Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Success and Disappointment

My amazing parents gave my husband a subscription to Netflix for Christmas. We've been using it to watch (online) episodes of All Creatures Great and Small, a Brit-com from the 70's and 80's based on the hilarious true veterinarian stories by James Herriot.

Anyway, all of these Brit-coms have had their effect. My husband and I have caught ourselves slipping into an affected British accent. I obsessed about finding the china pattern they use on the show (and found it!).

Bristol, by Crown Ducal (made in England, circa 1930's).

Anyway, we've also had hot tea twice. And now I couldn't resist... I made scones.

Orange scones with blueberries (frozen, not dried).

I used Ina Garten's recipe, but adjusted it to use buttermilk instead of cream, a lot more orange zest, and blueberries instead of cranberries.

But I was pretty disappointed. I like crumbly (American) scones. These were just like orange-flavored biscuits... and without the orange glaze on top they weren't very orange-y at that. They went great with tea, though.

At the moment, this is what I'm MUCH more excited about! I made another successful loaf of bread!!

My ultimate goal is multi-grain whole wheat bread, but I'm starting slowly. This was a basic white bread but I replaced 1 cup of flour with 1 cup of wheat bran (amazing source of fiber).

It's light, fluffy, and delicious. Easy? Mm... not really. Quick? No. Satisfying accomplishment? Most definitely!

If you've got some time at home, though, I highly recommend trying this out.

I find it makes me more productive!! "Hm... 1 hour for it to rise... I bet I could pray a Rosary while doing dishes and laundry in that time." "Hm... another hour to rise... I can go clean that desk drawer." "Hm... another hour to rise... sheesh... lemme go check my e-mail and read some blogs." (hehe)

Stand Mixer Farmhouse White/Wheat Bran Bread (basic recipe for a million variations)
Adapted from The Mixer Bible, 2nd Edition (Deeds & Snyder)

1 1/2 cups milk
1/4 cup butter (cut into pieces)
1 package (2 1/4 tsp.) active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water (btw. 100-115 degrees)
2 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp salt
4-5 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup wheat bran

1. Microwave milk and butter 20-30 seconds at a time until butter is just melted. (If you have an instant read thermometer, which I really hope you do, it should be no warmer than 115 degrees... hotter than that and you'll murder the yeast).

2. In the mixer bowl, stir together yeast, water and sugar. Let stand 5 minutes. Add warm milk mixture and salt. Attach the flat beater and mix on speed 2 until well combined. Add 4 cups of flour, 1/2 cup at a time, and mix until a wet dough forms.

3. Attach dough hook. Knead on speed 2, add wheat bran. Add remaining flour 1/2 cup at a time until dough forms a smooth and elastic ball that cleans the bowl. Continue to knead for 2 minutes, adding flour 1 Tbsp at a time as necessary to keep dough from clinging to the bowl (you may not need it all). Using your hands, form dough into a ball. Place back in the mixer bowl, rub with softened butter (or spray with Pam, or rub with oil, or lard... it really doesn't matter which one) and cover loosely with a non-terry cloth. Let rise in a warm, draft-free place for 1-2 hours (while you go clean your house, make shopping lists, take a shower, etc.).

*You'll love me for this, if you ever bake bread in a freezing cold house in the winter. My "warm draft-free place" is this: turn the oven on 200 degrees for 1 minute. Shut it off, put the bread in and leave the oven light on. It works like a charm.*

4. Uncover dough, press down (don't beat the poor thing, no punching!) several times to work out air bubbles. Form back into a ball, cover and let rise another hour. (Do your dishes at this point! You have one whole hour to be productive)

5. Cut in half, form each half into a loaf shape, stick 'em in your greased loaf pans, and let rise yet another hour (this is the time to get online and waste time).

6. (Coat the tops with an eggwash if you want, and press some old-fashioned oats on top). Bake for 25 minutes in a 375 oven. Turn the oven off and leave the loaves in for an additional 5 minutes (to keep from over-baking and getting a crunchy crust).

7. Remove from pans, let cool on racks, or just rip into it with a vengeance with butter and honey.


The mad woman behind the blog said...

Oh, I loved All Things Great and Small. One of my favorite shows from childhood.
I too have been working on making bread at home. Your loaves look gorgeous. I'm most definitely inspired!

Anonymous said...

Oh goodness! That all looks so gooooood! I am a bit of an anglophile, myself. Sigh. Love those brit comedies!

Kate Wicker said...

Oh my goodness. Those scones and the loaf of bread look soooo delicious. I'm a big fan of scones. The girls and I love making them together.

Adria said...

I LOVE All Creatures Great and Small! I too, watched the entire series on Netflix about a year or so ago. Big Britt-Comm fan here ;-)

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