I know without question I cannot bake and cook at the same time. Disaster awaits. Or at the very least, serious unhappiness. There must be either a baking morning and a cooking afternoon or some variation thereof. This doesn’t mean I won’t stir up a pan of cornbread while my beans finish cooking at 5:30 or that I’d refuse to bake cookies if the slow cooker was on. No, no, no–not at all. But it does mean I shouldn’t be chopping and adding ingredients to a soup and think I can also whip up a loaf or two of quick bread in the the short minutes between soup chores. Because if I do, the bread will be missing its cinnamon, for instance, or in this case, its very necessary salt. And I might serve the soup without making sure all of its ingredients were just as tender as they should be. Which I did — and sent it to ill neighbors like that. (I hope the carrots weren’t crunchy. God, Alyce.)
I might love brunch more than any meal...perhaps I like the laid-back time involved or the old-school approach. There’s barely a noted beginning –sitting around drinking coffee as the food is put out — and there needn’t be any end. (Movie with the coffee and brandy??) It’s almost always a group. Nearly certainly a special occasion. More fun at home than at some swanky, pay-through-the-nose, eat-til-you-drop place, I think. Even the dogs are at ease.
Travel creates opportunities for brief blogs, my friends. So here are the pics/recipe for the Czech Easter bread, which was huge, crusty, and tender with a bit of a lemon feel. Studded with golden and black raisins, as well as apricots (my additions-no citron to be found), it was only a tish sweet. Fine with Easter dinner. Also lovely for any holiday at all. Sorry it didn’t get posted until AFTER Easter, but here it is in its glory.
Czech Easter Bread
Makes 1 large loaf Czech Easter Cake or Velikonoční Bochánek
1/3 cup chopped citron (I subbed 2t grated Meyer lemon rind and 1/3 c chopped dried apricots)
1 large room-temperature egg, beaten
2 tablespoons blanched sliced almonds
Confectioners’ sugar (optional)
Add butter, sugar and salt to scalded milk. Stir to combine and let cool to lukewarm.
Place yeast and warm water in the bowl of a stand mixer and, with the paddle attachment, stir until dissolved. Add lukewarm milk mixture and 2 eggs and combine.
Add 3 cups flour and beat with the paddle until smooth. Add the raisins, almonds, citron, and remaining flour and mix, 3 to 5 minutes until smooth. Dough will be sticky.
Place dough in greased bowl. Turn over and cover with plastic wrap and let rise until double, about 1 hour. See this Quick Tip for faster rising.
Punch down dough and turn out onto lightly floured board. Knead a few minutes and shape into a large round loaf. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet, cover with greased plastic wrap and let rise until doubled.
Use bread flour
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Brush bread with 1 beaten egg. Cut a cross in top of loaf with scissors and sprinkle entire surface with almonds. Bake 15 minutes, reduce heat to 375 degrees and bake 30-45 minutes or until instant-read temperature registers 190 degrees. Let cool completely before slicing. Dust with confectioners’ sugar before cutting, if desired.
Recipe courtesy About.com
Two-Dog or Two-Cardinal Kitchen
Ok, we’re out of the kitchen. For now.
How long are you going to bake bread, Mom?
My kissin’ Cardinals feeding one another outside the kitchen window.