Wednesday, November 12, 2008

I've been tagged! & French Bread

Kelly of The Pink Apron tagged me to share 7 random facts about myself. Being tagged just totally made my day. The rules are that you have to provide the link of the person who tagged you, and you have to tag 7 others to do the same. Anyways, on with the facts!
  • I am 13 years old, and I am in 8th grade *shock*
  • After I wash my face, I put lotion on. Then I always wash my hands.
  • I have a phobia of vomiting and also of flies.
  • Persimmon is my favorite fruit.
  • I currently don't play any instrument but I'm planning on learning guitar.
  • I don't know what I want to be when "I grow up".
  • I have had over 30 goldfish/salt water fish.

I tag...

Now, on with the bread! I made this bread because I always bring lunch and I needed some bread fo my sandwich. I had always bought french bread from Albertsons but I decided that if Albertsons could make it, why couldn't I? I tried this bread 2 times and the first time, I divided the dough in half but the second time, I made 4 baguettes. This not only helped the bread get baked more evenly, but it also made a better size for sandwiches. I kneaded this bread using my kitchenaid dough hook. Because I used my KA, it was very very easy. And very fun (because it was easy). It was also very delicious.

I measured them out to each be about 13.5 ounces

about 8x10 inches.
before rise
After! And I also did the slashes!

French Bread; makes 4 skinny loaves or 2 huge loaves

2 1/2 cups
warm water
2 tablespoons
1 tablespoon
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
6 cups
2 tablespoons
dry yeast
cornmeal (for dusting baking sheet)
egg, beaten lightly i ended up not even using 1/4 of it, and had to throw it away.

Pour warm water into a large, warm mixing bowl. Stir in sugar, salt, oil, 3 cups of flour, and yeast. Beat vigorously for 2-3 minutes. Stir in remaining flour until all dry ingredients are incorporated, leaving spoon right in batter. Allow dough to rest 10 minutes; then stir down.
Allow dough to rest another 10 minutes and stir down again. Repeat this process until dough has been stirred down 5 times. urn dough onto floured surface. Knead only enough to coat the dough with flour so it can be handled. Divide dough into 4 parts. Roll each half into a rectangle approximately 8x10 inches, and roll up like a jelly roll starting from the long side.
Pinch ends to seal. Arrange on a large baking sheet that has been dusted with cornmeal, leaving enough room for both loaves. Cover lightly and let rise at room temperature for 30 minutes.
With a very sharp knife, cut 3 diagonal slashes on top of each loaf. Brush each loaf with beaten egg. Bake immediately at 400°F for 20-30 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from baking sheet and cool on wire racks.

My thoughts:
This bread was so yummy. Compared to the other breads that I have made, this did not really taste of flour, which was good. I liked it fresh out of the oven, but eating it the next day was also equally as yummy. I reccommend this bread for beginners in bread making. I also liked this bread because you don't need a bread machine. But I would do something to make the crust harder. I splashed some water during the end but I think I did it wrong. Next time, I'll pay more attention to the directions of how to splash water in the oven. But beware, splashing water is kind of scary. The sizzling sound made my heart jump.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Amy Sedaris' vanilla cupcakes

I have an issue with vanilla cupcakes. I once made Magnolia vanilla cupcakes but they were so grainy and oily and they tasted like sugar cookies! Nothing like the Betty Crocker French Vanilla Cupcakes I'm used to. At first, I thought I was doing something wrong. Because on for one of the vanilla cupcake reviews (I think it was Billy's) a person complained that it tasted like a sugar cookie, but on How to eat a cupcake, she told the person for Billy Reece's vanilla cupcakes that it was supposed to taste like a sugar cookie. So I figured what the heck, I'm the weird one.
I know that the storebought mixes are full of shortening and but I have an issue with shortening. I once made cream puffs and it had shortening in it. The result was a good cream puff but the smell of all that oil in the kitchen was so unbearable that it gave me an upset stomach and a headache for the night. Plus, shortening is not that good for your body. I mention this because I found another recipe at Recipezaar and those cupcakes had shortening in it. I really wanted to try it because everybody raved about good they were but I resisted.
Anyways, I wanted a good and simple cupcake recipe and I really wanted to try Billy's, but I didn't have cake flour, and on Recipezaar Amy Sedaris' vanilla cupcakes got higher ratings than Billy's vanilla cupcakes. Plus, I wasn't sure if it was 1 tablespoon or 2 tablespoons of baking powder so I just went along with Amy Sedaris' cupcakes. They tasted like sugar cookies but as I was eating them without frosting, I told myself that they were supposed to taste like this and just swallowed half of it. The next morning, they smelled so good! Very sugary smell. Anyways, I also made Sprinkles vanilla frosting and it had a funny texture. I was creaming the butter and sugar together and then adding the powdered sugar, but it got very stiff so I wasn't sure if I was supposed to beat for an extra 5 minutes, so I just beat for 2 minutes and the result was a very powdered sugary taste. Can powdered sugar go old? I'm sure mine was only a few months old.. Maybe I didn't blend it enough. But in the end, the cupcake and frosting complimented each other nicely and it was good.

3/4 cup unsalted butter
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/4 cups milk

1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
2. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Add in the eggs, two teaspoons vanilla, salt and baking powder. Add flour and milk in batches, starting and ending with flour. Stir until batter is smooth and satiny.
3. Fill paper-lined muffin tins with batter. Bake at 375° for 18- 20 minutes.
4. For frosting, whip together the box of confectioners' sugar, half-and-half, and one teaspoon vanilla until smooth and fluffy.
5. Allow cupcakes to cool about 45 minutes and frost.

2 cups butter, softened
7 cups confectioners' sugar
2 teaspoons milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt

1. In a bowl combine butter, sugar and salt. Beat till blended.
2. Add the milk and vanilla and beat for an additional 3 to 5 minutes or until smooth and creamy.