Tuesday, January 13, 2009

reason number 437 why I am awesome

and humble too. :)

das had bought me a bread machine for my birthday eons ago and while I'd used it, it was mostly for pizza dough and the occasional loaf of french bread. as I'd mentioned (numerous times) before, I didn't have a ton of space at the old house... and I never really thought about the constant need for yeast. however, that all changed at christmas when I got a lot of things from the king arthur flour catalog. well, not a lot, but some. I got things that I *really* wanted. I *really* wanted them because I wanted to explore the world of baking much more than I had in the past. I can remember, before days of my "mother's" bread machine (totally a homer ball gift from my dad), my father would make loaves of bread and let them rise behind the woodstove during the winter. we would end up with a bazillion loaves of fresh baked bread... most of which I didn't partake of because, well, I wasn't a giant bread fan I guess. there are still lots of breads I'm not a fan of... pumpernickel and rye (I can't stand caraway - blech!) jump to mind. I love wheat and white breads, and especially potato bread. there's just something about the texture of a hearty piece of potato bread that makes me just feel good. so anyway, I wanted to do these for myself. I didn't want to have to rely on my grocery bread aisle when I knew that if I worked at it, I could produce something even better (or at least just as good).

so, in an attempt to fuel yet another of my random desires of life... my mom and dad got me some things to help (plus a few other things that were for other baking endeavors):

so I made a loaf of bread the other night. nothing major... it turned out OK but seemed a little low. I think part of it was the lack of warm places to put a rising loaf of bread... but I saw a trick on "good eats" that I'll utilize in the future: put a heating pad on low in between one larger bowl and the bowl your dough is in. it was a bit on the dense side, though it made for a hearty sandwich bread for our paninis... not so much for just a sandwich in general... a bit too crumbly. I would probably opt for some different recipes.

and then, because I was feeling so confident about my newly acquired new-and-improved baking skills... I decided to make bagels. the recipe seemed rather easy and I could use my bread machine for the dough, which is way super easy to do (and a feature I never really realized existed and now plan to use A LOT in the future). they came out as you would expect a newbie bagel maker's bagel to come out... not the least bit smooth and not quite as brown as one would desire... but they tasted so good! my first bagel making attempt was several years ago and it was an utter failure. like major epic fail. :) they were so tiny... and I don't think they rose at all. but these new ones were HUGE... and I topped them with onion and garlic for a magnificent taste. I plan to make A LOT of these in the future... they only make really eight at a time, which is overall pretty decent for the week in the morning. too many more than that and I'm sure I'd be handing them out at work so they didn't get stale (not that anyone at work would be disappointed to receive free homemade bagels ha ha).

so anyway... my new love of baking is the new reason I'm awesome. :) we all knew there really *were* 436 reasons before that. :D

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