So it’s been a while. I changed schools this past semester and my new dorm’s kitchen was on the basement level with my room on the third floor. My tendency to forget things while running back and forth to the kitchen highly hindered my ability to bake. As in, I didn’t bake for the entire semester. I made fudge once. But that just required the stove top that was in the lounge and the fridge in my room.
Now I’m back at home! This means i have access to the Kitchen Aid and a large stove and wide spice collection and lots of space and everything at my fingertips. Oh how I love being home. I’ve already made my chocolate cupcakes and was just itching to make something else. My mom is having a friend over for wine later so something not quite so bready sounded like a good idea. I looked through my recipes (I think I have 500 something bookmarked) and was between two Smitten Kitchen citrus choices; Deb’s keylime meltaways and her lemon bars. Obviously, if you’ve read the title, I chose the lemon bars.
I don’t know what was up with the lemons today but I could not get any juice out of them. I went through 5 lemons and still only had about 2/3 cup of juice. I tried microwaving them and everything. I have no idea what happened. Oh well the bars are delicious.
One word – YUM. It might just have been that way because my friend and I completed making these at 4:30 in the afternoon but still. Very delicious. I would really recommend making these with two people because it does make it go a lot faster.
I’m about 4 slices into my second loaf of what is called Sally Lunn bread. The recipe is, again, from Smitten Kitchen (as most of them will be until I bake/cook my way through her site). This is a fairly simple, no-knead bread that has a sweet flavor and dense texture.
Loaf #1: I made the first loaf for my first Wednesday (deadline) night as Assistant Photo Editor for the Ithacan, our newspaper. Some problems arose as this was my very first loaf of bread… ever. I had allotted 15 minutes to put the ingredients together. I think, at my best in a dorm room, I could maybe make it 20 but that’s not going to happen while I do not have my own kitchen. And then I went to let the bread rise, but I stuck the plastic wrap to the bread instead of on the top of the mixing bowl. Oops, that was a giant sticky mess. My rising time (3 hours) for that loaf is just way off. I am using instant yeast in all my breads so I doubled the amount as per comment 299 on the recipe. The dough for this bread is EXTREMELY sticky. Absurdly so. My flimsy scraper just could not do the job of getting the dough to the baking pan relatively easily… so that goes on the shopping list. The oven in the kitchen here seems to run a bit hot so I put the loaf in for 28 minutes and it had a very thick crust and the thermometer came out perfectly clean reading 190-200˚. I took it in to the office after it had barely cooled so by the time we ate pizza it was all good. It got devoured so quickly that I had to make a second loaf today.
Loaf #2: My only severe mistake was pouring cold milk onto the hot, melted butter. It makes the butter get all hard and weird very quickly and is not easy to incorporate in that state. I do not heat them together as the recipe states because I am using instant yeast which does not need to be proofed. I put the plastic wrap in the right place this time!! But I’m thinking that even with doubling the yeast, at least in my room, 1 hour is not enough rising time. It is hard to do the 2 finger indent test with such a sticky dough. So next time I’m going to give it 2 hours of rise and then see if that helps make the final product taller and fill out the pan more. My bread pan is slightly larger than the one that Deb uses but my bread is really short and it kinda sags so, time to try something new! Also, the running hot oven never ceases to fail me on baking times. I tried 27 minutes today and it still worked fine but I am having a bit of trouble with the crust. My breads have a really hard crust that doesn’t jive with the interior texture at all. So for next time, I’m going to try putting the oven at 350˚ and checking it at 28 minutes again.