I wrote the below entry a few weeks ago and then when I went to post it I had computer issues which are ongoing and are preventing me from adding pictures. Alas! So for the next couple of weeks, there will be no pictures of a cute boy or cute pets pasted throughout. My laptop is now twelve years old, so I cannot really complain.
Now that Owen is 4, I am finally able to do a bit of cooking on the weekends. I had forgotten that it is actually fun for me to try new recipes when I do not have a crying toddler attached to my leg or hip. I organized all my cookbooks and looseleaf recipes and have been very slowly making my way through them.
I decided though to create a fall cooking goal, and it is to become proficient in the random trio of brisket, whole wheat bread, and hand pies. We’ve been buying brisket on occasion from the smokery that is set up outside of our Whole Foods on the weekends, and it is divine. I found a recipe for cooking brisket and onions in a slow cooker all day, and shall attempt it soon.
I’ve also been wanting to learn how to make a good loaf of whole wheat sandwich bread. About eight years ago I decided to learn how to cook sourdough bread, which is my favorite, and after about four failures I finally was able to make a respectable loaf. However, I was living alone at the time and didn’t feel like I could eat enough bread to keep the sourdough starter going, so my breadmaking fell by the wayside. So I figured this time I would just do whole wheat without the sourdough part of it.
My first attempt this past Saturday was with a Steakhouse-style bread recipe which I got from the good blog Girl Versus Dough. I got special rye flour from King Arthur and was all ready to go. And all went well at first. The dough rose beautifully the first time and Owen got to punch it down.
Then it rose beautifully the second time, and I put it in the oven to cook. This is where the problems started, because it did not rise during cooking. I did some google troubleshooting and discovered that this was probably due to the dough forming a bit of a crust during the second rising (it did), and the crust kept it from rising while baking. To fix this, I could have a) put a pan of water in the oven and/or b) sliced down the top of the loaf.
The bread was good—just very very dense. And I did like the recipe, which called for rye flour, whole wheat flour, bread flour, a cup of dark coffee, and two tablespoons of cocoa! I would try it again. My next loaf will be a King Arthur recipe, though, which people rave about on the website.
And then I want to become proficient in the making of handpies – both sweet and savory – because whenever I see pictures of them on Instagram or blogs, they look like the most wonderful thing in the world. Yet where can one buy a handpie?! Seemingly nowhere. So I plan to learn how to make them myself, little red hen me.