21 February 2007

Mr. President, may I present to you Tran the Baker

Over the holiday weekend, I decided that I would take a little time and bake some bread. Much to my dismay, my lack of experience in the bread-making world and without a knowledgeable companion to show me the ropes, my goods were far from spectacular. I suppose however, they were good enough.

First try: Whole Wheat Sesame Seed Mini-Bagels (courtesy of delicious days). What can I say about these? Well for starters, they were adorable. They weren't exactly perfect looking, but that is on account of the fact that I don't have the best kitchen equipment to make dough, and my hands/upper arms aren't nearly strong enough to mix/knead it all by hand. Some day, that Kitchenaid standing mixer will be mine!!! But, I digress. Back to the subject at hand. The dough, well, did not turn out the right consistency once I had mixed all the ingredients together. So, with my lack of experience with these sort of things, I added a little water. The result? A very, very dense bagel. I ended up with 17 little creations - five went to Ben, a dozen stayed home in a pretty little display on my counter. We ended up eating only 2 1/2, the rest went to the circular filing cabinet. I just couldn't eat them. They were just too dense. Next time (if there ever is a next time), they'll be better.

Second try: Mini-Croissants (courtesy of 100 Great Breads by Paul Hollywood). These turned out a bit better. Not the melt-in-your-mouth croissants that I was hoping for, but it is an extremely labor-intensive project that I probably wasn't ready for given my experience in the field of breads. I should have left them in the oven a bit longer, because the first batch I tasted was still a bit on the dough-y side, but the bottoms were starting to burn. I think a quick reheat in the toaster oven will get them to the perfect finish. They didn't have the golden finish I was expecting (even with the eggwash), but they definitely did turn out better than the bagels. They'll probably be great dipped in sweetened condensed milk (how my mom served it for breakfast) or perhaps as mini-sandwiches. In any case, these are definitely not being trashed.

I'm rather proud of my first (actually second, but first recorded) adventure into the land of baking bread. The experience wasn't so bad that I'd never do it again, but I'll probably try less ambitious projects next time and work my way up to these at some later point in my life.

Side note: I can't find the SD card-reader to get the pictures off my camera, so for now, just picture what these things will look like. Pictures will be up as soon as I can find it, or get my hands on a new one.

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