Tuesday, January 13, 2009

desperate housewife

Happy New Year to you all. The last two weeks have flown by. Did you feel that, too, or am I the only one whose wish is for a few more hours in the day? Mind you, those extra hours wouldn't be spent doing ANY thing in particular... they'd be used for picking up the things that have fallen off my radar. Like reading. I hardly ever read any more. I was, up until last year, a very voracious reader. Now? Not so much.

I did spend this morning reading through my bread cookbooks, as I'm on the hunt for the perfect pain de mie recipe. Pain de mie translates literally to "bread of the mie"; like so many other words, the English language has no single-word equivalent for the fabulous word that is mie, which could be explained as the soft part, or interior of the loaf. Pain de mie is my children's favorite bread, and they've never turned down a toasted slice with a heavy slathering of butter or jam. I, on the other hand, have been disappointed in the density of my home made breads, and once I've given a recipe a few tries to sway me, I go in search for another.


The open book there is Breads from the La Brea Bakery. I adore the textbook-like qualities of this cookbook, but I've owned it for nearly 10 years and have never, ever, ever in my long legged life made anything from it. Every recipe, with the exception of the pain de mie, uses a sourdough starter. Every so often, I grab the book off the shelf and flip through it in excitement, only to remember that no, I don't have that well-fed, takes-at-least-two-weeks-to-grow starter sitting in my refrigerator yet. I suppose after I buy some red grapes -- yes, red grapes, not yeast -- I could try it this weekend...

The other two options for pain de mie on the table are the recipes from Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook and The Bread Bible. (The Bread Bible is one I should either covet greedily or sell shamelessly... I can't believe the list price is nearly $200 on amazon.com!) I've made the recipe in Martha's book with relative success. Again, I felt the bread was just too dense: no squishy white bread here! The pain de mie from The Bread Bible is actually called "Homestyle White Bread with Poppy Seeds" and it's been so long since I made it, I can't remember whether it was a stand-out recipe or not. As I type that, it's obvious that The Bread Bible recipe wins today.

Something that is always baking is cookies. My December issue of Real Simple has had a workout lately. I made the Raspberry Pinwheels last week. They weren't nearly as beautiful as the magazine's example... my jam had squished out of a couple of the batches during rolling, and ended up oozing out during baking as well. As a result, the jam that had seeped under the cookie cooked quickly, and gave a few cookies and extra crusty burnt flavor. Bleh. Those that made it through baking unscathed were tasty, but didn't get eaten up quickly and turned quite mushy.

This week I made the Glazed Lemon Cookies and you might know by now that I have a penchant for lemony sweets. These are delicious. So, so delicious. And when you are hankering for Lemony Snickets but do not have ricotta cheese taking up residence in your fridge, whip up the Glazed Lemon Cookies. They'll satisfy. And I'm sure they'll be eaten before they've a chance to mush.

16 comments:

Hilary said...

I unfortunately have no bread advice for you as I have never attempted to bake it myself...I can't wait to see what you end up doing, though. I also had no idea the word "mie" existed -- what a fabulous word!! Do the French also have a term for the yummy soft stuff at the top of a brand new container of ice cream?

kerstin said...

I made the glazed lemon cookies for the Christmas cookie swap and they were a hit. I still have a couple dozen sitting in my freezer, too. Hopefully, the kids won't find them. :)

Sandy said...

My last few weeks have been a whirlwind too!
And I am such a sucker for lemony anything. Which reminds me of some orange shortbread I forgot to make this year....although not lemon, still good. I think I've just gotten distracted again.

Good Luck on your bread search too!

Sarah Jackson said...

I checked out the La Brea Bakery book from the library and when I saw that I'd have to feed a sourdough starter, I put it down. Although I'd like to try. Maybe I will...

I made those cookies and they were delicious.

Walden said...

I agree with you, this year is already moving a little too quickly. On the baking issue, I have no suggestion . . . lets just say that is an area where I was not given ANY natural talent.

Jodi said...

I enjoy baking bread, and I'm happiest when I stick to easy recipes like the no-knead recipe from the NYT a couple years ago, or Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day.

chelsea said...

so much baked goodness here. i miss reading, too. i spent the past 4 years reading at least a book per week for school, and now it takes months to finish anything...

Philigry said...

oh, yum!

t does wool said...

those lemon cookies look divine...I will make those!

a friend to knit with said...

i am SO making those lemon cookies. the snickets are already gone!

amanda said...

I think I may just need some of those lemon cookies right now!

At Home Mommy Knits said...

Those look delicious! My kids love anything lemon so off to bake :).

Annie said...

My cookie baking lately has gotten out of hand. It wouldn't be such a problem if I could keep my hand out of the cookie jar!
Those lemon cookies look delish but unfortunately I would be the only one in my family eating them. I better stay away.
Have fun reading and baking!

Paper Girl Productions said...

Those cookies look soo tempting!

ali said...

Mmmm, I've never met a lemony cookie that I didn't like, and with our standing temps at -22 F, I need some more baking to do today!

Happy knitting!

Natalie said...

How good would those be with a cuppa' Starbucks! I swear I have a one track mind....