Sunday, November 3, 2013


Bread Dough Tornado

Theeeere's some Bread Dough on the rise!

Buddha Dish: when eating bread and butter is truly exercise.
Beautiful Bread

I'm baking more these days. Lots of things. I took a break from my meal swap (in the aftermath of Ox's vegetarian phase and my "Quit All The Things" phase) which gave me more time and mental space to bake.

Plus its very trendy, which we all know is so important.

My most recent change-of-life is making bread for the family. It has been intense and lovely. I started with an old bread machine, made four loaves in one weekend trying to find a recipe that worked (I refuse to buy special ingredients just to make a machine work; Bread flour? please. Powdered milk? silly) and realized that I hated the big square loaves. I wanted real bread.

My dear husband, ever the Mastermind, bought me two gorgeous new bread loaf pans, and the rest is history. That is if a 6 week experiment can be called history. Store-bought bread might be history, though, Mastermind didn't automatically buy some at the store yesterday as is his habit (yes, he does the grocery shopping).

Step 1: In the quest of Keeping It Simple, I realized the real convenience of a bread machine is that it does all the hard work for you. Kneading sucks, even if it is good for wobbly underarms. I had a vague recollection that a kitchenaid mixer does much the same thing, and had a 12 year old, unused, bread hook attachment sitting in a drawer somewhere.

Step 2: find a recipe that works. A few good google searches yielded a few promising results. First up was BabyLovinMama's "Making Bread with my Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer." Delicious. But the recipe was all spread out along the blog and was annoying. Plus I want wheat bread. I'm on week 2 of Plan To Eat's No Fail Wheat Bread, this week I added a half-cup of wheat bran for added wheaty-ness. So far this is my go-to bread. Next time I'm going to add a quarter-cup of molasses instead of the honey it calls for. I just love molasses. Which brings me to another point. Why can't I find a molasses cookie recipe that actually tastes like molasses? Every recipe I've tried (and I'm only on #2 by the way) results in a mild ginger snap which is insulting to the non-mildness of molasses.

Step C: This step makes me sad and might be expensive. The kitchenaid I got as a wedding gift from my dear aunties might not cut it for much longer. It's not quite big enough, the bowl gets so wedged into it's tread after the kneading that I have to whack it with the rolling pin to loosen it, and it gets VERY hot (nobody could ever say it has wobbly underarms though). I really don't want to spend the dough (ha ha) for a new fancy one though, so it will have to do until it if-and-when burns out and I have no other choice. It seems 12 years of marriage and all the awesome wedding gift appliances are starting to show their wear.

Step 4: Devour all the bread, especially with butter (I got an awesome new Buddha Dish for my birthday, I've been wanting it for at least a year. Makes butter so much more meditative. You can tell yourself it's as good as yoga, and therefore you are exercising by eating butter. Yes.)

We enjoyed today's loaf #1 hot out of the oven for lunch with a new spaghetti squash au gratin recipe. Fantastic, and I think our new go-to spaghetti squash recipe, too:

Spaghetti Squash Au Gratin
(credit: no idea, it's all over facebook)
1 med. spaghetti squash

2 Tb butter
1 small onion, sliced very thin
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (we omitted, for kid taste)
1 tsp fresh thyme
1/2 C sour cream
1/2 C shredded cheddar cheese (we thought asiago would be amazing, too)

1) Cut the squash in half and remove the seeds. Place in a covered dish with a 1/4 inch of water and microwave for 10-12 minutes. 
2)In a skillet, saute the onions, red pepper, and thyme in the butter. Cook until onions are slightly caramelized. Salt and pepper to taste
3) Using a fork, scrape the inside of the squash and mix with the onions, sour cream, and cheese. Transfer to a buttered baking dish. 
4) Bake for 20 minutes at 375. 

Now to go plant some bulbs. Busy fall Sunday here.

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