Dispensing Happiness

A good cook is like a sorceress who dispenses happiness.-Elsa Schiapirelli

That's me, the magical good cook.

Borrowing from my friend Dexygus, I've created my own food blog.

Read of my exploits in the kitchen! Salivate over the descriptions of fabulous desserts and savory meals I've concocted!

No, seriously...go ahead. It'll make my day.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Wartime Wednesday: Rolled Cinnamon Bread


Characteristics of a Good Loaf of Bread
SIZE---A 1-pound loaf is a good household size. One cup of liquid and 3 cups of flour will make a loaf weighing about 1 pound.
SHAPE---A well-shaped loaf is symmetrical. The top is rounded but the middle is not appreciably higher than the ends. It's proportions are such that the slices cut from it will be approximately square. There is no bulge over the pans.
COLOR---Well-baked bread has an even golden brown color. The crumb is creamy in color with no streaks through it.
TEXTURE---A slice of bread with perfect texture feels silky smooth to the touch. The holes are small and uniform; there are no streaks or lumps. Perfect texture is the clearest indication of quality and depends upon a number of things: kneading the dough until it is smooth and elastic, allowing it to rise sufficiently and baking at the correct temperature.
CRUST---The crust of a good loaf is smooth and uniformly brown. It may be thick or thin, depending upon the preference.
FLAVOR AND AROMA---A good loaf of bread is fragrant and has a pleasing yet bland flavor.
---The Victory Binding of the American Woman's Cook Book, pub. 1943.

A few years ago, I finally got over my Yeastaphobia; not a strong case, just severe enough to prevent me from enjoying the bread-making process.

I think it was numerous times I made focaccia that finally cured me; I realized I liked doing this, the mixing and the kneading, and seeing proof of my work post-proofing.

I still don't make bread as often as I should, but now that I've made this Rolled Cinnamon Bread, using the VBotAWCB's Standard Recipe for White Bread recipe, I have a feeling I'll be punching down dough with increased frequency.

This may be the finest bread I've ever made, in terms of taste and quality. The usual suspects, water, yeast, sugar, get together, then salt, shortening and sugar are added to scalded milk. They eventually join forces with a few cups of flour, mix, and continue doing so as more flour is added.

I did it all by hand, from the early mixing through the kneading. In the end, I was kneading the bread as if it were pizza dough! But it was fun, it smelled wonderful, and boy, did it rise up and holler!

I let it rise twice, for deeper flavor, and both times it bounced up full and ready to go. At this point, I switched to the cinnamon bread recipe, splitting the dough, rolling each into 9" squares, and covering the surfaces with a mixture of cinnamon and brown sugar.

Pretty standard from there: roll up, place in bread pans, let rise, and then bake.

Find it difficult to pay attention to The Simpsons because the entire house smells like cinnamon and bread.

As you can see, the loaves came out beautifully. And the basic bread recipe itself may just become my standard.

Oh, and toasting & buttering slices of this bread? Heaven in breakfast form.

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2 Thoughts for food:

At 5:35 PM, Blogger Lisa said...

Like you, I was a yeastophobic for years. I only was able to get over it when I bought my bread machine. I very rarely use it to bake my breads, but I use it to make the perfect dough all the time. Your bread looks fabulous. Can I have a slice?

At 9:21 AM, Blogger Stephanie said...

Hi Lisa!

Thanks, and you're welcome to it...I have another loaf in the freezer!


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