Monday, March 19, 2012

The Blind Baker: On Bread and Cookies

Well, it's not Wednesday, nor is it Friday. It's monday again. I guess I'm just going to have to stop saying when I'll post on here, just so I don't make a liar out of myself. :) The days just get so busy around here, that by the time I have time to write, I'd rather go to sleep, instead.

Last Wednesday was a busy day. We did a little bit of school, and then we baked cookies for my daughters' youth group's St. Patrick's Day party. I made sugar cookies and rolled them in sparkly, green sugar. The girls loved rolling the cookie dough in that stuff. :) I think they tasted along the way, but I can't promise. lol It must have been more humid outside than I thought, because the cookie dough was too dry. I kept having to add liquid to it. That kind of thing has never happened to me before, when it comes to cookies. But, they tasted fine, and I'm told they looked perfect. I don't believe that, but it's nice to hear.

My mom had bought me a new cookie sheet for my birthday, back in January, and I was excited to be using it for the first time. I rolled out the cookies, rolled them in the green sugar and placed them on the cookie sheet. I opened the oven, slid out the rack and set the sheet on it. I started to push in the rack, but a "bump" stopped me. Ha! That crazy cookie sheet would not fit in my oven! I turned it long ways, but no such luck. That pan was not going in there. lol So, i set the cookie sheet back on the table and waited until the first batch had cooled enough to reuse the pan. :) I knew my oven was smaller than normal, but I never dreamed it was that small. :)

I also made bread last week. It was french bread, and it turned out so yummy this time. I've changed a few things over the years from when I first began making it, and the bread only seems to get better as time goes by.

I've started adding my salt after the first few cups of flour. I read somewhere that salt does something to the yeast to keep it from working properly, so after about 3 cups of flour, I add the salt.

Also, instead of white, granulated sugar, I've started using honey. It seems to make the bread softer, and it changes the crum. I didn't realize it would do this. With sugar, the inside of the bread is more firm, more together. It tastes great, though. But, with honey, the inside of the bread is a little more airy, if that makes any sense. It seems to change the taste of the bread, too, but without having both kinds at the same time, I can't really tell what is different about it.

The other thing I've changed about making french bread, and white bread, too, is I beat an egg white and brush the tops of the loaves before baking. I brush on the egg white, let them sit for a minute or so, then sprits them with water and plop them in the oven. The water keeps the air in the oven moist, so the bread doesn't dry out, and the egg gives it a nice, golden color that my oven can't because of its age.

This last time, I had some help making the bread. My 6-year-old brushed a loaf of her choosing with egg white and spritsed it, as well. She was so proud of herself, and the funny thing was, her loaf turned out prettier than mine. :) She kept saying, "Mine looks better than Mommy's!"

I bought some meat and cheese from the deli yesterday, and I can't wait to make more bread, so I can slice it long ways and make hoagies out of it. Yum! And, rather healthy, too, if one isn't worried about carbs.

Well, it's almost school time, my coffee is getting cold, and my Reeses Puffs are almost gone. And, if you can believe it, I've run out of things to say. So, until next time, keep smiling and keep praying. It's the only thing that's gonna git us through.

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