Recording my latest baking adventure

It’s fall, so I’m baking All the Things even when I maybe could be doing other, more conventionally creative activities. This recipe started years ago as a basic sweet roll recipe, but I keep adjusting it and tinkering, and it keeps getting better.

So I’m sharing.

Ingredient List (all measurements approximate)

  • Yeast starter:
    3+ tsp active dry yeast (when I’m working with old yeast, I get v generous & use 4+)
  • aprox ½ c. 110 degree water
  • a heaping spoonful of flour

Wet component:

  • ⅓ c. butter
  • ½- to ⅔ c. milk
  • ¼- to ⅓ c. honey

Dry:

  • 3 1/2+ c. flour
  • ½ tsp salt

Filling

  • 1 c. dried cranberries soaked in hot water until plump
  • 1 c diced up fresh apples

(or whatever fruit or other filling you want in the bread. I do a cinnamon goop version without fruit, diced apples w/cinnamon & ginger, and another favorite is butter-top rolls w/diced-up dried apricots inside.)

Steps:

1. Stir together yeast, the spoonful of flour & warm water in a big bowl (this is the one you’ll use for rising the bread) until yeast & flour lumps are dissolved. Set aside. It should start bubbling up and get frothy/spongy-looking

(I know, I know, yeast doesn’t need proofing these days, but doing this gives the yeast a growth boost before putting it in a too-sweet environment. Also, there have been times it didn’t start bubbling because the yeast had..expired. ANYway.)

2. Put butter, milk & honey in a container you can microwave, zap until butter melts. Stir it all up & set aside to cool.

3.     Prep your fruits/filling & set aside to kill time.

4.     Stir together the 3 1/2 c. flour & salt in a bowl

5.     Add the flour/salt mixture & the cooling milk/honey/butter to the bowl of bubbly yeast. Stir just until well mixed. Cover with plastic wrap or wax paper or whatever.

6.     Let. It. Sit.  An hour, a couple of hours, however long the dough needs to double up.

* It rises best in warm rooms, so in winter, I use this as an excuse to bump up the thermostat. Or I start it while I’m roasting something in the oven. 

** It’s often a super-sticky dough at this point, wet and annoying. Bear with it, the results are worth the hassle. Wet your hands when handling it. I know, that’s counter-intuitive, but it works.

7.     Knead it until it gets stretchy and stops quite being so ANNOYINGLY STICKY (about 10 min in my stand mixer gets it to about the right state)

8.     Form into a ball & let it sit AGAIN until it doubles in size. Because it gets more flavo the longer you let it rise. …Or skip straight to step if you have better things to do.

9.     Punch it down, squish out all the bubbles and shape into a rectangle about 1/2–1”  thick. About twice as long as it is wide.

10.  Spoon all the fruit on top and spread to cover evenly.

11.  Roll up from the short end, fold the ends under & pinch the dough to seal — or knead and fold again several times to evenly distribute fruit through the dough. However you want to have you  filling. There’s no one right way.

12.  Set the resulting round loaf into an oiled 8×8 baker…

*or shape in some other way, I sometimes make 4 small loaves out of a batch, or a pan pf pull-apart rolls or a small loaf and freeze half…whatever suits my mood. Have fun with it!

13.  Turn on oven to 375 degrees.

14. Let your shaped dough sit about a half-hour to settle & proof into shape

15.  Bake for 45-55 minutes–or less or more depending on what kind of loaf shape you went with.

This is how the latest batch came out. It gets stale fast but then makes EVEN BETTER toast than when it’s fresh.

 

Until later, all!

Real Estate Adventure complete!

The final boss battle wasn’t so bad at all.

  • A bunch of papers signed ahead of time
  • A communication from our most excellent lawyer
  • An email from the bank

…and just like that, we’re a one-house household again.  The deal closed around noon today,  21 years and 5 months to the date from closing on our “starter home.”

Farewell, little old house. May you be as good to your new owners as you were to Spouseman & me, whatever future transformations & transitions await you & them.

IMG_6507
Last pic of this house ever.

Meanwhile, in the new little house…<cue celebratory music and dancing>

fullsizeoutput_1ffa
Instead, I expect to take many pics of this little home in the coming years

WOOHOO, the life-draining distractions are back to normal levels! Only one trash pickup to remember. One set of utility bills to track. One set of to-do lists. ALL THE SHOUTYCAPS AND HAPPY EXCLAMATION POINTS!!!!!!

I am giddy with anticipation and basking in possibilities. At last, I have a true room of my own, with time and air to breathe. (and a figurative raised middle finger to the specter of Charles Bukowski and his repeated dismissals of any creativity too fragile to survive without quiet, patient nurturing.)

That attitude just chafes me sometimes, especially when I am being one of those people who “can’t find time” and every post and article I read talks about “making time” like its mac & cheese from a box.

Not all artists have the kind of creativity that can be wielded like a hammer of raw elemental emotion, not all of us have molten passions that pour from our veins and pores in unstoppable torrents. Some of us coax beautiful creations from silence and soft, slippery emotions too delicate to survive in the hurly-burly environment of a busy life.

When it comes to art, I’m a blower of soap bubbles, and I dare anyone to  blow good soap bubbles in a hurricane.

And, hey, look! I’m writing again already. Take that, “make-time” advice people.

Until later, all.

 

October Word 5

Today’s timed act of typing

October 5. Malady

There’s a problem with malady, and it’s that I have to process the word before I can write about the meaning of it, Words dance, now and then. I’m not diagnosed dyslexic, but…words don’t always behave well. Malady NEVER looks right. There’s something wrong about it. There’s some amusement value there, no? Malady suffers from a malady? Anyway, I’ve misspelled it three times.  But I don’t misspell “misspell.” Go figure. Nothing wrong with my spelling. And now I’ve nearly run out of time and I didn’t even get to complain about malady being a mealymouthed, fainthearted kind of a word for describing being sick…and now Im’ wondering about the origin of the word mealymouthed and I’ve run out of time.