe, I made the dough and set it out to rise.  (Another mention here:  the dog is afraid of the furnace, so the inside house temperature is around 65 degrees.  Not conducive to proofing bread in this lifetime.)  While the bread was trying to rise, I ran over to the computer repair lady's house to pick up the computer (huzzah!).  It only took another 24 hours to find all the appropriate software, load it, and return to some semblance of normalcy. Sadly, all my browser bookmarks disappeared, so the task of remembering and recreating them will fill my weeks to come.

By now, the bread dough was risen.  I shaped three braided loaves, and when they were ready, popped them into the oven.  It is a finely-tuned dance -- waiting for the oven to come to temperature (20 min.) without over-proofing the dough.

The end result was near-perfect.  A lovely pinkish-red bread and a non-beet flavor.  One loaf went home with my friend, and one will go to work with me today.  Always good to share.

This bread is definitely Buddy-worthy, so check for details on Cathy's website, Bread Experience