Panem et Circenses

Panem et Circenses

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Hungarian Spring Bread

Ingredients:  Candied Lemon Peel, Golden Raisins, Pecans, Sour Cream, Buttermilk, Eggs, Vanilla, Almond Extract, Butter, Bread Flour, Sugar, Salt, and Yeast.

This amazing bread is certainly a new favorite!  (It took long enough to prepare to make it)  Making the candied lemon peels was a rather interesting new expiriment, next time I know that I need to simmer the peels a few more times to seep out the bitterness completely.  These tasted okay, but I think one more boil would have done the trick.  The combination of fruit and pecans in this loaf was elegant.  I kind of cheated and put in a bit more fruit than requested and I doubled the pecans, but the loaf turned out simply divine so I am perfectly satisfied.  Once the bread is cooled you drizzle a wonderful lemon icing over the entire loaf untill it drips down the sides of the bread.  This whole loaf was done with lemons, but I wonder what it would taste like if I have used oranges or grapefruits . . .

This weekend I will be working in Zion National Park so I won't be able to bake for a day or two.  Have a wonderful Easter weekend.

Christ the Lord is risen today, Alleluia!
Earth and heaven in chorus say, Alleluia!
Raise your joys and triumphs high, Alleluia!
Sing, ye heavens, and earth reply, Alleluia!

Love's redeeming work is done, Alleluia!
Fought the fight, the battle won, Alleluia!
Death in vain forbids him rise, Alleluia!
Christ has opened paradise, Alleluia!

Lives again our glorious King, Alleluia!
Where, O death, is now thy sting? Alleluia!
Once he died our souls to save, Alleluia!
Where's thy victory, boasting grave? Alleluia!

Soar we now where Christ has led, Alleluia!
Following our exalted Head, Alleluia!
Made like him, like him we rise, Alleluia!
Ours the cross, the grave, the skies, Alleluia!

Hail the Lord of earth and heaven, Alleluia!
Praise to thee by both be given, Alleluia!
Thee we greet triumphant now, Alleluia!
Hail the Resurrection, thou, Alleluia!

King of glory, soul of bliss, Alleluia!
Everlasting life is this, Alleluia!
Thee to know, thy power to prove, Alleluia!
Thus to sing, and thus to love, Alleluia!

-Charles Wesley

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Suzanne's Easter Bread with Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients:  Dried Figs, Dried Pineapple, Dries Prunes, Half-and-Half, Eggs, Butter, Flour, Sugar, Salt, and Yeast.

I must say that this bread looked more like a cake than anything else, but is sure tasted wonderful.  As I have looked at these recipes for spring breads I have discovered that many of them have certain ingredients in common, namely: dried fruit, lemons, and cardamom.   Since I didn't use all of the dried fruits I will have a tasty snack to munch on while I am hiking this weekend.   I am not super fond of the cream cheese frosting, but I don't know what elese I would have used.  I just have never been a huge fan of cream cheese except on bagels.  I put the frosting on the bread a little too soon so it started melting down the sides.  Make sure your loaf is cool before you start making your frosting.

Tonight I am making candied lemon peels to use in tomorrow's recipe.  While making the peels I somehow managed to splash some of the hot lemony syrup on my face.  I probably will have a welt come tomorrow, but at least the candied lemons taste fantastic.

He is risen, he is risen!
Tell it out with joyful voice:
he has burst his three days' prison;
let the whole wide earth rejoice:
death is conquered, man is free,
Christ has won the victory.

Come, ye sad and fearful-hearted,
with glad smile and radiant brow!
Lent's long shadows have departed;
Jesus' woes are over now,
and the passion that he bore
sin and pain can vex no more.

Come, with high and holy hymning,
hail our Lord's triumphant day;
not one darksome cloud is dimming
yonder glorious morning ray,
breaking o'er the purple east,
symbol of our Easter feast.

He is risen, he is risen!
He hath opened heaven's gate:
we are free from sin's dark prison,
risen to a holier state;
and a brighter Easter beam
on our longing eyes shall stream.

 - Cecil Frances Alexander

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Cardamom Easter Braid

Ingredients:  Cardamom, Golden Raisins, Lemon Zest, Milk, Water, Eggs, Butter, Bread Flour, Sugar, Salt, and Yeast.

Tis the season for Easter breads!  This wonderful braided loaf is loaded with my favorite spice cardamom.  I got a little excited with the lemons and I worry that the acid may have effected the yeast a bit because it didn't rise as much as I thought it should.  but after leaving it out till it raised I finally put it in the oven to bake it.

"All creatures of our God and King
Lift up your voice and with us sing,
Alleluia! Alleluia!
Thou burning sun with golden beam,
Thou silver moon with softer gleam!

O praise Him! O praise Him!
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!
Thou rushing wind that art so strong
Ye clouds that sail in Heaven along,
O praise Him! Alleluia!
Thou rising moon, in praise rejoice,
Ye lights of evening, find a voice!

Thou flowing water, pure and clear,
Make music for thy Lord to hear,
O praise Him! Alleluia!
Thou fire so masterful and bright,
That givest man both warmth and light.

Dear mother earth, who day by day
Unfoldest blessings on our way,
O praise Him! Alleluia!
The flowers and fruits that in thee grow,
Let them His glory also show.

And all ye men of tender heart,
Forgiving others, take your part,
O sing ye! Alleluia!
Ye who long pain and sorrow bear,
Praise God and on Him cast your care!

And thou most kind and gentle Death,
Waiting to hush our latest breath,
O praise Him! Alleluia!
Thou leadest home the child of God,
And Christ our Lord the way hath trod.

Let all things their Creator bless,
And worship Him in humbleness,
O praise Him! Alleluia!
Praise, praise the Father, praise the Son,
And praise the Spirit, Three in One!"

- Francis of Assisi, 1225
Translated by William H. Draper

Spring is Finally Here

Dear readers, 

These past few weeks have been some of the most difficult of my college career.  Between being sick, student teaching, dancing, interviews, and work I was not able to blog about the breads that I have been baking.  I am pleased to announce that I have recently baked my 60th loaf of bread out of Beth's recipe book and I am now ready to attack this goal head-on so that I can complete all 300 recipes by the end of the year.

I went in to see the doctor on a couple of occasions to find out why I was so tired and run down.  I thought that quite possibly I could have had a case of mono because the symptoms were so identical.  The blood work came back and everything was negative.  So here I am, a super stressed college guy on the verge of graduation trying to come to grips with the fact that after this May I have to be a "real" adult, with a "real" job, and never again be able to blame my crazy activities on my status as a college bachelor.

I am nearly finished with my student teaching.  I currently am working on submitting a resume for a Special Educator position that had opened up in my district.

I started work in Zion National Park on Saturday as an Interpretive Park Ranger.  Just putting on my uniform, badge, and ranger hat filled my soul with happiness.  I love the atmosphere and history that surrounds the National Park Service.  I am thrilled that I have found such a wonderful job to keep this this teacher eating during the summer months.

My ballroom dance concert is in ten days, graduation is in one month, and six weeks from now I will be in Alaska.  If I can hang on until then, life will be wonderful.  Until then I will be baking away in my kitchen.  This week I will be focusing on the spring and Easter breads that are found in my recipe book.

Wishing you all the best, 

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Vienna Bread

Ingredients:  Water, Milk, Butter, Bread Flour, Sugar, Gluten, Salt, and Yeast.

The past few weeks have been more than difficult.  For those of you who are trying to follow me I apologize for my long absence.  Know that I am still baking when I can, but finding time to write has become increasingly difficult.  I have had so much on my mind recently that I completely forgot about a class the other day.  I have been dancing for 4 years, going to college for 6, and for the first time in my life I completely forgot about a dance class.  I didn't even realize my mistake until a day later when I was trying to plan out my Thursday and realized that I had forgotten my Tuesday class.  On top of everything else, my car is on its last leg.  I have been driving her since I was 16 and we have been on many wonderful road trips together.  Just me and my Pontiac named Ilsa on the open road.  A mechanic in town said that it would be $1200 to get her repaired, but since she is only worth $1200 that kind of seems out of the question.   So I am taking her home to a best friend so that he can give a second opinion on her.  I have learned over the years to never trust an unknown mechanic.  I am so very glad to have trust mechanic that I can take my girl to, even if he lives three hours away.

The bread was simple, tasty, and perfect this morning.  Sometimes a simple loaf of fresh homemade white bread is all you need to be cheered up.

Hope you have a much better weekend than me, I guess it could be worse, I could be my dad cooped up at home recuperating from a knee surgery.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Pan D'Angiol (Bread of the Angels)

Ingredients:  Almond Paste, Almond Extract, Slivered Almonds, Dried Sour Cherries, Milk, Butter, Bread Flour, Sugar, Gluten, Salt, and Yeast.
Almond is probably one of my favorite flavors.  I remember finding a bottle of it in my mother's kitchen cupboard as a kid and wanting to add a bit of it to everything from milkshakes to hot chocolate.  The combination of almond and cherries in this bread truly is as the name states . .  angelic.  I got to share this loaf of bread with my sister and her family as we watched "Music and Lyrics" with Hugh Grant and Drew Barrymore.  The almond paste was in my opinion was a little pricey so none of it went to waste.  I only need a few tablespoons for the bread so I used the rest of the can up in a batch of almond cookies that were marvelous as well.  For me this is a new favorite in my bread repertoire.

This is for all of the romantics out there:

Pane Toscana (With Green Olives)

And we are back!

Ingredients:  Water, Bread Flour, Whole Wheat Flour, Gluten, Yeast, Sugar, and Salt. (NO OLIVES!!)

This is another Country Bread made with a starter.  I decided to follow the variation suggested to add green olives to the dough.  I ended up nearly gagging and throwing the whole loaf away.  My roommates tried to say it was okay, but I got rid of it.  Next time I attempt to make Pane Toscana I will NOT be adding olives to it.  This is now strike two for me in the olive in bread department, I tried it, but it is certainly not my thing.

This week has been rather crazy. Between switching to a new placement in student teaching, camping, dancing, and cleaning I have just had just enough time to fit a little bread baking into my schedule.  Yes, yes, I know some of you have commented that I am getting behind, but trust me, we are just in February and we have another 10 months and 254 breads to go, we are not behind yet.