Saturday Bakefest

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It all started with bagels.  I’ve been wanting to try making bagels for some time now but have never had the opportunity.  I’ve searched for recipes online but most of what I found are very time consuming, not to mention space consuming as the bagels have to be proofed in the ref overnight.

I finally found a recipe that might work from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day.  I decided to mix a batch of their master recipe to be used the next day.  Their idea is very ingenious.  All you have to do is mix the dough, keep it in the ref, then use as needed within the next two weeks.  It ‘s great to have some dough waiting for you when you want to bake some bread.  There’s no kneading and not much waiting.  I’ll probably mix another batch and use it for bread next time.

Anyway, as I was planning what needs to be done on Saturday morning to make the bagels, I began to rethink my recipe choice.  Bagels require so much work, shaping, boiling, then baking.  I’m guessing 1 hour probably won’t be enough to get breakfast on the table.  So I searched for more ideas and decided to make Bacon and Eggs in Toast instead.  We’ve made a similar recipe before using sliced bread and that was a success and we’ve made it maybe three times.

I kinda had a difficult time dealing with the dough.  It was very wet and I had to dust the board heavily with flour.  It also tears easily.  My toast cups didn’t turn out as beautiful as theirs.  It was messy as the eggs were a bit large so it overflowed while cooking.

I also forgot to put salt on the eggs so it turned out bland.  The cheese I put at the bottom was mozarella, so it didn’t provide much contrast to the eggs.  If I’ll make this recipe again, I’ll use quickmelt.  I’ll also use small eggs so it won’t overflow.  We had bacon bits so I put that on top of the eggs and also sprinkled some parmesan cheese on top.   It looked quite decent on it’s own.

My kids enjoyed it and asked why I only made six.  So, I guess it’s not so bad and maybe deserves a second chance.

For lunch, we had pizza.  I used the same dough to make 4 pizzas.  We each get to decorate our own although toppings were a bit limited that time.  We only had bacon bits and mozzarella.  What I did different this time was brushing the pizzas with olive oil mixed with garlic.  Then we spread the tomato sauce and toppings.  We usually add mushrooms but we didn’t have any and it was raining so we didn’t want to go out and buy some.  I’d like to add onions and bell pepper but if I didn’t want to bother with slicing if I’m the only one to put them on my pizza but maybe next time, I’ll get to convince them to give it a try.  So, we had bacon pizza for lunch.

We still had some dough left so I decided to make calzones for dinner.   I stuffed it with all the remaining bacon and cheese we had and added some hungarian sausage.  In hindsight, I really should have put in some onions to balance the taste and maybe the kids won’t notice.  I guess I’ll do that next time.  It had a lot cheese so it overflowed from the holes on top and again made a big mess.

It was still good though.

So, Saturday turned out to be quite a messy and tiring day but I actually loved every minute of it.  I really enjoy working in the kitchen and turning out stuff that my family appreciates and like.  As Nigella would say, “When I’m in the kitchen, I’m happy.” 🙂

Yeast and More

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I had a milestone last Sunday.  I finished off a package of instant yeast.  This is the first time I’ve ever finished off a package of yeast without the yeast dying on me.

I opened the package sometime in March.  It took me about 3 months to finish off 500 g of instant yeast.  It’s a testament to how consistently I’ve been baking these past few months and I love it.

I really love baking and trying out new recipes.  I used to be very picky when I try out new recipes.  I always think of the commercial value of the recipe, if I could sell it and so forth.  But recently, I decided to bake just for us.  I don’t give a thought now as to whether I could sell what I bake.  I just try out recipes that seem interesting with ingredients that are readily available.

So now, I bake bread once or twice a week.  We have homemade pizza day at least once a month.  I also try to bake some treats like cookies about every two weeks or so.  I actually haven’t tried any new recipe recently but I have a whole file of stuff I want to try out.  I’ll see if I can try out a new recipe at least once a month.

Looking forward to finishing off my new package of yeast! 🙂

 

 

 

Honey Oatmeal Bread

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I decided to try a different bread recipe today, something that might appeal more to the kids.  I decided on Honey Oatmeal Bread.  We did this once, maybe more than 5 years.  We just found the recipe in the Kitchen Aide manual and I remember it was good so I tried it again today.

This time though, I did manual kneading.  I’m actually enjoying kneading but it’s more messy than using the mixer.  I find kneading relaxing and I feel more connected to what I’m doing.

 

 

 

I made two loaves, as usual.  One I topped with rolled oats and the other I just left plain.  As you might notice, one loaf is bigger than the other.  I don’t know why but I always have trouble dividing the dough in half. 

Anyway, the bread was great!  It was slightly sweet and can be eaten plain.  Have a slice!

Lemon Squares

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Tomorrow is Yumi’s first day in school.  I asked her what she wanted to bring to school for recess and she asked for lemon squares.  We used to buy individually packed snacks but I’m really concerned with the volume of trash generated so I thought, since I’m home anyway, I’ll make the snacks that they can bring to school.

I was supposed to make the lemon squares today so they’ll be really fresh for tomorrow but since I had to do some bread rolls yesterday (we bought some burger patties that we’re trying out), I decided to bake them yesterday as well.  I try to maximize the use of my oven to conserve gas and heat.

This is probably the fourth or fifth time I’ve made these.  The first time was a disaster, looks-wise since it stuck to the pan and it was really difficult to remove.  The next two or three times, I used parchment paper and that was good but wasteful in terms of parchment paper.  Yesterday, I decided to use Pyrex and it was the best decision ever.  It didn’t stick at all and no waste!

Of course we had to give it a taste.  I ate some, Yumi ate some, and Jon ate some.  By today, there were only 5 squares left and of course, I had to have one with my coffee and Yumi and Jon had to eat some too.  I actually wanted more but it’s all gone.

So, tomorrow, Yumi will have the same packed snack for school.

 

Maybe next week, she can bring an honest to goodness homemade snack to school.  🙂

Lemon Squares (recipe sent by my sister)

Ingredients:

For the crust:

1/2 cup butter

1 cup flour

1/4 cup powdered sugar (plus extra for dusting)

 

For the top layer:

1 cup sugar

2 T flour

1/2 t baking powder

2 eggs

1/2 t salt

3 T lemon juice

2 t lemon zest

(I’m very lazy so I actually just used the juice of one lemon)

 

Procedure:

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F or 180 degrees C

2.  Cream the butter and sugar for the crust.

3.  Add the flour and mix well.

4.  Press the mixture on the pan and bake for 15 min.

5.  While the crust is baking, mix all the ingredients for the top layer together.

6.  Pour over the cooked crust.

7.  Bake for 25 min.

8.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar while still warm.

9.  Cool, cut, then serve. 🙂

 

 

Country Loaf

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I made some brownies yesterday but it was too sweet and rich for me so I needed to make something else.  Since I was getting tired of French bread, I decided to make Country bread instead but this time I made use of my loaf pan.

Actually, my kids have been begging me to stop making bread unless it’s monkey bread , so I gave one loaf to my mom.  Unfortunately for them, I like eating bread so I will continue making them, maybe just once a week.  At least as a loaf, it looks like the bread we used to buy and I feel like making real sandwiches like grilled cheese or tuna.

Would you like a slice?

Cocoa Brownies

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I was feeling out of sorts today so I knew I had to bake something.  I decided to try another brownie recipe, this time without nuts, as requested by Yumi.  I’ve tried these Cocoa Brownies  before but I decided to add some chocolate chips this time.  We also had some Whipped Cream as the children have been pestering me to buy it canned or make our own so I finally relented and made some yesterday.

So, after a couple of hours (including cooling time), the brownies were finally ready.

Would you like a piece topped with whipped cream?

Ah, warm brownies from the oven and freshly brewed coffee.  What more could you ask for?

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

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This is my favorite cookie of all time.  This was the reason I started baking in the first place.

It was actually Jon who baked but he baked very infrequently.  He made cookies and crinkles and truffles, even cheesecake.  The only cheesecakes I make are no-bake ones.

I finally asked him to teach me how to bake so I wouldn’t pester him and he finally relented.  He taught me everything, from turning on the oven, correct mixing technique and knowing when it’s cooked just right.  We didn’t have an oven at home when I was growing up so I never learned how to cook using an oven.  My only experience with an oven was in a home economics class in high school and that wasn’t really very comprehensive.

That was I guess 8 years ago, and as they say, the rest is history.  I actually think my Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies are better than his now.  (Don’t tell him I said so!  =) )

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