Monday, December 1, 2014

breadmaking with Leila

I've long wished that Leila would be more forthcoming with her knowledge of bread-making.  And then my moment arrived on Friday - she shared a recipe for a cinnamon raisin bread, along with her own method. Saturday, I got to work.

The dough is a rich one, with plenty of butter, egg and milk. She advises dividing each into three sections in order to braid them. Each part gets more butter on it, with sugar, cinnamon and raisins. Then you roll it up and make the braid. For some reason I rolled up the first one the short way, and ended up with three parts that looked like spring rolls. What to do?  I laid them side by side in the bread pan where they looked very cute.

With the other loaf I got it right, except they weren't long enough for a really nice braid - but that was okay - it looked well enough. Two loaves, plus I put a small amount of dough in the fridge for some rolls.

How well they turned out!  Leila seems to go almost entirely by instinct when making bread. She also uses a mixer - a KitchenAid, of course. Other brands don't have the stamina for it. Doing it with a mixer always seemed like cheating to me; I wanted to do it by hand, and I have done it several times. But because I wanted to learn something from her and follow her instructions, I used my KitchenAid, which is a four and a half quart (she has a fiver).

Now I understand why she does it this way. The machine does ALL the kneading - the ingredients go in, the mixer is turning, you make sure it's all combined. Then you let it sit for twenty minutes. Come back, give it another turn in the machine and sweetly put it into the greased bowl to rise. No elbow grease required. It had to rise twice, with a gently punch-down (really a push-down) in between. Into the bread pans, heat the moderate oven for only ten minutes and in they go.  One's almost gone, the other's in the freezer.

And the rolls? I made them last night. And since I'd never made yeast rolls, I poked around. And this on Anna's blog was what I found - bury a chocolate filling inside of each, like a holiday treasure, and let me tell you - those are gone, too.

And it's just the beginning.

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