Post #422 A Storm’s A-Comin’

October 2, 2015 at 11:35 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

There’s an episode of The Golden Girls (look it up if you don’t know the show) where Sophia is running around preparing for a hurricane.  She says “There’s a hurricane a-comin’!”  Her daughter, Dorothy, mocks her phrasing, to which Sophia replies, “That’s how you say it any time there’s a disaster waiting to happen.  It’s a-comin’.”  Right now, we’re patiently waiting through a nor’easter.  It’s a specific kind of storm that starts in the south and west and head north and east.  For some reason, this particular form of storm is usually stronger and more destructive than other forms.  It’s cold, and wet, and it hangs on for longer than normal storms.  This one started two days ago and should be over by late tomorrow.  In the meantime, cold and wet is the name of the game.  Of course, right on the heels of this storm is The Hurricane.  Right now, it looks like it won’t make landfall in the States at all, but there is a cone of damage that will have an impact for us.  Lots of wind, more rain, a light rise in temps, and flooding along the shores of both the ocean and the bay.  Tides will be higher, and on the ocean side, they need to prepare for the storm surge, the push of water along the edges of the storm.

For us, it really just means some high winds, lots of rain, and cold temps.  Forces everyone to stay inside, except the dogs occasionally, and indoor pursuits.  We might lose power; ours has flickered twice this morning and once yesterday.  In view of that, I decided to make some bread this morning and I made one of my new favorites.  It’s from America’s Test Kitchen, ATK,  and is called English Muffin Bread.  It’s so easy I can’t imagine any reason not to have it on hand all the time.  This recipe makes two loaves.  We usually eat one immediately and leave the other in the fridge until we’re ready for it.

  • 5 cups flour (it calls for bread flour, but I’ve made it successfully with AP)
  • 4 1/2 tsp instant yeast
  • 1 Tbsp  sugar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3 cups hot milk (or water as I’ll discuss in a moment) 120 degrees
  • 2 Tbsp corn meal
  • baking spray

In a large bowl, whisk the dry ingredients together.  Make a well in the center and pour in the hot milk or water.  Note: I don’t keep milk on hand since no one in the house likes it for anything so I put in buttermilk powder in the proper quantity and whisked it with the dry ingredients.  Then I used hot water rather than milk.  It didn’t hurt the bread at all.  Interestingly enough, the hot water out of my tap is exactly 120 degrees.  I measured it with a quick read thermometer.

Stir everything to combine.  On the show, they stirred by hand using a rubber spatula.  I used the dough hooks on my electric hand mixer.  You could also use a stand mixer.  Just don’t over combine.  You want everything mixed together, but you don’t want to knead it.  Place it in a warm draft free area and let rise for 30 minutes.  You’ll be surprised at how fast and how high it will rise.  My Trick:  I put a small plastic bowl of water in my microwave and heated it for 1 minute.  I took the bowl of water out and put the bread dough in.  The microwave was warm enough to allow the dough to rise while keeping all drafts and breezes off.

When thirty minutes have passed, stir down the dough gently with a rubber spatula.  Prepare two loaf pans by spraying liberally with baking spray then coating the bottom and sides with corn meal.  This will allow the bread to release from the pan easier and give the bread that crunchy exterior.  Divide dough equally into the two pans.  Allow the bread to rise in the pans for thirty minutes.  See My Trick above, the microwave will still be warm enough for this step.

When thirty minutes have passed, heat oven to 375 and bake for 35 minutes.  Remove from pans and allow to cool.  This makes the best toast in the world!  But it also makes great sandwiches.  It also can be used to make crostini or bruschetta.

Later, I’m going to make an Orange Sherbet cake cuz Partner/Spouse wants one.  Yesterday, I made chocolate chip cookies, but we haven’t had them in so long, they’re nearly gone.  I might make more tonight.

But for more comfort food on a drizzly day in Delmarva, tonight I’m grilling two ribeye steaks and making a Caesar Salad for dinner.  On a cold drizzly day, it’s all about warmth and comfort foods.  I wonder if mac and cheese would be good with the salad?  Wish I had some mushrooms.

Enjoy

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