Posts Tagged ‘food’

Now that it is November (complete with glorious lake effect snow/rain/snain in Rochester), I’m thinking about the holidays, and, most pertinently, the associated foodstuffs. Today I’m making my mom’s cinnamon swirl bread, which I think started as a special Christmas treat but has expanded to fill the surrounding months which are cold and generally in need to cheer.

It’s a pretty great yeast bread recipe, and has some sugar in it so it’s pretty hard to mess up. Also, each slice has a swirl of cinnamon-sugar through it (hence, you know, the name), so it looks super fancy without being too technically difficult.

Here is the recipe, straight from mom:

Orange Cinnamon Swirl Bread

6 cups bread or all-purpose flour, approximately
2 packages dry yeast
1/3 cup nonfat dry milk
½ cup granulated sugar
1 ½ teaspoons of salt
1 ¼ cups of hot water
½ stick butter, room temperature, or softened in the microwave
1 tablespoon grated orange peel
¾ cup orange juice
1 egg, room temperature

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon mixed with ½ cup sugar
2 teaspoons of water

Measure 2 cups flour into a large mixing or mixer bowl and add the dry ingredients. Pour in the hot water and stir vigorously to blend into a thin batter. Add the butter, orange peel, orange juice, and egg.

Add flour ¼ cup at a time, stirring with strong strokes after each addition until the dough becomes a rough shaggy mass that can be turned out onto a floured work surface.

Knead for 8 minutes. Add a bit more flour if the moisture works through the surface and sticks to the work counter.

Place the dough in a greased bowl, turning the dough to be certain it is filmed on all sides. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and put aside until the dough has doubled in bulk (approximately 1 hour).

Punch down the dough. Turn onto a floured surface, and divide in two. Cover with wax paper and let rest 10 minutes ( I don’t do this! )

Roll each piece into a 15” by 7” rectangle. Each will be about ½” thick. Spread each piece with the cinnamon sugar mixture, and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of water. Smooth with a spatula. Roll from the narrow side. Seal the edges securely by pinching tightly and along the seams. Tuck in the ends and place seam down in the pans.

Cover the pans with wax paper and let stand until the dough has doubled in bulk, about 45 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375˚ 20 minutes before baking.

Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 325˚, and bake for 30 minutes more, or until the loaves are nicely browned, and test done when tapped on the bottom with a forefinger. The sound will be hard and hollow. (I actually cover the loaves with a large piece of aluminum foil to keep the from burning on top after the first 10 minutes, and remove it during the last ten minutes). Remove from pans and cool.


Blue Bike and Rain

A couple of firsts today: the first real, rainy test of my fenders reveals that they do indeed keep the water off of you, as advertised.  They do not, however, appear to magically ward off flats, resulting in my first flat as a Bicycle Commuter.  The aforementioned tire event occurred in the middle of the fucking woods, but at least now I live in a place with public transportation, unlike that time in Indiana with the big rusty nail.

Things worked out okay in the end.  I made home in no time, thanks to the apathy of the West Hyattsville Metro station employees who, mercifully, didn’t say anything as I slunk through the turnstiles a full hour into the evening rush hour bike-free block.  City Bikes, where I went to get a tube and fix my flat (having forgotten my pump at home), was playing an all-The Mountain Goats playlist, and to my immense delight I discovered that there is a Safeway right across the street.

There I purchased the makings of mac ‘n cheese, which I am now eating (yes,right now) accompanied by delicious, delicious Dogfish Head Chicory Stout, which cost fully four dollars less than I anticipated at D’vines. So, all in all, not a bad end to the day.

I think that now, dear reader, you may have some idea of how thoroughly domestic my life has become. I apologize for once again dropping off the face of the blogo-earth, but I suspect that there is a limit to how many times one can be entertained by descriptions of someone else’s bikes, food, and beer du jour. Alas for you, these (along with Important People In My Life and some Big Things that I’m not quite ready to blather on about in so public a forum) are the things that occupy me lately, so that’s what you’re going to get, at least until I man up and talk about science or grad school or stuff.


(Link to photo, by The Gelman Library on flickr)