Hurray, hurray, it's the First of May, . . .
And my lettuce sure looks great today!
While prior planning may not in fact always prevent poor performance (men plan and the gods laugh) I tend to think it does not hurt to try. I am sure that when Julie Powell began blogging about her attempt to cook her way through Mastering the Art of French Cooking she never thought that it would culminate not only in a book but also in a movie in which Amy Adams would play her. Well, I for one don't think it is too early to start thinking about who will play us in the movie about the HB in 5 Bread Braid. (By "us" I of course mean those of us who fairly regularly blog about baking their way through the HB in 5 book according to Michelle's schedule. "Us" does not include the infrequent contributors, the mere followers and lurkers, or the groupies. Those roles are what "extras" are for.)
Since I would not ask you to do something I am not willing to do myself, I will start the ball rolling by suggesting that Kevin Kline play me. He is, after all, ruggedly handsome, has gotten better looking as he has aged, has a good singing voice, dances well, and has a wife who was extremely hot in her day. And as if this were not enough, he was a Pirate King! As Bill Murray said in Groundhog Day, me, me, me, and me again.
So, who should play you? And, just for fun, who do you think should play our fearless leader, Michelle? Post a comment to let me know who you think should play you and who should play Michelle.
Now, on to this fortnight's bread. First I made the Milk and Honey Raisin. I used egg substitute. I also made a full batch, rather than a half, because I like raisin bread. After seeing Cathy's chocolate espresso flower pot bread I decided to try baking this bread in a flower pot, using a 6" pot and following Cathy's directions for tempering the flower pot. I cut a round of parchment paper for the bottom of the pot, and sprayed the pot well with cooking spray, Then I put 2 pounds of dough in it to rise, and baked it.
I think it came out pretty well, though I had a little trouble figuring out the best way to slice it.Although the recipe has you bake this dough in a loaf pan, I next decided to try it as a free-form loaf, baking it at 450, with steam, on my stone, just as with any other loaf. I brushed it with egg wash and sprinkled it with some raw sugar.
I think I actually preferred it this way, with the crispier crust. It was particularly good as cinnamon toast. My saintly wife pronounced it the best she has ever had.
Finally, I used the rest of the dough to make English Muffins (see my "technique" at Muffin Mania).
I do not bake my own English Muffins only because they taste great or just because I enjoy baking them. I also do it to "walk the walk" with regard to my views on the importance of women's rights. Since I have 3 daughters (as Aeschylus noted, "there is advantage in the wisdom won from pain") I feel that I am doing a sister a solid, or in my case 3 sisters three solids, and striking a blow against stereotypical views of women, when I bake my own English Muffins instead of buying them. Thomas' English Muffins, you see, are (is??) owned by Bimbo Bakeries USA (a subsidiary of Grupo Bimbo). Seems pretty politically incorrect to me.
The other task in this assignment was to bake Cinnamon Crescent Rolls with Cream Cheese Icing using the Chocolate Espresso Whole Wheat Brioche. I only baked half a batch, and they were very well received, despite the inartistic icing job. I left some un-iced, and they were very good too.
With the rest of the dough I baked a small plain loaf (the pan was slightly too small, as it turned out).
I had tried to come up with something fancy, but in the end opted for simplicity. As Einstein said, "Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not one bit simpler."
To avoid being that one bit simpler, I did put some peanut butter on it! Chocolate and peanut butter, who'd have ever thought?
That gave me an idea. Perhaps channeling my friend Sharon, who is not only my favorite Elvis fan, but also the only person I know who has been pooped on by a pelican--and not once but twice . . .
I used the bread to make a grilled peanut butter and banana sandwich--now how's that for TCB?
And as for how it tasted, I can only say, WOW!
So, that is it for this time, and as Elvis would say, "thank you, thank you very much."