Archive | July, 2012

Proof I Proofed!

27 Jul

For only my second attempt at making hamburger buns, I think these turned out pretty well.  I compiled this recipe based on about 3 different bread making websites, so I’m not sure who to credit!

Ingredients:
1/2 c. warm water (not so hot that it will burn you, but warm to the touch)
1/2 t. sugar
1/4 oz. pkg active, dry yeast
1/2 c. warm milk (see above comments on the meaning of the word warm)
2 T. butter, melted and cooled
2 1/2 c. bread flour
1 t. salt
1 egg white, lightly beaten

First, proof the yeast by adding it to a bowl of warm sugar water and stirring with a fork until the yeast is no longer in little balls.  The yeast will turn goopy – but be careful not to over mix!

Let it hang out until it gets foamy – this means that you’ve got activated yeast.  I didn’t do this step the first time around and my bread never rose.

Once the yeast is activated, put it in your mixing bowl with the water and sugar and let it stand, covered in plastic wrap, for another 3-5 minutes or until the yeast has dissolved.

While you are waiting, melt and then cool your butter:

Then, stir in the butter, milk and 1 cup of the flour until just combined:

Add the salt and stir again.  Then, add the remaining flour, 1/4 c. at at time until a soft, sticky dough forms.

DO NOT OVER FLOUR – less is definitely more with breads; too much flour will dry your bread out in a heartbeat.

At this point, I scraped down the bowl and the paddle attachment with a spatula.  Then, I switched to my dough hook (because why knead dough by hand if you have a KitchenAid!

I beat the dough for about 5 minutes, until the dough looked smooth and felt elastic.  This dough is pretty sticky even when its done, so don’t over-beat it.

While it was mixing, I greased a bowl with some butter.

Then, I put the dough in the bowl, covered it in plastic wrap and a towel and let it double.  This can take 30 minutes or several hours, depending on your elevation and the temperature.  Mine took about 50 minutes.

After its doubled, gently push down and deflate it.  Turn it out on a floured surface and divide it into 6 balls.

I put mine on a parchment lined baking sheet.

I covered the sheet in a towel and let them sit for 5 minutes to relax the gluten.  Then, I pressed them to flatten them, thinking that they would make larger buns.

In retrospect, I think this step is the only one I will change next time and see if it changes anything.  Once the buns were baked off, they were almost like a flat bread, instead of a bun with a round top. 

Whether you decide to flatten yours or not, the buns do need to rise on the pan for 40 minutes – 1 hour.  They should double in size.

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

You know when your bread is ready to go into the oven when the dough holds a slight indentation when you push on it gently.

Give the buns a good egg wash and add any toppings (caramelized onion, sea salt, rosemary, etc.).  Then, bake until the tops of the buns are golden brown and the bottom sounds hollow when tapped.  Mine took about 30 minutes.

These were YUMMY!  I wish I hadn’t flattened them, but it was really just an aesthetic preference.  I used these for turkey burgers with the MIL and I will definitely be making them again soon.

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Checking in!

26 Jul

Moving fast, but going no where.  That feels like the status quo these days.

I am happy to report that I’ve finished the coursework for the last graduate class that I need to finish before I can graduate.  The only thing looming in my way is my graduate research project, which I’ve yet to start wholeheartedly.

AND we got to babysit the lovebug the other day –

It was pretty much the highlight of my weekend!

In other news, however, I am waiting for some dough to proof so that I can make hamburger buns for dinner with the MIL tonight.  This will be my second attempt at buns – but I’m using a different recipe this time.

The first time was such a morbid failure that I didn’t even take a picture.  For some reason I forgot about Breadmaking Rule 1:  Active your yeast, dummy.  So I basically made dense, doughy rolls – which I binged on for 2 days and finally dumped before my pants started to get tight!

I’ll be doing a full recap tomorrow if all goes well, so keep your fingers crossed.

Wordless Wednesday

25 Jul

Wordless Wednesday

18 Jul

Home Grown

16 Jul

Visiting my parents over the weekend got me thinkin’….

Its weird how I grew up as such an “indoor person,” if you know what I mean by that.  I was never a tomboy, didn’t play sports, didn’t particularly like being out in nature (bugs, dirt, wildlife, etc. etc. etc.).  My parents, however, love to be outside.  They spend hours enjoying their yard, their garden, their patio – don’t really have to be doing anything in particular.

Gardening and landscaping is one of several activities that bring my parents immediately to mind.  Its one of the things they spend so much time doing, and doing together.

Last summer, my parents didn’t grow their garden.  My mom was adjusting to a full time job and numerous kids activities.  How did we go a whole summer without fresh veggies from the garden????  I certainly don’t have a green thumb – I can’t even keep herbs alive.

Last night, I baked chicken with some of the banana peppers my parents had planted, at my sister’s insistence.  Delish.  In fact, I’ll be making some of their zucchini tonight for dinner!

Enjoying my parents garden and the vegetables we are still eating from that garden makes me wish I had tried a little harder to grow veggies this summer.  I don’t regret joining a CSA, but next summer I will make it a priority to grow the veggie we love the most: zucchini!  Unfortunately, I didn’t get a picture of their humongoid zucchini plants…oops!

Why shouldn’t I be able to enjoy my yard as much as my parents enjoy theirs?  Its just a matter of making the space irresistible!

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