Sunday, March 29, 2009
I've been obsessed with Neil Gaiman lately. Over spring break, I listened to the entire Graveyard Book. I've also been reading his blog and he's mentioned how it really useful because it doubles as a journal. And rereading some of my own entries, I remembered some very good times and of course, some not-so-good times.
I really like baking. Not because it's an art or a craft or a science. It is all these things, but I like how hands on it is. I imagine bakers to be down-to-earth people with strong forearms and big smiles. It feels slower than cooking and more thoughtful, though the FoodNetwork competitions make it seem like bam!bam!bam!, all pizazz and lots of rushing.
I don't have a standing mixer so I have to mix everything by hand. Though I hate creaming butter and sugar, I really like cutting butter into flour with my fingers. I flake the butter and then rub it into the flour. I love the texture of it and how kind of elastic butter becomes. Creaming demands a level of perfectionism that cutting doesn't. I love kneading things.
I used the pretzel recipe from Culinary Cory, which I found on tastespotting.com. This is my second time trying it and I forgot to add the salt. I added it after forty minutes and the rolls were less dense and fluffier. I let the dough rise in a warm oven. I pre-heated the oven for a few minutes, before turning it off and popped the dough in. I don't know how if effects the dough, but shaping the warm dough was very pleasant.
The recipe calls for an egg wash and I only used half the egg. It seemed like a pretty big waste so I decided to make scones from the leftovers. I halved the recipe for Currant Scones and replaced the currants with half a cup of chocolate chips. I also replaced the buttermilk with milk and a squeeze of lemon.
The result was not as nice as the currant scones, but still good. For some reason, they didn't rise as much this time and look like cakey cookies, though they're no where as sweet.