Sunday, July 11, 2010


In Cow News, our beef is bing picked up as we speak. The prices ended up being very good. I think it's closer to $6.18/lb

But I digress.

A few weekends ago, Shawn attempted to make bread. If you know Shawn, then you know that he is a rule follower. A recipe is needed for things and you must follow the recipe. If there is no recipe then it is the end of the world, or at the very least it means that I must be the one cooking because I view recipes more as guidelines. Especially when it comes to bread items.

I view bread recipes as guidelines mostly because of my great-grandma's roll recipe. It's a recipe that she would use to make dinner rolls and cinnamon rolls. The problem with this recipe, however, is that it makes a very soft dough. A dough that does not lend itself to being rolled out very well. Which means that more flour is added just to get it to not stick to the rolling pin. This can be up to 2 cups of flour. But of course no one ever wrote out the actual amount to be added when making cinnamon rolls, just a note that the cinnamon rolls would use more flour. Shawn, however, cannot do this whole "well, I'll just add more until it doesn't stick" thing. If the recipe says let rise one hour or until double in size, that means one hour; no more, no less. The recipe says knead for 5 minutes or until elastic and tacky. That means knead for 5 minutes, not 6, not 4, but 5. He is also very precise in his measurements whereas I am not. I will use the same measuring cup for everything, and the same measuring spoon (hey man, some of my greatest foods came from mistakes--the chocolate chip cookies I made all the time in high school had 3 times the amount of vanilla in them than they were supposed to).

3 weekends ago when he attempted to make a whole wheat loaf of bread, the recipe from our KitchenAid Stand Mixer book o recipes, it didn't go so well (not that it was an epic fail either). He only broke with the recipe in one spot. the spot where it said to bake for 40 minutes. He broke with the recipe because the top was getting EXTREMELY done (read just shy of burnt).

When we tried the bread, it was okay, not the greatest, but not too bad either. the crust was very brown and thick, the bread itself was dense and I thought a little on the dry side. But Shawn dutifully used it for his sandwich bread for the week until the last two slices went moldy. It is apparently quite common for all whole wheat loaves to be very dense, and is the reason why most whole wheat bread recipes are actually half All Purpose flour.

This last weekend, I decided to make dinner rolls. Originally I was going to make the dill rolls from The Spiteful Chef (which, by the way, there's a very similar recipe in the Colorful Colorado cookbook), but the Black Swallowtail Caterpillars changed my plans so instead I opted to do Great Grandma's Rolls.

First I substituted Whole Wheat Flour for half of the All Purpose Flour, second I put the dough in a bowl to rise and then went and did stuff out of the house for an hour or two and then came back and kneaded the dough (the original recipe calls for rising overnight), broke it into largish balls, and let them sit on the cookie sheets until Shawn was ready to start grilling the chicken (about 20 minutes). I also had to cook them about 2 minutes longer than was written in the recipe (probably because of the largeness of the rolls). I made roughly 16 rolls instead of the 24-30 the recipe is supposed to make. I did this intentionally as I figured that they'd make good rolls to turn into sandwich rolls. Shawn, however, was a little disappointed I didn't make them slightly larger since then they would have been hamburger bun sized. But now I know--tennis ball = hamburger bun.

They were probably some of the best rolls I've ever had. Shawn made me promptly freeze 8 of them lest they go bad. I have a feeling that it's good that I made the rolls and that they turned out so well, otherwise I think Shawn might have given up on homemade bread (I have told him time and time again that bread is one of those things that you just have to keep trying to make it because it will take a dozen attempts before you get good at it).

Another month or two of bread making and we might just have the hang of it...then we can move on to making homemade pasta.


Jon said...

Is that why your cookies were so awesome? They were always the best!

Dani said...

yes, Katina cookies were the best. Shawn is so cute following the rules. He however is going to have a hard time with bread items because it really all about the texture of things a not the actual time or measurement. Best of luck to him and his quest!