Friday, October 31, 2014

Baked Goods of Doom

I'm a holiday nerd. In years past I've decorated and decorated and decorated every house we've lived in. Every room, every holiday, every year. But I've limited myself to one new decoration per year for several years now. It's good for the
budget but let's be frank, I don't need any more decorations. Anytime I saw a cute new Halloween thing this year, I decided I would quench my holiday shopping bug by buying it for the neighborhood BOO. Do you BOO? Here's some instructions on how to do it. The cool thing to me about this is you don't need a committee, you don't need the homeowner's association, you really don't even need to like your neighbors all that much! BOOing is much like giving and volunteering in any form - it gives joy to the giver. I hope you'll try it out and come back and tell me what you did - all the details! 

My just-graduated-from-college-and-has-her-first-job aged daughter and I did the BOOing this year. I found some cool Halloween-themed burlap little bags at T. J. Maxx and filled them with some candy and other fun Halloween-themed items like pumpkin-shaped soap dispensers, glow-in-the-dark bracelets, and Halloween cocktail naptkins. And I bought some carving-sized pumpkins. The pumpkins made it
kind of hard to be discreet when delivering the goods to a doorstep, so we decided to I would drive the get-away mom van and she would drop the goods, ring the doorbell and run. And when I say we decided this, I definitely mean I decided this. She wanted to drive. You see, BOOing is supposed to be anonymous. And the problem the with the process is that you will laugh so hard while dropping, ringing the bell, running, and driving away, that you can easily get caught! We didn't but wow, did we laugh! We had to take breaks in between houses to catch our breath! So funny!!!

Willie and I went to a cooking class recently and he's been baking bread every since. The bread is gorgeous and so good and he's been trying out different shapes with this dough which makes baking times different. You will have to play around with this recipe's baking times but that is the fun of bread-baking, right? Remember to use your nose. You'll smell the bread when it's done. The baking inspired my Halloween decoration purchase of the year. I bought a GROSS of vampire teeth. One gross is a dozen dozen in case you don't know. That's 144. Why? I knew the bread had soul. I knew it would do well with a face. And Amazon had a gross of these fangs for the same price as 6 in the store. So there you have it.

I've added faces to things I've baked and I've added faces to baked goods from the store. I've even added faces to lunch and dinner with no baked goods at all. I suggest you try it as well. It's so fun. ~Sandra

P.S. The eyes are made of sugar from Wilton's and are affixed with a little dab of peanut butter.

Stand Mixer French Bread
by Willie
adapted from Sur La Table's Cooking Class called Bread Baking 101

1 1/2 cups Bob's Red Mill Organic Unbleached White Flour
3/4 cup water
a pinch or yeast

2 1/2 cups Bob's Red Mill Organic Unbleached White Flour
1 teaspoon instant yeast
2 teaspoons kosher salt
the poolish
3/4 cup water

Combine the ingredients, cover, and set aside for 12-24 hours.

Add all ingredients together and mix with a paddle attachment for 3 minutes in a stand mixer. Switch to a dough hook and knead for 4 minutes.

Add teeth and eyes to anything, 
even store-bought goods.
Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl and let it rise for 2 hours. You can turn the dough at the one hour mark if you like (if the dough is wet or doesn't seem to be rising well).

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees.

Divide the dough in 3 pieces and shape into logs. Let it rest for 20 minutes and then shape into baguettes. Put the baguettes on a baguette pan or other cooking sheet and let proof until puffy (30-40 minutes).

Before putting the loaves into the oven, diagonally slash the loaves. Sprinkle the loaves with a little water and place in the oven. Reduce the temperature to 475. Bake for 18 to 24 minutes when they are a deep, golden brown. Cook on a rack before eating.

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