Monday, November 15, 2010


I went on a baking binge over the weekend. I think there are two main reasons I did that.

1) Our oven goes away at our next trip to Chengdu, so I won't be able to bake anymore and wanted to fill the freezer. Our freezer is most definitely quite full. Full enough that I had to take out the failed mozzarella cheese stuff (drained to make something ricotta like) and Josh used it to make gnocchi for dinner last night with a mushroom cream sauce. Delicious.

2) I have been really stressed with preparing for teaching recently and baking stuff is something I can do with my hands (like knitting... I've been doing a lot of that too) and not be feeling guilty for not doing work. Plus, I think about work (or talk on the phone or listen to podcasts) when I'm baking.

So, here is what I've made, including some pictures.

1) Delicious whole wheat bread. 2 loaves. Actually, this was about a week ago. No pictures. It finished our whole wheat flour.

2) Banana bread. 2 loaves. No pictures. We shared 1 loaf with the visiting Chengdu families who were here last weekend. This was a Friday afternoon activity.

3) Cinnamon bread. 4 loaves. The recipe was awesome, except I think it may call for a bit too much yeast. The first two loaves rose in the oven (my standard because it is so cold here) and over rose a bit. The second two I rose in the living room and then accidentally had the top and bottom burners on in the oven for about 10 minutes. That seemed to keep the top from over rising. This was a Friday activity. Josh made French Toast out of some for breakfast Saturday. Yummy!

4) Cheese-herb bread, 2 loaves. This was a Saturday activity. This recipe was pretty good, but I dumped in a lot more herbs and cheese than it called for. Yum! I also accidentally put in too much yeast. I was on the phone with a friend in the US and wasn't thinking properly. I think there was an extra tablespoon. Anyway, I ended up with my usual falling bread problem. I'm not sure why other than the extra yeast. Or maybe it rose too long. The small oven also seems to do funny things and I wish that I had remembered the trick with the top burner for a little while. Still, the bread tastes yummy.

5) Sourdough pancakes. 3 batches. This was a Saturday morning treat for the families visiting from Chengdu. The adults wanted real coffee and the kids didn't like Tibetan breakfast. So we made pancakes.

6) English muffins. 1 batch. We used a recipe that has a really liquidy batter (like cake batter) but uses sour dough. You need a really liquidy batter so that you can get lots of nooks and crannies. As you can see from the picture next to this text, there are lots of nooks and crannies in our English Muffins. Success! So I started the sour dough sponge Saturday (first had to make the starter big enough, then make the english muffin sponge) after the pancakes and Josh finished off the English Muffins last night. We had them toasted for breakfast this morning! Delicious and a lovely change from oatmeal. Some of you may know that English Muffins require rings. We have tried English Muffins 3 times with 3 different options for rings. the first time we used cut up soda cans. Massive fail. Then we tried tuna cans, but getting the bottom of Chinese tuna cans was a disaster. Fail. Then Josh figured out that he could get 2 rings out of each condensed milk can. Success! Speaking of condensed milk, I may make macaroons tonight because we have a ton of shredded coconut, and although it is good just to eat, it is much better in macaroons and the option to make those will be gone soon enough.

7) 2 hut-style coffee-rich vegan chocolate cakes with non-vegan peanut butter frosting. The fact that the cakes are vegan is just incidental. This recipe rocks. I had promised to make Josh peanut butter cookies but we were just about out of butter, so that wasn't an option. Instead I made this chocolate cake and Josh requested pb frosting. We had enough butter left to do that.

Although I am still very busy with other stuff, I think that I will probably make macaroons tonight. Yum! Macaroons are easy and delicious. Or maybe another Macaroon Chocolate Pie because we have so darn much baking chocolate left. I made a good dent in the cocoa powder with the cakes, but we have a lot of bakers chocolate.

amanda :)

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