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:
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'.
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.
-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 Dictionary.com says that it can be either.
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