Panem et Circenses

Panem et Circenses

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.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Orange Poppyseed Bread with Orange Syrup

Ingredients:  Poppy Seeds, Orange Zest, Fresh Orange Juice, Milk, Eggs, Vegetable Oil,  Sugar, Flour, Baking Powder, and Salt.

I learned two new words today:  Macerate: Soften or break up by soaking in a liquid. Meld: To combine.  In order to make this stunning bread I had to macerate the poppyseeds and milk together so that the flavors could meld before making the dough.  After the bread was finished baking I poked holes into the loaf and then poured the delicious orange syrup over the entire loaf and allowed it to soak in and absorb into the bread before serving.  This bread is the new favorite of two of my most dedicated bread fans.

And speaking of these two fans . . .

Last night my roommate took his girlfriend on a romantic journey of memories and special moments around town.  Their adventure led them to the Providence Lighthouse that we have here in town. (If you are confused as to why we have a lighthouse here in the middle of the southwest desert, don't worry, we are too)  As they climbed the stairs to the top of the tower a mass mob of friends and I assembled beneath the lighthouse and began to light lanterns (much like the ones in Tangled) and send them up into the night sky.  As dozens of these soft glowing lanterns filled the heavens over Cedar, he got down on his knee and asked her to marry him. . . .  She said yes.

"All those days chasing down a daydream
All those years living in a blur
All that time never truly seeing
Things, the way they were
Now she's here shining in the starlight
Now she's here, suddenly I know
If she's here it's crystal clear
I'm where I'm meant to go
And at last I see the light
And it's like the fog is lifted
And at last I see the light
And it's like the sky is new
And it's warm and real and bright
And the world has somehow shifted
All at once, everything is different
Now that I see you, now that I see you"

- Tangled

I served the Orange Poppyseed Bread with Orange Syrup at the after-party at my place.

Good times. Good times.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Cardamom Tea Bread

Ingredients:  Cardamom, Vegetable Oil, Egg, Buttermilk, Vanilla, Sour Cream, Sugar, Flour, Baking Powder, Baking Soda, and Salt.

This loaf is the first bread that I have made without yeast and it has a wonderful moist texture very similar to the consistency of banana bread. The only tea that I had in the cupboard at the time was a peppermint tea and for some reason I didn't think that would go well with cardamom, so we ate this loaf by itself.  No one must have cared because it disappeared within the hour. I enjoyed this loaf so much that I am making another bread without yeast today. 

Last night my Ballroom Dance Company hosted a Valentine Gala in the Great Hall of the Hunter Conference Center.  Everyone has nicknamed it the Harry Potter room due to the suits of armor, soaring rafters, and banners that hang from the walls; too bad the portraits do not talk.  There are not many occasions to get all dressed up for an fancy event here in the country so I very much enjoyed being able to polish up and enjoy a night of grace and elegance.  Somehow when you are wearing a tuxedo with tails and a new pair of cuff-links you stand straighter and speak more elequent. 

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Poppy Seed Egg Bread

Ingredients:  Poppy Seeds, Milk, Butter, Eggs, Bread Flour, Salt, Gluten, Sugar, and Yeast.

I have discovered that I love to go shopping for new ingredients to fill my cupboards.  Last night I spent some time at the store looking at the various spices available. Many of these spices have never tickled my taste buds and I am very excited to continue my collection of these fabulous flavors over the next few months. Saffron continues to intrigue me.  I have no idea what it tastes like, but considering that it costs a couple hundred dollars per ounce I am very excited to one day bake my Saffron Challah.  After spending some time reading through my recipe book and pawing through spices at the store I came up with a genius idea to just grow these ingredients myself.  I have now bought several packages of seeds to begin growing various herbs in my own house.  My herbs include: dill, parsley, lemon balm, spearmint, lavender, and rosemary.  I am going to have to look and see if I can find saffron seeds somewhere.

I have not had a chance to taste my Poppy Seed Bread yet, but it looks amazing.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Pecan Raisin Bread

Ingredients:  Pecans, Raisins, Water, Butter, Bread Flour, Dark Rye Flour, Brown Sugar, Gluten, Salt, and Yeast.

I wasn't home much this weekend so I attempted to make this loaf on the delay cycle even though Beth told me not to, and sure enough the top of the bread came out funny looking and deformed.  But the bread itself tasted great so everything is okay.  I thought the bread was a little dry, so I recommend lathering it up with some jam or marmalade.

I had a simply wonderful weekend.  I got to visit some of my ol' ballroom buddies and spend time with a few of my closest and best friends.  It has been a whirl-wind weekend, but I am now back home in Cedar writing lesson plans and baking bread.

The house is rather quiet.  My roommates are out and I am sitting here with a knot in my stomach listening to the news about Josh Powell blowing up his house with himself and his two little boys inside.  This case has been bizarre from the day that Susan Powell went missing back in 2009 while Josh took their two little boys camping late at night in the freezing cold weather.  Many of us have pointed fingers at Josh since the disappearance of Susan and now he has murdered both of his innocent little boys as well.  My prayers go out to Susan's family tonight.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Buttermilk Cheese Bread

Ingredients:  Buttermilk, Swiss Cheese, Water, Bread Flour, Sugar, Baking Powder, Salt, and Yeast.

This bread was wonderfully soft with a subtle Swiss cheese flavor.  Years ago when I was in elementary school I did a report on Switzerland.  As part of my presentation I brought wedges of Swiss cheese and squares of chocolate to share with my classmates. To this day the flavor of Swiss cheese conjures up memories of my days in school.

I finished teaching my students the Virginia Reel and they enjoyed it so much they asked to stay in from their recess break the next day to dance it again.  Many of my boys are still at the stage where they would rather dance with each other than with a girl, and when they do dance with a young lady they practically will do anything not to actually touch them, but since they are willing to participate I figure I won't be too hard on them. 

We had a snow day today and all of the kids brought sleds and snowboards to slide down the hill behind the school.  We had hot chocolate and spent a wonderful afternoon outside.  I think I shocked the students when I grabbed a sled and started sliding down the hill myself, and when I went off the jump they had built I think everyone of them thought I had lost my mind.  I wonder what they tell their parents at the end of the day.