Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Baking Fool

Yet another snow day today, so I spent the morning baking. I started with the potato rosemary bread above. The potato imparts a silky smooth texture, while the rosemary gives a cool kick, just right for a midwinter's day.

Here's the recipe:

2 3/4 cups flour
1/4 cup mashed potato
1 teaspoon yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary or to taste
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1 to 1 1/4 cups warm water.

Mix the dry ingredients, add mashed potato, water and olive oil and form into a ball. Kneed for about 10 minutes adjusting flour so the dough is tacky, but not sticky. Once the dough is elastic and smooth, form into a ball, put into an oiled bowl, cover and let rise until doubled, an hour to 90 minutes.

Next, remove the dough onto a lightly floured counter and punch down. Shape dough as best you can into a rectangle and using the back of your hand press it out to about half inch thickness retaining the rectangular shape as much as possible. Then roll the dough into a loaf and put in an oiled pan. Let rise until the dough crests or nearly crests over the top of the pan, an hour to 90 minutes.

Just before baking, paint about a tablespoon of olive oil on the top. Bake 30 to 35 minutes in a preheated 400 degree F oven.

As the bread rose, I made spice muffins. Not too sweet, but exploding with flavor. It's like a spice party in your mouth. And good for you. My wife eats them for breakfast:

This recipe is adapted from Mark Bittman's "How to Cook Everything."

1 cup white flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/3 cup of sugar or to taste
1/4 to 1/2 cup raisins (organic if possible. Makes a difference) or to taste
1/4 to 1/2 cup unsalted sunflower seeds (toasted or raw) or to taste
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
Pinch of ground clove
1 cup of 1 percent milk or full milk if you prefer
1 egg
3 tablespoons of canola oil or other fat. If using meltedbutter, cool before adding so as not to cook egg

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Mix the dry ingredients. Add canola oil and egg to milk and whisk until well combined. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in liquid. Carefully fold the dry ingredients into the liquid, rotating bowl as you go. Do not over mix. You want it lumpy and just hydrated.

Grease a 12 cup muffin tin and dollop in about 1/4 cup of dough into each cup handling the mixture as little as possible. Put in oven for 20 minutes. Cool on a rack.

After the muffins came out, I figured what the heck, let's keep going. I need bagels too. Chewy, dense and flavorful. The raisins suffuse the roundels with a sweetness that compliments the cinnamon kick. I eat one every morning for breakfast:

Here's a link to my recipe for cinnamon raisin bagels.

For all you Zappa fans, you guessed right. This was my inspiration for this post's title.

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