Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Mother's Day (and Multi-Grain Bread)

Occasionally, I disappear… :) But I have now returned. Perhaps I shouldn’t promise myself that I will write a blog post every day. Or, actually, put any sort of time frame at all on my posts. I’ve never been one to do well on a deadline, particularly a self-imposed deadline!

I am finally getting things accomplished around the house and why, every darn spring, is it a surprise to me how much my back can ache after a day working outside? But it is quite satisfying to look around and actually see some sort of order appearing out of the chaos of weeds, and that is what keeps me going.

This past Sunday was Mother’s Day, and it was a beautiful one. I had spent the previous day scooping dead leaves, muck, and fish poo from the goldfish pond (who says life isn’t fun???) and was a little sore from all of the bending which that particular job entails. I woke a little after 7:30 and decided to stay in bed a little longer than usual. Jack, ever agreeable, promptly fell back asleep. However, after a few minutes, a paw was laid on my arm. I opened my eyes and Spooky was lying beside me, staring. He has such gorgeous eyes. I mumbled something about being a nice kitty, stroked his ears a couple of times, and fell asleep. For another minute. The paw was moved, he was almost “tapping” on my arm. Over and over. I opened my eyes again and he was still staring, and this time imparted a soft little trilling noise. Sigh. Spooky is a creature of habit, even more so than any other cat we have ever had, and he wanted his breakfast. In bed. As usual.

I should explain, before you all think that I am too crazy (too late, you say?).

For the past 5 years, Spooky has been eating a special veterinarian-prescribed diet because he has kidney issues. Fortunately, this has not worsened too much, but I try to get as much canned (wet) food into him as possible while leaving some dry food for him to munch on (to clean his teeth). It seems as though the best opportunity to get a quantity of canned food into the little cat is first thing in the morning, and that has become our routine. I go downstairs around 7:30, whirl some canned food with extra water in the mini-processor, and warm it a bit. Then I take it back upstairs and feed Spooky breakfast in bed.

Whoops, I may have overstepped that “too crazy” line…

So, on Mother’s Day morning, the schedule continues. Not that I actually expected breakfast in bed, mind you! But it was time, and he wanted his breakfast. :)

And, later that morning, he gave me a lovely foxglove plant to thank me for my catering to his every need and desire.

Looks a little unenthusiastic, doesn’t he?

To tie the following recipe in with the Mother's Day theme, I will mention that my Mom is a great cook and a wonderful baker. She learned from the best, my Gram. And Mom gave me all kinds of leeway in the kitchen once I began showing an interest. Mom turned 74 a couple of months ago and her daily schedule tires me. She walks outside, weather permitting, a couple of miles a day and when it's nasty out she uses her treadmill. She is willing and enthusiastic to care for any ill grandchild at a moment's notice while the parents go to work. The flower beds and hanging baskets around the house are beautiful; she and Dad do all of the outside work themselves (he has a large veggie garden and some fruit trees). At least two days a week there is someone else at the dinner table, a grandchild or two or one of my siblings who worked late and just needed a good, Mom-cooked meal; on Tuesdays she makes a huge pasta dinner and any or all are invited (most times, most of them will show up!). Unless it's high summer and too sweltering to cook, whenever we visit and I walk in the house there are wonderful cooking-smells emanating from the kitchen and, walking in to that room, I will find at least one baked dessert. Usually two. Or perhaps three. Plus fresh-baked bread or rolls. And Christmas and Easter? Don't get me started, you'll only become very, very hungry!

Is there any question from where I have acquired my enjoyment from being in a kitchen?

And now to a recipe. I have been working on this bread recipe all winter and have finally, almost consistently, been pleased with the results so I am going to post.

* Exported from MasterCook *

Multi-Grain Bread

Recipe By: Vicci

Servings: 28

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method

-------- ------------ --------------------------------

2 cups white whole wheat flour

4 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast

1 1/3 cups bread flour

1 cup regular oats

1/2 cup unprocessed wheat bran

1/3 cup oat bran

1/3 cup toasted wheat germ

2 tablespoons wheat gluten

2 teaspoons salt

1 3/4 cups skim milk

1/4 cup molasses -- or honey

3 tablespoons olive oil

In a large mixer bowl, combine 2 cups of white whole wheat flour and yeast. Attach the bowl and the paddle attachment.

In a separate mixing bowl, combine the bread flour through the salt and set aside.

Heat the skim milk through the olive oil to 115F-120F.

With the machine running at low speed, add the liquid ingredients to the yeast/flour mixture and continue to mix for 1 minute, scraping bowl. Turn the speed of the mixer to high and beat for 2 more minutes. Turn the speed to medium and slowly add the bread flour mixture until it is incorporated. Turn off the mixer, cover the bowl loosely with a towel, and allow to rest for 10 minutes.

Remove the towel and turn the mixer to low, adding more bread flour until a ball forms on the paddle (this may be 1/4 to 1/2 cup, depending on the humidity in the kitchen). Change to the dough hook and knead for 8 minutes, or until smooth and elastic (adding more flour if necessary). Transfer dough to a board which has been lightly dusted with flour and knead by hand for 2 minutes.

Place dough in an oiled bowl, turning to oil the top of the dough ball. Cover with plastic and raise for 1-1/2 hours. Punch down, divide into 2 equal pieces and form each into a log. Place each in a 8"x 4"x2" bread pan which has been coated with cooking spray. Cover with plastic wrap and raise for about an hour, or until dough is doubled and above the pan rim (about an hour).

Remove plastic from each loaf, spray with cooking spray, and bake in a preheated 375F oven for 26-30 minutes (you may want to place a sheet of foil loosely over the pans for the last 15 minutes or so of baking to prevent over-browning.

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Per serving: 145 Calories (kcal); 3g Total Fat; (15% calories from fat); 4g Fiber; 6g Protein; 26g Carbohydrate; trace Cholesterol; 164mg Sodium

Food Exchanges: 1/2 Grain(Starch); 0 Lean Meat; 0 Vegetable; 0 Fruit; 1/2 Fat; 0 Other Carbohydrates

Okay, I am now going to post about a total failure. I made the above bread recipe a couple of weeks ago and forgot to add salt. That’s it—only forgot the salt. And how horrible it turned out! Not being one to waste food, we struggled through the first loaf then I realized that I just had to make more. I sliced the non-salt loaf and placed in the freezer. Maybe the ducks will eat it. Or not.

Anyway, it seems as though simply forgetting to add one ingredient turned that lovely loaf pictured above into this mess:

Can you believe the difference between these loaves, and could it be just because I didn't use salt? But I went through the preparation and ingredients over and over and the only differences between the loaf of bread pictured above and that which accompanies the recipe is that I used honey and no salt in the nasty-looking (and not too much better tasting) loaf and molasses and salt in the improved version.

Go figure. I'd ask Mom but, even though we've talked for a total of over two hours during the past 3 days, I haven't remembered yet.

1 Comment:

joven said...
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