Another day, another bake.
Or like another week. Or another several weeks. When did I bake last? I honestly don’t remember.
Tonight I decided to tackle a bread.
I mean not literally.
That would be a bizarre visit to the bakery section of my local grocery store.
I may not be allowed back to my local grocery store if I tackled a bread.
Also what if we referred to bread as “a bread” when we are talking singular? We say “a sheep” when we say “I tackled a sheep,” don’t we?
But I digress.
This recipe seemed doable on a weekday evening (total rising time is two hours), and it’s rolls so it won’t take as long to bake.
(Unlike the pumpkin loaf I recently attempted. I was going to make pumpkin cranberry muffins with the cup of extra pumpkin I had in the fridge, but then I looked at my muffin tin and realized that previous scraping of stubborn Yorkshire puddings had left scratch marks through the nonstick that had become rusty, so I decided to do a loaf instead but I only had 45 minutes before I had to leave to be somewhere, so I had to pull it out of the oven 3/4 of the way done, leave it unfinished and later toss it. Wasteful. I recently bought a new muffin tin and no new pumpkin.)
I went to the grocery store after work to pick up spelt.
Question: What is spelt?
Because I have no idea what it is.
Other than a British-and-fancy-sounding past tense of “spell.”
But I don’t know how that can be a flour.
I came home and combined the three different flours.
I underestimated the size of bowl I would need. No way I can also combine wet ingredients in that and mix it together.
Also I’m not following the recipe exactly. It calls for medium rye flour but I only have dark rye flour and I didn’t want to buy yet another flour.
I’m already trying to phase out the cake flour because I bought it and it was no better than all-purpose.
With the flours (put into a new bowl) and yeast put on one side and salt put on the other, I made a well (and splashed (can you splash a powdery substance?) flour at myself) and added the honey, oil, poppy seeds and lemon zest.
Also I have so many poppy seeds.
It was a case of I once thought I needed to buy them when I already had bought some and now I have two bags of poppy seeds and how often does one use poppy seeds? I don’t want to get into trouble with random drug test (even though I’ve never been randomly tested for drugs) and have them (who’s them?) find opiates in my system.
I digress again.
As instructed, I started combining the ingredients with my hands. I thought that was weird because there was an out-of-balance ratio of dry ingredients to wet, and then I read a little further and found that I was to slowly add in the lukewarm water.
So I did.
With one hand as I mixed with the other.
And then I combined everything in the bowl and had to transfer it to an oiled surface. Which meant that I had to wash my hands of sticky dough, wipe down said surface, and dirty it up again with a bunch of olive oil.
Then I kneaded.
I’ve been having pain in my hands lately and wasn’t sure if it was a good idea, but I did it anyway because there was way too much flour to put into the KitchenAid, or so I thought.
I realized later I probably could have.
But you live and you learn and you strengthen your hands through kneading.
Also I want to note that the smell was, what’s the word, pungent. Aromatic? Earthy. I don’t know if it was the spelt or the lemon mixing with the rye or the rye mixing with the honey, but it had a distinct smell.
I was to knead for 10 to 15 minutes or until the dough was smooth, stretchy and didn’t get holes in it when you stretched it.
I kneaded for 10 minutes until it was smooth and stretchy. Some holes happened when I stretched it, but I figured that may be due to the dark rye flour instead of the medium rye flour. (I’m totally making that up. I probably didn’t knead it long enough.)
So I popped it in an oiled bowl and popped a lid on that and popped it in the [turned off] oven and now I’m eating chips and salsa and cheese and watching The Good Place.
*one hour later*
I read the label on the spelt flour.
“A Grain from Antiquity – Spelt is a non-hybrid primitive relative of our present day wheat that dates back more than 9,000 years. Spelt has a unique nutty flavour and because of its high water solubility, its vital nutrients are quickly absorbed into the body.”
The nutty flavour is probably the odd smell I could detect. And as far as I can tell, this means spelt bread is super healthy? I mean granted, it’s on the package for the product, so of course it’s going to brag about being ancient and healthy. Also it’s a well-known organic brand, so they’ll for sure use words like “non-hybrid” and “primitive relative.”
Makes me think spelt is the Neanderthal of the flour world.
*immediately jots down a children’s book idea*
The hour passed and I punched down the very risen dough and then cut it into 20 pieces before realizing that no, it did not say to make 20 rolls. It said 12. I read the number “20” somewhere else in the recipe when it referenced time (or maybe weight?). So I piled all 20 pieces onto a plate on the scale and divided that by 12 and then got rolling.
It’s hard to roll bread dough into seamless balls.
Because if there are seams, they’ll show up when the dough expands, but I couldn’t do it perfectly seamless.
I tried, folks. I really did.
So I ended up with these:
Rolled in semolina. I think. My container wasn’t labelled but I don’t know what else it could be.
They kind of look like massive snickerdoodles.
I tucked them into a giant plastic bag and set the timer to rise for 50 minutes.
Actually I set the timer for 40 minutes so I would remember to turn on the oven “near the end of the rising time.”
*40 to 50 minutes later*
Confession, Mary and Paul wanted me to make my own butter. I did not want to make my own butter. So I did not make my own butter.
If ever one day I do want to make my own butter, I know where to find the recipe.
But as you can probably tell, I’m putting a little less effort into each and every bake than when I started. I still want to do them all (even though that means having to whip fish into a sponge cake roulade eventually), but I’m choosing how much energy goes into them now.
I’m reading several books right now on setting boundaries (an excellent life hack) and one way is to say “no” more often. So I say no to you, Mary and Paul.
(I mean, I have butter that I will obviously put on a fresh-out-of-the-oven roll, but I’m not making it myself.)
After the dough rose the second time, I sliced a cross in each roll (and dragged the dough)…
…and popped them into the oven.
*25 minutes later*
The butter that I didn’t make will definitely go well with these:
UPDATE: The butter is going great with this.
I was going to maybe share. Nope.
(Another opportunity to say “no.”)
Turns out that I really enjoy rye and spelt.