Friday, September 23, 2011

Bread and Angel Food Cake

This week has been rainy and pretty chilly. I've had a fire in the wood stove nearly every day. What a great week to do a little baking!

My winter goal is to make GOOD artisan bread. Here's my first loaf from the "left in the refrigerator to ferment" method.

It looks good, but it was small and dense. It tasted just okay. I made a second loaf the next day and it was pretty similar in texture. I used some of the dough to make a pizza the other night and that was good. On to my next try with a new method. I bought some white bread flour and I'm going to start with Mark Bittman's method as described in the NY Times. Here is another article with pictures using the same method from Steamy Kitchen.

Oh yeah, I accidentally forgot and washed my baking stone with soap and water. You're never supposed to use soap on those because it soaks into the pores. Maybe that's why the bread tasted just okay with a little bit of metallic flavor...

A friend of mine signed up for a painting class this weekend and now can't go, so I'm going in her place! It's at the Miner's Dry building in Ely. Here's a close-up of the crappie painting I did last spring.

I was on the books to teach a class at the college next week but it was cancelled, so I'm going to Duluth on Monday for a sewing workshop! Lots of new, fun things. I'll take some photos and show you in my next post.

Steve brought home four dozen eggs last weekend on his travels through Amish country. Four dozen! So I took one dozen and made an angel food cake.

Here's the best recipe for angel food cake!

Angel Food Cake from Cooks Illustrated Magazine

12 large eggs
1 cup cake flour (I used all purpose and it was fine)
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp cream of tartar
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract (I didn't use because to me the almond taste is too strong)

Separate the egg white from the yolks (save the yolks to make creme brulee!). Whisk together the flour and 3/4 cup of the sugar in a small bowl. Set the other 3/4 cup sugar next to the mixer.

Blend the egg whites in your mixer until they are broken up. Add the cream of tartar and salt and mix on medium speed until they form soft, white peaks. Tablespoon by tablespoon begin adding the sugar until it is all mixed in (keeping the mixer on medium). Now you should have shiny peaks. Add the lemon juice and vanilla (and almond if you're using) and beat just until incorporated.

Add the flour/sugar mixture to the dough using a big spoon about 1/4 cup at a time and gently mix into the fluffy white eggs.

Spoon the mixture into a non-greased angel food cake pan, smooth out the top, and then tap the pan a few times on the counter to release any large air bubbles. Bake at 325 degrees for about 60 minutes or until the top turns a lovely brown.

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