Friday, March 20, 2009


It has been forever since I posted anything. Excuses are: First, I caught some nasty bug that knocked the wind out of me; second, I have now officially collected over 100 survey responses (!); third, if I didn't pay attention to some wedding planning Jake was going to revoke the offer; fourth, I managed to get a grant application out for a follow-up study to the dissertation survey; and fifth, I was in DC for a few days for a conference (that Amy tagged along for and turned into a great time). Here we are looking skeptical of the stimulus plan with the capitol building in the background but hidden behind my large head.

I did get some baking done these past few weeks -- I was on a whole wheat and bread kick (or continuing), and made two versions of whole wheat Irish soda bread in honor of March (here's the better of the two, from 101 Cookbooks), along with a doctored (sesame honey whole wheat) version of Beranbaum's Bread Bible flaxseed bread for my friend Nancie that was really *&^#@ing good. I also made some butter dinner rolls that turned out good despite having been dropped on the floor (in the sealed pyrex bowl--no three second rule needed) so that the dough deflated pretty dramatically. They turned out fine, but not in time for the dinner I was trying to pull them together for.

Here's the bread recipe, adapted from The BB:
13 oz (2 2/3 cups) All Purpose Flour
5 oz (1 cup) Whole Wheat Flour
2.5 oz (1/2 cup+1 tablespoon) dark rye flour
2 oz (.5 cup) ground flax seed
1.25 teaspoons instant yeast (about 1.5 teaspoons non-instant kind)
2 tablespoons honey
14.6 oz (1 3/4 cups) warm water
1/2 cup sesame seeds (a bit more would have been fine)
2 teaspoons salt
One 9X5 inch loaf pan.

Whisk together the flours, flaxseed and yeast, and then (making a "well" in the middle of the flour for the honey) use the dough hook to add the honey on low speed. Gradually add the warm water until it forms a dough, scrape down the sides of the bowl and cover for 20 minutes.

Sprinkle the salt on top and ad the sesame seeds, and mix on medium speed for 7 minutes, until the dough is a bit sticky but firm. Scrape the dough into a slightly oiled container, cover and let rise for about an hour, until doubled in size.

Scrape the dough out onto a lightly floured counter, flattening it to deflate it somewhat, and shape into a loaf. Place it in a slightly oiled loaf pan and let it rise, covered loosely, for about an hour. Preheat the oven to 375 at this point, with a baking sheet in it.

Slash the bread--make a long slit down the top of the dough bread with a razor blade or knife. Place the loaf on top of the hot baking sheet and bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until it is golden brown. Turn it after about 25 minutes so it bakes evenly.

Let cool on a rack. While still warm, brush the loaf with melted butter.
Here's a video about shaping a loaf of bread by a guy who has a very involved bread baking blog, in case you're interested. And a couple of shots of completely unrelated loaf of white sandwich loaf I made a few weeks ago, slashed and then baked.

There were some other things mixed in as well -- Jake's 30th birthday (big carrot cake that was sort of funny looking but tasted fine ... I made a three tiered white cake, thinking one decade for each tier and realizing later that it looked like it needed a bride and groom on top. Wedding on the brain?).

But mostly it has been all surveys, all the time -- I'm happily over the hundred respondents mark, and there are only a few that seem to be unusable. The big problem is that I am out of stipend cash and now dipping into other expense reserves for printing and data entry and whatnot, so I cut the stipend from $10 to $5. People seem equally as happy. Some of these folks show up with no idea how they might eat lunch that day (after three or four hours spent at the office), or really struggle to buy diapers day to day. Every session someone tells me how grateful they are to be able to go get a sandwich (and of course someone else reeks of booze, but still). I wish I could keep giving $10.

Tomorrow is the Big Climb (!), so I refrained from going to my favorite class at the gym. I always end up with a sore ass, and I figure I should spare myself that tomorrow morning. I am already a bit weak in the knees from an overly ambitious run yesterday. I'll post my time, whatever it is, and come home to host brunch with the folks on my team. Many thanks to those of you who generously contributed to the Leukemia/Lymphoma society on my behalf! I appreciate the support.

Enjoy the weekend -- and wish us luck!

1 comment:

  1. We have been baking bread at home too, and it's so nice to always have fresh, warm bread. Love the blog!

    Sara Gray