I had planned to head up to MA again for the long New Years weekend but decided last minute that I really needed some solid bonding time with my apartment. As a result, this weekend was a complete bonus to me, and I took advantage of the time to do some of the things I haven’t had time to do for months and months and months, like bake bread!
I have this recipe for Irish brown bread that I love, but I haven’t had a chance to make any in over a year! Friday morning, I set about remedying that sad fact:
Every time I make this bread, it is a little bit different. The recipe calls for four cups of flour, but I like to mix it up with whatever random grains I have around. This time, my fourish cups included: 1 cup whole wheat flour, 1 cup whole kamut flour, 1/2 cup toasted wheat germ, 1/2 cup cornmeal, 1/4 cup ground flax seed, 1/2 cup old-fashioned oats, and 1/3 cup caraway (rye) seeds:
All mixed together:
The rest of the recipe calls for 2 tbsp molasses, 1 tsp baking soda, 1/2 tsp salt, 2 tbsp butter, 1 cup fat free plain yogurt, and as much milk as is necessary (usually something less than 1/2 cup) to get the dough to just barely hold together. I knead the dough a couple of times on a floured cutting board, shape it into a loaf, cut a few crosses in the top, and place it on a parchment-lined (yes, I reuse my parchment paper!) cookie sheet:
The bread bakes for about 40 minutes at 400 degrees, until a tester comes out clean:
I love this bread because it is super thick and hearty with a crunchy outer crust and a dense and heavy inside. Because it is such a dense bread, I like to pre-mark where the slices should be so I don’t accidently eat four whole cups of whole grains in one sitting!
An excellent topper for the bread has been homemade pistachio butter that I whipped up with this new appliance from my mom:
A real, live nut grinder!!! I’ve burnt out so many food processors and coffee bean grinders in my quest for homemade nut butter, so let’s hope this new guy is man enough to accept the challenges that await!
On Sunday, I went with Gina to see the Who Shot Rock & Roll exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum of Art. When we finished, we had to walk for 40 minutes in the bitterly cold snowy wind back to my apartment, so I decided that — at very long last — I should make use of the molten chocolate lava cake batter that has been patiently waiting in my freezer since this event in March!
I greased some ramekins and cut a hole in the corner of the batter bag. What oozed out was less than photogenic …
But it did its job!
With my modem on the fritz, I couldn’t look up the recipe to refresh my memory on how to bake these little guys, so I stuck them in a 375 oven for about 25 minutes. (Side note: Just to clarify, this is the leftover chocolate lava cake batter made by the chef of River Cafe, the fanciest restaurant in Brooklyn and, quite possibly, once of the fanciest in all of New York City!)
When the top of the batter seemed to have solidified into some sort of cake, I removed the tray of olfactory heaven from the oven:
I turned the lava cakes onto small plates and dusted them with cinnamon …
… and crossed my fingers for the big reveal.
Gina bravely broke the surface of her cake with a spoon.
… and NO LAVA!!!!
Grrrrr, those last five minutes in the oven must have turned the whole thing solid. Or else, I had the temp too high. Either way, who’s going to complain about a mound of rich, fudgy brilliance??
Theatrics aside, we all demolished our cakes in mere minutes amidst moans of pleasure.
I’m so glad I saved this batter from the trash nine months ago!! Let’s hear it for freezers!
What is your greatest freezer success story?