Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Baking Extravaganza!

Ever since I got the Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day book, I've been itching to spend a weekend baking all manner of delicious things. The long July 4th weekend looked to be the perfect time to bake until I could bake no more.

Only, brilliant me, I loaned the book to someone at work on the day before the weekend started! Gosh, what was I thinking?

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Luckily, I xeroxed one of the recipes before I gave him the book. (And in a further bout of good luck, the Artisan Bread website has the recipe for Brioche bread posted online.)

Bread #1: Herb and Sun-Dried Tomato Foccacia

I'd already made some Olive Oil dough from earlier in the week, so I used up the last of it to make myself some foccacia bread.

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Steven decided to take a quick catnap on Saturday afternoon, so I baked myself the bread (with oregano from the garden! Woot!) and sat outside with a glass of sweet tea, some knitting, and a cookbook, listening to our white trash neighbors shout at their children and each other. It was just lovely.

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After I finished up the last of the Olive Oil dough, I lined up all my ingredients to make Oatmeal Bread and Brioche dough.

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Breads #2 and #3: Oatmeal Cinnamon-Raisin Bread and Brioche Cinnamon Bread

The Oatmeal Bread recipe required all sorts of unusual brans (oat bran, wheat bran?), and I couldn't find wheat bran, so we substituted wheat germ. I am hoping this decision won't come back to haunt me. The dough rose beautifully, so at least we're okay so far.

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I made two sets of cinnamon bread loaves -- this one, with the Oatmeal Bread dough and brown sugar, cinnamon, and raisins, and a second, smaller loaf using the Brioche dough and omitting the raisins (because Someone-Picky-In-Our-House-Doesn't-Like-Raisins-In-His-Bread. But I won't name names...)

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I can't fathom how you could resist the temptations of cinnamon raisin bread, but that's just me.

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Also, for all of you that only get to see the extreme close-ups of the meals I make, I am about to show you why that is. Are you ready?

I am the world's messiest cook. (And, coincidentally, my laptop smells like cinnamon now...)

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Here's Steven's raisin-free cinnamon loaf, rising in its pan:

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And here's the larger, oatmeal-cinnamon-raisin loaf, also rising:

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Baked Goods, #4 and #5: (Not bread, but I think it still counts) Oatmeal Raisin Cookies and Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

The Oatmeal Bread recipe called for a cup of old-fashioned rolled oats. Once I bought a can of Quaker Oats, I fell prey to the siren call of oatmeal cookies. (Besides, the bread was taking too long to rise, and I needed instant gratification.)

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Again, for the Raisin-Haters among us, I made a batch with raisins and another batch with chocolate chips. (Although it does take a little squinting and perhaps a sniff-test to tell them apart...)

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Though, come to think of it, I may have resolved that issue by eating the last of the raisin cookies for breakfast this morning. (Oatmeal? Raisins? Its all breakfast food, right?)

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