Thursday, March 11, 2010

Rising to the occasion

And I'm back! I took a couple of days off from the blog(but not from cooking and baking) for my birthday, which was Monday. But yesterday, I was right back on to baking and taking pictures and posting! Glad to be back, but a break is nice, too!

In trying to stay with my once a week grocery shopping plan, I make a concerted effort to not run to the store for "just one thing." When does it ever end up being only one thing? And what a waste of gas and time anyway to go out just for that one thing. So we were out of bread, but I send a sandwich to school with Kadin every day for his lunch. Not having bread is a bit of a problem!

Now, realize, I've never MADE bread before. I've made banana bread or pumpkin bread, but not just bread. And I did try a cranberry swirl loaf real bread back in January, but I killed the yeast in the first step, so it was really dense and didn't rise right or anything. It tasted good, but the texture was alll wrong.

I just knew that if this whole foods thing was going to work, I was going to have to conquer bread. So I bought a bread book, and I'm working on figuring out how to implement it, but I was missing a significant ingredient for it's main recipe. So Google saved the day! It took a long time because a lot of things called for stuff I didn't have(like skim milk) or made two loaves(I only need one at a time and only have one loaf pan anyway). So I found one that used things I had, and sounded manageable.

Super Easy Bread for Beginners

I would have included pictures of the ingredients and the beginning of the process, but, I was on the phone with my mom at the time and to be honest, it just didn't even occur to me. But here's the dough, all mixed up. This is the point at which the dough was "chasing" the spoon around the bowl. I liked that description!

This is the dough in the buttered bowl, next to the heated oven(I was about to start granola bars) so it can rise. Sorry for the monotone here, didn't even occur to me to use a colored bowl. But ceramic Pfaltgraff does conduct heat well, so maybe it was actually a good idea.
Here's the dough an hour later, about to be punched down and kneaded. I was so ecstatic to see it had actually risen in a way that looked right to me! Yay!

And the finished product right out of the oven. When it came out, it was really hard, and I was a little bit scared. But after an hour or so, the top started to soften, so I was really thrilled. I wanted to make sure it turned out right, so as much as I wanted to test it, I didn't slice any off until this morning.

And..... this morning, I had to make Kadin's sandwich as usual. I sliced the heel off and, whaddya know, it was soft bread! And the crust was chewy, not hard like I'd feared. And it tastes.... good! I will definitely make this again sometime, but I will bake it a little less and see if that makes the crust even better.

My other project yesterday was granola bars. This is what I made while the dough was rising.
I wanted to try a new recipe. But I sort of had a heck of a time finding one to try. So many call for things like Rice Krispies, which is exactly the sort of stuff I'm trying to avoid feeding my kids(and myself). So finally I found this one, and I thought I had all the stuff for it, so why not. As it would turn out, I didn't have the peanut butter chips. I forgot I had used them in cookies that Fawad took to work. So instead I used all chocolate chips, which was really fine with me anyway.

Peanut Butter Granola Bars

Again, I know some of this stuff isn't ideal. I'm still using up that peanut butter(this is the last jar). And when I'm baking, I use regular honey, not local.
The dry ingredient and the wet ingredients. I love when things look good along the way.
All mixed together. I taste a little, really good!
All done, out of the oven! It said to bake just until the edges were browned, and that's exactly what I did.

The recipe says it makes three dozen. I can't imagine how small they would have to be to make that many out of one pan. I cut it into 18 bars which were a more normal granola bar size.
Now, I'm not sure if I'd make this one again. They taste good. But they're really crumbly. I think it's because they're so thin, and it just doesn't hold together. Maybe it would be better in a smaller pan, but I'm not sure if that would be enough to take care of the problem.

And this is what I made for the boys in the middle of all of this. The husband I were having leftovers from the night before's dinner out, so I didn't want to exert a lot of effort just cooking for the boys. So, half a box of whole wheat organic spaghetti, about a third of a jar of organic marinara sauce, some parmesan cheese, and a quick spinach salad. Voila! Dinner!


  1. jeez your whole day must have been spent in the kitchen... but the bread looks perfect as does the spaghetti for the kids.
    sorry about the granola bars, I still want to try a good batch at home, and the protein bars for jawad...

  2. Really not at all. It was about 45 minutes in the kitchen making both of them. I made the granola(and baked it) while the bread was going through it's first rise. Then I punched down and kneaded the dough, let it rise again, then baked it.
    Things are really not as labor intensive as I thought they would be. What I've been putting off doing is making a big batch of roti because that was a lot of work the last time I did it. But I'm going to have to pretty soon.