Saturday, July 17, 2010

The Blind Baker

As the title implies, I have been baking quite a bit, here lately. It's like I can't get enough of it. I blogged about making the Challah bread, which you can read. It's title is simply, "Challah bread." But, I've been making more than Challah. This month, alone, I have made 1 batch of Challah, 3 batches of cinnamon rolls, 2 batches of bagels 1 whole wheat and one regular, 2 batches of brownies, and 1 loaf of banana bread. In this post, I'm going to share some of those funniest and/or most interestingest points of those baking adventures.

On Saturday, July 3, the day I made 2 batches of cinnamon rolls and 2 loaves of Challah, started out busy and ended busy. At 9 that morning I was in the kitchen washing dishes. After the kitchen was cleaned, I cooked some chicken for chicken salad I planned to eat for lunch that week. When it was done, I cut it up in small pieces and put it in a container in my fridge to wait. I had to get things from the grocery store before making the salad. Then, my dear husband cooked pancakes for us, and I washed dishes afterward. After draining the sink of sudsy water, I hurried to take a shower and get ready to go to Walmart.

Mom and Dad...Lord, bless them...drove me to Walmart and we were there 2 hours getting the stuff I needed. My wonderful husband stayed home with the girls, which made the trip go smoothly, if it did take a while. So, anyway, when I got back home around 6:15, my DH cooked spaghetti while I washed dishes and started making my dough.

I had 2 bowls, one for the Challah and one for the cinnamon rolls, and I think I got confused somewhere along the way, because my cinnamon roll dough took forever to come together. All the while I was trying to mix up dough, my 2-year-old was running a fever and wanted her mommy to hold her. I did while I ate my dinner. :) Finally, the children's Motrin kicked in and the fever went down.

I was managing pretty well with the Challah dough, when I plopped it on to my bread board and started kneading, and found a piece of egg shell in it. :D The recipe calls for an egg, and I guess I'm not so good at cracking them as I would like to be. But, all in all, both doughs came together, but not without a lot of sweat and cramping hands. At one point, when my DH came through the kitchen to get some ice cream, I asked for a bite. You should have seen me, standing there, dough all over the place, sweat rolling in rivers down my face, holding that cold sweetness of chocolate in my mouth.

When it was time for the dough to rise, I put it in separate bowls and covered them, and then ran bath water for my girls. I spanked them all soundly and put them to bed...haha gotcha! lol Nah, I bathed them and lie down with them until they were asleep. At that point, I got back up, braided my Challah and set it on the baking pan to wait for the oven to come up to temperature. While it baked, I rolled out the cinnamon rolls. While using a heavy hand to sprinkle sugar and cinnamon on the rolled out dough, I ran out and had to find more, but it all worked out. The DH went to bed about that time, and i was not only alone in the kitchen, but in the dark...quite literally. haha! He turned the lights out on me! Can you believe it?

Pulling baking pans in and out of the oven, punching the timer again and again, washing the dishes as I went, and checking email, I spent the rest of the night in the kitchen. I went to bed around 2 that Sunday morning, and got up around 6:30 or 7 and readied myself and the baby to go to med express where we found out she had sores in her mouth and throat. No strep, though, but doctor did give an antibiotic.

The day I made the regular bagels, my friend, Anita was here to visit, and even though the bagels fell apart, I was surprised that they turned out so good. That first time, I rolled the dough in to snakes, pinched the ends together and tried to roll them, but the second time I made the bagels, I made balls and punched my thumb through them. The second batch stayed together and looked prettier, too. The interesting thing is, I didn't know you have to boil bagels before baking. I was worried about doing this, because the instructions say to flip them in the boiling water after 30 seconds, but I just used a big spatula and instead of flipping, I kind of stirred them around a bit. i only put 1 bagel in at a time, too. Next batch of bagels, think I might make cinnamon raisin ones. Yum!

"Ok Shannon," you are probably saying, "get to the funny part." Well, here goes.

I wanted to make brownies for my friend who was staying, but I didn't have a lot of energy to keep me going. So, knowing it doesn't take long to whip up a batch, I started in. I must not have been paying enough attention. I ran to the cabinet and grabbed a bag that felt like chocolate chips. i cut it open and poured half of the contents in to the brownie batter. When something hard hit the counter, I was like, what? I grabbed up the item, and like a dummy, put it in my mouth. Oh, my y'all, I had poured dried beans in to that batter, and I could not get them all out by spooning in to a cup. I had to throw it out and start again.

Now, I had some very very very ripe bananas on my counter and needed to get rid of them, so why not make banana bread? Well, while I waited on my dad to bring me some vanilla for the brownies, which never happened, BTW, I mixed up the banana bread for the first time. The instructions say to mix bananas, cinnamon and milk in one bowl, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in to another, and butter, sugar and eggs in a 3rd bowl. Well, when I was about to assemble all the ingredience in to one bowl, I realized i had forgot the eggs, my beaters were clean and my mixer was put away, so I just cracked them, put them in and gave them a vigorous stir. I also made a mistake when adding the salt, baking powder and baking soda, by putting them in the wrong bowl. Instead of the flour bowl, I put them in the banana bowl. haha! So, I gave up on the vanilla and made the brownies, which turned out yummy. I put the banana bread batter in the oven and an hour and 15 minutes later, cracked on top it came out. I tasted it the next morning, and...wow! It was moist and so very good. Usually, I don't eat banana bread, because it's too dried out or burnt, but that was perfect. Also, I tend to under cook things, so there's no way it tastes burned. The only thing i want charred at the very edge, is maybe a real, good steak, or some grilled chicken.

So, let's see, does that cover it? I think so. I want to make zuchini bread, but I don't have any zuchini and don't know of anyone who grows it. I'm too poor right now to buy some at the store, but now that I can get fresh fruits and vegetables through WIC, I'll get some next time I can. One good thing about my girls, if I don't tell them what's in it, they usually eat my creations. Then, when they grow up, they will try to say they don't like something like zuchini bread, and I'll say, "Oh yes you do." :)

Until next time, keep smiling, keep praying, and come to my book signing at Taylor Books in Charleston on July 26 from 1 PM to 3 PM. It's for my children's book, "Gold! A Tall Tale."

4 comments:

  1. Those brownies were certainly delicious as were the ones I brought home. Anita

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  2. Hi - I found your blog on a list of blogs about blindness. I am blind and keep a blog, too. And guess what? I also bake challah bread! I've never blogged about baking, but this post of yours is inspiring me to write a post about Challah sometime. You can link to my blog here:
    www.bethfinke.wordpress.com

    Happy baking!

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  3. Shannon, thank you for taking the time to leave me such a sweet comment! I'm blessed to find YOUR blog! I love to bake, too. Thanks for sharing your funny story. Challah is one of my favorite things to make, yum!!

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  4. Thanks Dana. I was blessed to find your blog, as well. :)

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