e_moon60 (e_moon60) wrote,

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Cooking Day

With the promise that it may not reach 100F today,  and the realization that there's only one slice of homemade bread left, today has been declared Bread Day and Cereal Day.  (There's also only a half cup of my cereal mix left in the jar.)   Many other chores await, but Bread Will Happen.

Cereal Day is the easier to accomplish...the big soup pots come out and I start mixing the four base cereals, seeds, and nuts, then put the mix into the cereal jars (old one-gallon storage jars) and whatever's left in big plastic bags.  After years of being a one-plain-cereal eater, last year in New Zealand I finally gave in to the lure of mixed cereals and realized I could make my own.  Luckily our local supermarket chain has come out with a store brand of the four basic components. 

Bread Day will go better this week, as I found the cookbook with my other bread recipes (it had migrated over to Richard's computer desk, not entirely sure why.)  The last time I made bread, I could make only the kind  I know by heart.  Today?  Hmmm.   The different bread doughs behave differently in the presence of variable humidity.  But I have some pine nuts in the refrigerator that have been there long enough...so I think it's back to the brown bread with stuff added in.

One of the things I like about bread is its forgiving nature when it comes to cooks' errors.   If you keep the yeast happy and remember the salt (even very late in the game) the bread will smell and taste wonderful.  (My mother once left the salt out by accident...that bread ended up as part of turkey stuffing, where extra salt could be added.)   Keeping the yeast happy is really pretty easy--don't kill it with heat and don't starve it.   Some bread cookbooks (and cooking shows) make bread sound scarier than it is, with warnings about "too much flour" and "kneading too much" --which, when you're a novice, are no help, because you don't yet have a feel for the dough. 

I find yeast bread easier than quick-breads or cakes using other "rising" ingredients, for instance....those depend on very accurate measurements and if your baking powder (for those that use baking powder)  isn't new enough (which you can't tell by looking)  the thing won't rise.  Or, if you make a mistake (the memory of  the gingerbread tree that was supposed to be the dessert for a family dinner at Christmas--in which, having doubled the recipe, I manage to halve the baking powder and baking soda, lives on as a warning... the stuff was flat, hard as a paving stone, and inedible--even the birds wouldn't eat it until it had been softened by rain.  We had nailed it to a tree.)   For instance, to change my usual white bread recipe to a holiday recipe (richer, sweeter) you almost double the amount of sugar and increase the shortening by 50%.  Once you've learned how to feel the dough, you can tinker with amounts to counter changes in the weather (more flour on warm, humid days; less on cold, dry days. )  And if you're off a little, the bread is a little less perfect. 

I should also pull a roast out of the freezer and start it thawing. 

So why am I sitting here typing away about what I'm going to do, instead of when I've done it?  It's one of those commitment things.  Having told the world I'm going to mix the cereal and bake the bread and get that roast out...I'm more likely to do it.

Farewell, adieu, vaya con Dios, I'm outta here.

Tags: cooking
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