Sunday, February 12, 2012

Carbohydrate Spike

A couple months ago some friends came over for lunch. They brought ice cream that is made here in the prefecture. It was kind of a let down because the consistency was like creamy sand. My friend assured me it must have been a bad batch of ice cream. She contacted the company and they said they would send free ice cream. So she gave them my address and on Friday afternoon I finally received the ice cream. It was a great surprise.

Ice Cream Surprise

I opened the box when I got home. It looked beautiful. To this point I have eaten the egg, roasted potato, and green tea flavors. After eating the green tea ice cream I realized I don't care much for these odd flavors of ice cream. I would prefer something clean, rich, and refreshing. The remaining flavors are milk, baked egg plant, and pumpkin. I think the milk and pumpkin will be good but I'm not optimistic for the egg plant. I tried it before when the consistency was bad and I think I won't like it again. I would rather have fruit or baked good infused ice cream. Who really wants to eat egg plant ice cream? Come on, just go eat some real egg plant. Same could be said for potato ice cream. What were they thinking when they made these?

On Saturday I met some friends in the city and went around to a few different places. The first stop was an organic market. Many local vendors were selling products, especially food and drink items. My friend's older sister had a stand and was selling mini pizzas. These were really great. I envy anyone with a gas oven. The only way to make an excellent pizza is with the right oven. After the market we went to a stationery shop. Paper is cool, I guess. Then we went to an exhibit of a Japanese illustrator and author. The artwork was interesting. I liked his large high contrast paintings the best. Taking pictures wasn't allowed but that sure didn't stop this person. And I thought Japanese people were so responsible! Gasp.

We took a short walk around the castle grounds and then drove to a soft serve ice cream shop. They make their own ice cream with the milk from the cows they have. The plain ice cream has a very deep milk flavor that is superb. I doubt any vanilla was in the ice cream. It was top notch soft serve in my opinion. I just hope they haven't fooled me to think they aren't using cartons of premade formula. The place was called Deer Land Park but there weren't any deer. I guess Cow Land Park would sound pretty lame, right?

Today I decided to tidy up a bit and proceeded with the next bread in my book, cinnamon raisin walnut bread. The recipe was simple and it was easy to make the dough. I didn't have very many raisins so I used what I had left and substituted cranberries. I could have eaten just the berries so I had to slap myself on the wrist before they were kneaded into the dough. There was about 3 1/2 hours of proofing time on this bread. That seems to be typical though. It's usually about 2 hours for the first rise and then 1 hour to 1 1/2 hours for the second rise. This is where the process takes the most time. After I the first rise I then shaped the dough into loaves. I added a cinnamon sugar layer for a swirl in the final baked loaves.

After about 35 minutes of baking my humble loaves popped out of the oven.

Cinnamon Raisin Cranberry Walnut Bread

Looking good.

Cinnamon Raisin Cranberry Walnut Bread 2

Ah there we go. The swirl of cinnamon sugar in the middle is a nice bonus. The bread texture and taste is amazing. I ate half the first loaf, probably because I didn't really eat dinner but who cares! This is a really straightforward bread with great qualities. I get a great feeling of euphoria from a successful loaf of bread. In our fast paced society bread baking or baking in general helps you take a step back. Well, I'm already back a few levels more than the average person anyway. I've completed 9 types of bread with my book so far and it's all been a great journey. I'm really infected with the baking virus. I think I have been carrying it since I was young. I was fascinated by the Richard Scarry books for many reasons. One of my favorite illustrations was a bakery. There was a giant trough that was being used for making dough. Huckle or some cat creature was pulling loves from the ovens. Able Baker Charlie accidentally added too much yeast to the batch he was mixing in the trough and it got so big when it was baking that the oven exploded. It looked so nice to mix dough and bake. I'm sure I've thought that ever since because of those images. Who knows where a loaf of bread might carry me next.

No comments:

Post a Comment