Archive for September, 2012

Whole Wheat Loaves

This was a good project! I love making bread and this is the first time that I felt I did it right! Here are some things I have to note about this TWD baking project:

* Malt is a difficult ingredient to track down! I checked various places in the store where I might find malt – not sure of what state of matter I would find it in – and still came up short. In my grocery store, I could not find it in the a) baking aisle; b) health food section; c) international foods; or d) refrigerated dairy products (you never know).

* I learned that malt can be a solid or a liquid. Since I found neither, I cannot validate this information. (I got this from a google search.)

* The data base in stores is questionable. When asking if they stocked malt, my hope surged when I went to the information desk and found a staffer playing with the computer. Well, was I surprised when I found that the data base isn’t used for finding what’s in stock at all. You must have a bar code number to look a product up. This seems a bit of a hole in customer service. . .

* I learned that the staffer, a very young and very pretty girl-woman, did not know what malt was when asked. Okay.  When I mentioned malted milks, it still didn’t register. I next mentioned beer making and there was a connection. I finally told her I was using it to bake bread. She asked if I had checked the baking aisle and I indicated that I checked this section 3 times  as well as the other sections (see above). She confirmed my original conclusion – “If you couldn’t find it, we don’t have it.”  Okay.  As I was leaving, she stopped me and asked, “So, if someone else comes up to me and asks for malt, I can assure them that we don’t have it?” (hmmmm) I assured her that this was the case.

* Using the TWD Comments was very helpful as the first thing I read was that a substitute for malt – molasses. It was their first thing I read and immediately signed off and ripped that jar of molasses out of the frig and began to bake (well, I did wait for it to get to room temp. . .) What I learned here was to stop agonizing about ingredients that are ‘hard to find.’ Check out the comments – someone will have the solution!

* I learned that my very expensive mixer can knead bread quite well. Still, when I felt a little warmth on the machine, I pulled the dough out and began to knead. Ten minutes was a good long time for my arthritic fingers.

* I learned that I can make good bread! Yea for meeeeeeee!!!!!!!! I did it!!!!!  And it works as toast and a base for melted cheddar cheese!

* I learned that I liked watching Julia/Julie the movie while I thought about my baking project. Even though, there was no baking in the movie.

Whole Wheat Loaves dough ready for the fold.

Whole Wheat Loaves Cooling Down

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Nectarine Upside Down Cake

My nectarine upside down cake (NUDC) was fun to make. I really felt in control and moved along quite nicely. I was well organized and timed everything well. I was happy with the process.

BUT

When I finally turned my NUDC over, the results wasn’t pretty. First, I was not so happy with the color. Looks like a blackened NUDC! I pulled it out of the oven when the toothpick came clean – so I was disappointed in how unattractive it looked. I sear it could have been a Halloween cake (which is a thought for next month).

Lake Nectarine forms in the center

Then I watched the center sink and a pool of butter and nectarine juice pooled in the center. I blotted it, but that didn’t help and I watched Lake Nectarine form. This really got me upset since I was already disappointed in the color, now I have to contend with erosion. I quickly cut a piece of the cake to form Nectarine Falls. This helped. And a slice actually looked better, with the exception of that awful color of the topping.  I did serve it.  And the cake and struesel turned out fabulous.  I loved the lemon flavor, the lightness of the cake and the crunch of the filling. So, I scraped off the top which was soggy beyond belief, and ate the cakey part. At least for a few slices! While I really don’t like upside down cakes, I was glad that I tried this one!

Looking somewhat better, slice by slice.