Monday, March 15, 2010

Carb Your Enthusiasm


My friend Adam has a real problem with businesses that use puns in their names. Those close to him know about this facet of his personality and do our best to use it against him as often as possible. For instance, his cousin once called him from the road when she discovered a bookstore called "Book Out Below". I myself called from Oakville when I saw a sign for a landscaping company called "Lawn and Order". Oh, and I called from Chicago and left him a message about a bakery called "Bake To Differ". He never returned my call.

Do you bake bread? Baking your own bread is something that, comically enough, also annoys my friend Adam. He claims that it is easier to bake bread in large batches and that's why bakeries have existed since basically the dawn of time. Never having baked bread in large batches, I can't confirm this, but I will say that I enjoy baking my own bread at home. I know what the ingredients are, the taste is great, the process is fun, and it makes the whole house smell fantastic. I make a loaf on Sunday, and it lasts us all week. It's one of my favourite chores.

Lately, though, I've been enjoying the process a bit more thanks to this:

bread hook

The bread hook. More importantly, the bread hook that attaches to the KitchenAid mixer that Kat let me borrow for a little while. I wasn't sure if I'd use the mixer much, but I have to say I am sold on it now that I've used it to make bread dough. And not just because I can poke the hook attachment out of my sleeve and proclaim myself "Captain Bread Hook".

I never really minded kneading the bread myself. But having the mixer makes everything so much easier. I throw the dry ingredients (plus oil) into the mixer's bowl, make the yeast mixture in a measuring cup, combine the two, turn on the machine, and ten minutes later I have dough. So cool! And the clean up is much less involved than when I was kneading dough on a floured counter top and transferring it from bowl to bowl.

I should say that for those of you who don't have a stand mixer or a friend generous enough to lend you one, this is easy to make by hand. It will just require more kneading and, if you're like me, more mess. And wearing an apron won't prevent you from getting floury hand prints all over your butt when you absentmindedly wipe your hands on the back of your pants. Just sayin'.

Sunday Bread

1 cup + 3 tbsp warm water
1 tbsp maple syrup
2 tsp brown sugar
2 tsp active dry yeast
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup spelt flour
1/2 cup quick cook rolled oats
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp olive oil

In a medium sized bowl or measuring cup, mix the warm water with the maple syrup and brown sugar until the sugar has dissolved. Add the yeast and set it aside for five minutes to grow and get puffy.


Mix remaining ingredients in a bowl (or the bowl of your mixer). Add yeast mixture and stir until a blob of dough forms. Knead it (or leave it in the mixer with the bread hook going a little faster) until it is a smooth ball of dough. I knead mine for about ten minutes. Don't skimp on the kneading, it's what makes the bread rise up all high and lovely.

Put the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover it with a tea towel. Set it in a warm place and leave it for 1 1/2 hours. It should double in size.


Punch the dough down and shape it into a log. Put the log in an oiled loaf pan and cover it with the tea towel again. Let it rise for another half an hour.

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. (Some bread recipes say to start the bread in a hotter oven and turn the heat down for the last half of cooking. I don't find this makes a huge difference, but you may want to experiment.)

Bake the loaf for 25 minutes. To check if it is done, take it out of the pan and knock on the bottom. If it sounds hollow, it's done.

Some Notes:

-For those of you who are thinking I should just get a bread machine, I don't think I want to go that far. I still like to be involved in the whole process of the bread baking. I'm not ready to totally surrender to technology. Yet.

-If there is a business in your area that has a pun in its name, good or bad, please let me know in the comments. I'd love to see how many we can list. Here, I'll start: in Winnipeg I saw an Italian restaurant called "Pasta La Vista". Now you!

-The Man of Science will protest and say that a pun has to be a play on words that centres on two different meanings of the same word, not two words that sound alike. However, this definition on says that it can be either.


This Time Last Year: Vegan Fast Food in Los Angeles


Azzahar said...

how about the book "how it all vegan"?

Tami (Vegan Appetite) said...

I love puns, but can't think of any used in food/restaurants right now. But I wanted to say that I'm with you 1000000% on the KA for breadmaking. It beats a bread machine any day.

Your recipe sounds delicious. The texture is so pretty!

'col said...

Not a pun, but it did make me scream "Evil But Banal Overlord!": a restaurant in downtown called CR3ASIANS.

Why the 3? Why?

Anardana said...

Have you ever tried no-knead bread? I tried it this week and it is so cool! Check out my latest post to see it.

T said...

How about the hair salon "curl up and die"? hehehe

This bread recipe looks simple and fantastic!

SweetKaroline said...

the salon "curl up and dye" was from the movie Runaway Bride me thinks

there's a ton of salon mom goes to "Blown Away" to get her hair cut.

elaine said...

Just discovered the book Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. Takes 10 minutes to produce the kneading involved. Just keep the dough in the fridge and cut off a hunk when you need it and plop it on a baking stone....voila...fresh bread every day. Check it out.

The Voracious Vegan said...

Hahaha, I love businesses that use puns in their names. I am easily impressed, however.

I've never baked my own bread but I've been wanting to lately. This might be a great recipe to get started with, thank you!

Mary said...

There's a barber shop here in Berkeley named "Great Clips." I think they're trying to make a pun with clipper ships and sailing...they have huge fake boats around the shop. It is terrible to behold.

Robin said...

True Loaf bakery, 573 Gladstone.

Lesley the Dishslayer said...

Last time Adam was over at my house I served him and brand of tea called
I told him after he drank it that he had consumed pun tea and enjoyed it. God how I love teasing Adam.

Jennifer (It Ain't Meat, Babe) said...

Azzahar:It took me forever to get that joke when the book came out!

Tami: Thanks for the texture compliment! I do think I need to leave it in for a touch longer next time. I always worry I'll over-cook it!

'Col: I see the Overlord is still at large. But that is especially horrible. I don't get the 3 either. Unless the business is run by three creative asians.

Anardana: checked it out and left you a comment!

T and Karoline and Mary: Hair salons totally seem to have a monopoly on bad pun names. There was one in the town where I went to university called "The Best Little Hair House in Peterborough".

Elaine: I've been hearing a lot of good things about that book!

VV: I am also easily impressed! And I get all giggly when I see another cornily named business.

Robin: That makes me want to open one called "All You Need is Loaf". Or perhaps "Loaf At First Site".

Lesley: That is an excellent story.

Patty said...

That bread looks great! I used to bake bread but then I got busy (lazy) :) Great post!

Stella said...

Sports bar in Vanier: The Puck Stops Here.

Pearl said...

groan. those are some awesome puns.

feebeef said...

Hey there. Found your blog by trying to find a vegan banana bread recipe that has coconut milk in it. Yours wasn't the one I used before, but I may try it.

For bread, the absolutely easiest way to make bread is the no-knead method by Jim Lahey. Mark Bittman, the minimalist from the New York Times, wrote about it.

Here's the link:

Happy Baking!