Wednesday, March 2, 2011

We started our seed Saturday night

I’m so excited to start the garden I can hardly stand it!  Hopefully, by the end of the month we’ll be able to plant potatoes, onions and peas.  We will plant them as soon as the ground thaw and can be worked easily.  For the things we need to start indoors, we started our seed on Saturday night and got 72 pods planted.  On Sunday, we planted the other 72 pods.  We chose to use seed starting soil instead of those little pellets that expand in water.  We didn’t like the way they worked and just seemed to create garbage in our garden.  But we did re-use our Jiffy greenhouses from last year. I probably should have cleaned them out before I re-used them, huh?
Because we chose to do it THIS way we’ll probably have to transplant everything to at least 3” pots before they’ll be ready to go outside, because there isn’t very much soil in these little pods.  Here’s a picture I took as we were sowing the seeds on Saturday night and a picture that I took just about an hour ago.
I think the seed you see here are tomato seeds.

That’s cabbage coming up already!  It’s so exciting!  I’ll give you a complete list of our starter plants in a later post…I promise.  Check back later to watch the progress! Are you starting seed?
Till later,

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Cinnamon Oatmeal Bread-Success!

I've been having a little trouble lately with my bread making and really, baking in general.  I made some bran muffins this weekend that turned out completely flat.  I was super bummed and I have no idea what went wrong.  They puffed up then fell...oh well, if I ever figure out what went wrong, I'll let you know.

So yesterday, when I baked a successful loaf with a new recipe I was super EXCITED!  This bread is soooo delicious, not to mention the amazing cinnamon aroma that fills your house while it's baking! I don't like the way the jelly roll is kind of coming apart, but I'm going to try this recipe in a smaller pan and see if that fixes that problem.

This is another Bernard Clayton recipe which I altered slightly as I do everything these days.
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 1/2 cups boiling water
3 Tablespoons brown sugar (his recipe calls for honey, but I was out)
1 Tablespoon molasses (his recipe calls for brown sugar, which I actually increased)
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 mini box of raisins, I would guess about 1/4 cup (Bernard calls for 1/2 cup)
1 package rapid dry yeast
2 eggs, room temperature (put them in a bowl of hot tap water for a few minutes if they're fresh out of the fridge)
4 to 5 cups bread flour (I ended up using almost exactly 4 cups)
3 Tablespoons melted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
4 rounded teaspoons ground cinnamon (he called for 2 Tablespoons)

Grease 2 medium (8x4") loaf pans.
In a large bowl, mix together the rolled oats and boiling water.  Stir to blend, add the butter, brown sugar, molasses, salt and raisins.  Let stand for a few moments to be certain the oats have absorbed the water. 
Let the mixture cool to no more than 130 degrees F.  (That's because the rapid yeast requires that high temperature to activate it) This cooling doesn't take more than a minute or two, so keep a close eye on the temp.  This is not the time to go off and drink some coffee.
Add the yeast, eggs and 2 cups flour.  With a wooden spoon stir vigorously for 2-3 minutes, or use your mixer (mine is sad).
Work in additional flour, 1/2 cup at a time, with the spoon first and then with your hands.  Once the dough starts holding together and cleaning the sides of the bowl, turn out onto a floured surface. (I added 1 1/2 cups of flour before I had to turn it out). Knead with a strong push-turn-fold rhythm. Add more flour if the dough is slack or sticky. Knead for 8 minutes.
Put the dough in a buttered bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap.  Set the bowl of dough aside to rise until at least double in size, about 1 hour. I turn my oven on to the lowest temperature (for me thats 170) and as soon as the oven reaches that temperature I turn it off.  I let my dough rise in that warm oven.  It's too cold in my house to do otherwise in the winter.
Turn the dough out and divide into 2 equal pieces.  Roll out each piece into a rectangular shape about 8 x 12".  Spread half the melted butter over each piece.
In a separate bowl, mix 1/2 cup sugar and 2 rounded teaspoons of cinnamon.  Sprinkle over butter on one rolled piece.  Repeat this step with the second piece.
Roll each piece up jelly-roll fashion.  Place in prepared loaf pans seam side down.  Press dough into corners with fingertips.
Cover the pans loosely with wax paper and set aside to rise.  The center of the dough should be just above the edge of the pan. 
Bake loaves in a preheated 375 degree F. oven for about 40 minutes.  Remove when the crusts are nicely browned and the bottom sounds hollow when tapped.  Be careful when removing from the pans, the sugar that leaks out on the bottom will be HOT, and it will STICK to you.  Brush the tops with more melted butter and cool on a cooling rack.  Enjoy!  I know you will!
Thanks for stopping by, and if you have any ideas why my baked goods have been falling on me, I'd love to hear your theories!
Till later,
P.S. I'm really glad I choose to reduce the cinnamon...mine was plenty cinnamon-y even with the reduction. Now is the time to go drink your coffee! Mmmm! Mmmm!