Sunday, September 16, 2007

More Autumn & My Bread recipie

It was a glorious autumn day today. The sun was shining brightly, & the air felt crisp & cool. I helped Warren out on the deck, just holding the t-square for him in place so he could clamp it on the posts, then, use it as a guide to cut the tops of the posts off level & at the correct height. After they were all cut I went around picking them up off of the ground, & started noticing plants that are changing color, so of course I had to go in & get my camera.
I loved this leaf (from a wild raspberry plant I think).
& this little weed too, but I really got excited when this group of sandhill cranes flew over head. Oh they make a wonderful racket! We could hear them long after they'd flown out of sight. I had hopes that they may have taken a respite at Potters Marsh, so we hopped in the car & buzzed down there,
but alas, all that was there were a few little ducks.

Oh, and a few fish.
We could see more termination dust from here too.

I decided this stump looks like a water dragon.
Back at home I had to admire the vignette of fruits & veggies that I have on the kitchen counter, along with my latest Susan Branch cookbook that my sister Em sent a while ago. The sun made my peppers glow. Why is it when I'm trying to stick with a good diet (i.e. Weight Watchers) all I can think about is food?
Speaking of food, a couple of you asked about my cranberry cinnamon bread.
It turned out delicious. I was taught how to make bread by my friend Lori DeWitt, in Grand Haven, Michigan. Lori & I both worked in the ICU at Hackley Hospital in Muskegon, & she was passionate about cooking & baking. One day she decided to take me & 2 other nurses, & teach us the art of bread baking. It was an extraordinary day. She had 4 batches of bread started in different stages, & took us through each stage until we all had sore muscles from kneading dough, but at the end of a long day we went home with about 16 loaves of bread & a new skill.
Bread made Lori's way starts with
the sponge:
3 1/2 c bread flour (or whole grain if you want-I always use Spelt flour)
1/2 c sugar (or honey, but cut down your liquid if using honey)
1/2 oz fresh cake yeast or 1 pkg dry yeast
2 c water warm
1 c milk warmed
You dissolve the yeast in 1/2 c water from the (2 c above). I dump a little of the sugar in this cup too to jump start the yeast. In a large mixing bowl combine flour, sugar, water,milk & the yeast once it's doubled in the cup (should be ready in a couple minutes, if not you need new yeast). Stir this well, about 100 strokes, then cover with plastic wrap & set in a warm spot to rise. About 1 -3 hours.
Dough & 1st Rise
1 Tbs salt
2 Tbs melted butter
4-5c Bread Flour
Sprinkle the salt over the top of the sponge. Let it melt a bit, then add the butter, stir this up [now is the time if you want to have all over nuts, raising or other stuff you can add it (Lori's way), or just wait & do it at the end (my way), & you can make 3 different kinds of bread from one batch]. Now add the flour. I do this pretty much 4 cups at once, then mix with a huge rubber spatula until the flour is mixed in well. Next I dump about half of a cup of flour on the counter top, dump on it the ball of dough (it's pretty sticky at this point), & then the other 1/2 c of flour on top & start kneading. I knead for a full 10 minutes, adding more flour as I go to keep it from sticking, & making it become a big cohesive squishy ball of dough. Lori's big tip here was, you know the dough is the right consistency when it fells like you're pinching your earlobe, when you pinch a bit of it between your fingers.
Spray your large bowl with Pam or grease it up, & put your dough in & cover it back up to rise some more. It should double in size in about 2 hours or less, depending on how warm the room is.
Punch Down & Second Rise
Flour the work surface lightly & dump the dough on it again. Knead it well to get out all the CO2 bubbles, about 6 minutes this time. Return it to the bowl & cover & let rise again about 1 or 2 hours until doubled again.
Shaping the Loaves & Final Rise
Turn the dough onto the lightly floured surface again, & knead it well (about 3 minutes). Make one round ball, then cut it into 3 equal wedges (I picture a clock & cut it at noon, 4, & 8). Set 2 of the wedges aside then take the 3rd & flatten it with a rolling pin. Roll it out into a rectangle about 8 inches wide & 18-20 inches long. Now if you want a plain loaf of bread just roll it tightly, pinching & tucking the ends until you have a loaf shape, & put it into a greased bread pan to rise.
If you want to make a flavored bread, like the Cinnamon Cranberry this is where you add the flavors. For the Cinnamon Cranberry, first I melt a couple Tbsp. of butter & spread it on top of the rolled out dough. Then I sprinkled on Orange peel, cinnamon, a hand full of cranberries, & a drizzle of honey, or a little brown sugar (both are good). Roll it tight as you can, tucking & pinching the ends so the goodies don't fall out. Put it in a greased pan. Cover it & let it rise again until it's rounding above the edge of the pan.
Other flavors I've used that are good are herbs & cheeses, several different combinations.
Baking & Cooling
Bake in 350 degree preheated oven 25 - 30 minutes. Now the hard part. You must let it cool for 2-3 hours before slicing it or it'll be doughy in the middle if you cut it sooner. So, let me know if you try it!


Melodie said...

So, how does your shoulder feel now, after all that kneading?
When do you go back to work? Or are you?
Dad tells me you are coming here next year.......for PALS or Lighthouse? When will that be?
Love, Em

jenclair said...

Love the photos--especially the wild raspberry and the water dragon!

MJ in Michigan said...

I just found your blog today and read the past few entries about the weather and fall. My daughter lived in Fairbanks,Alaska for a year for a job and came back last August. I visited 5 times and wish I could move there! After reading your blog, I find myself yearning to return. I think it would be a great place to live and quilt.

Waltraud said...

Thanks for the wonderful pictures.

mindy said...

great pics...especially the water dragon! And the deck is wonderful....can't wait to get a picture from the air.
Thanks for the bread recipe and looking forward to the pretzle jello on Thanksgiving.
(I'm responding to several days posting because I can't post a comment from home for some reason)

Barbara said...

wonderful photos and..I think I am hungry :)))

roxanestoner said...

Deb, I'm back from my fall adventures....hahaha. I should be put until the end of November. Thank you for the recipe. I am going to pass it along to my daughter. She is the baker in the family. I do love that water dragon. You take some really nice pictures. Enjoy the season. It should be a short one.

MJAPA said...

I might just have to try making some bread this weekend! Just reading this made my mouth water!

Suze said...

Hi Deb...
It's finally feeling a bit like autumn here too...I think I like autumn the best of all the seasons too. We might even get some rain tomorrow!
Your deck is coming along really nicely, I can almost smell the lucious bread, the water dragon is a hoot..and I loved the look on Broccoli's face. Tell me though, why is the first snow called Termination Dust??