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.” 🙂

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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!

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?

Chocolate Chip Monkey Bread

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Last Friday, some former colleagues and I decided to have a get together at my place.  I think it’s been 2 years or more since we last had a party so it was a welcome affair.

One of them requested for oil and garlic pasta and we made that, or rather Jon made it.  We usually serve it with hungarian sausage but unfortunately we didn’t have any and I didn’t have time (aka am too lazy) to go out and buy some.  We did have some sardines so we used that instead.

Of course, since I’m on a bread baking mission, I had to bake some bread.  I just didn’t know what to make.  Jon suggested Chocolate Chip Monkey Bread.  I’ve never eaten monkey bread although I have seen some pictures online.  I searched for recipes but I only saw some with cinnamon and usually prepared/frozen dough.  So he searched for the recipe and found it in a really old issue of Chocolatier magazine.

Monkey Bread is usually prepared in a tube pan which we don’t have so I just used 2 loaf pans instead.

And this was the table before my friends arrived:

Anyway, I wanted to take a picture of pieces of the loaf to show how it looked inside but our kids brought the left-over bread to the neighbors when they went there to play last night.  So, no more bread to take pictures off.

My kids really like the bread, eating it for breakfast and snacks yesterday.  I liked this bread too since it was soft, tasty and a treat.  Next time though, I’ll mix some chocolate chips in the dough itself.  The original recipe just had me roll the balls of dough into melted butter then into the chocolate chips.  So there wasn’t much excitement eating the inside of the loaf, everybody wanted to eat the outside parts, hahaha.

I’ll definitely make this again and next time, it would be better. =)

French Breakfast Muffins

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In one of my food gawker strolls, I came upon a wonderful recipe for French Breakfast Muffins.  I knew I had to try it out for breakfast sometime.

So I figured, today, being a Saturday, would be the perfect time to try it out.  This way, we’ll have special a breakfast that we can all enjoy without any rush.  It took maybe 5 min to mix and just 25 min to bake so in just 30 min, breakfast is ready.

Would you like one?

Brownie Fail

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Summer’s back with a vengeance.  It’s hot again and the sun woke me up at around 7 am.  I know, that’s late already but I slept late and I would have wanted to wake up at 8 am or 9 am.

Anyway, since I’m up already, I decided to be productive.  I haven’t baked for several days so I decided to make French bread and another attempt at brownies, this time adding some chocolate chips.

For the French bread, I decided to use an egg wash since one recipe I read used it.  It made the bread brown beautifully.  However, the crust wasn’t crisp anymore but I think it helped in keeping the bread soft.  Overall, it was still good but I haven’t decided yet if I like a crisp crust better.

About the brownies, I had such high hopes.  I mixed the batter, buttered the pan, then baked it, just like before.  It smelled really good so the kids and I were looking forward to trying the adjusted recipe.

The bad news was, when I removed the brownie from the pan, it stuck!!!  It was really disappointing and my brownies were wrecked.  I mean, it still tasted good but it looked really bad.  =(

The last time I made brownies, I lined the pan with foil so it was easy to remove and cut.  I could, of course, do that but I really don’t like using parchment paper or foil.  I find it such a waste of resource.  I hate buying stuff that I will use once then throw out.  I’m thinking of investing in silicon pans but it’s just so expensive.

So there I was, feeling sad and depressed when Jari says something to make it worth the trouble.  “By the way Mom, I love your brownies.”  =)

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