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Category Archives: cooking

Normally, I make sourdough bread because Chuck 2.0 is doing quite well.  I haven’t posted about my normal sourdough sandwich loaf, because I’m still changing things around.  It’ll probably be a post in the near future.

But recently, I made an oatmeal sandwich bread instead because I had used the majority of Chuck to make biscuits and English muffins and then didn’t leave enough time to feed him again before I would need him for bread.  And I was out of bread.  And I no longer have a habit of buying bread.  What do?  See what you have in the pantry and make that type of bread instead.  In this case, oatmeal.

I used King Arthur Flour’s recipe for oatmeal bread and in terms of taste and smell, it went quite well.  Bread tastes great.  I like the extra nuttiness oatmeal gives and it holds up well against my ridiculous sandwiches (the main reason why I need bread).  Bread also smells very good.  Maybe…a little too buttery smelling…but overall, I love the smell of baking and fresh baked bread.

HOWEVER.  This was my first time using whole-grain bread improver.  I used it because it’s something I’ve been wanting to try in my sourdough loaf, since Chuck is a whole grain starter, but I hadn’t had the chance.  Since I was making another whole grain bread here, I figured I’d just try it out here.  Um…it works.  Really well.

In case you’re wondering, the whole-grain bread improver adds a bit more gluten into the dough so the dough can hold it’s structure better during proofing.  It’s not necessary, but it helps keep the bread lighter and less dense.  The whole grains get in the way of the gluten network forming as well as it does in a white bread, which is part of the reason why whole grain breads sometimes are very dense.

Anyway, I tried it out and then did my usual for same day proof and bake.  Um…I didn’t account for the fact that I had used the bread improver.  And I also didn’t account for how hot it was in my kitchen.  And so…I ended up with monster bread.  It was totally over proofed.  Oops.  Will have to try again.

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It’s another bakealong!  This one is from February and I actually did try it out in February.  I never posted because I didn’t get a good picture while I was making the éclairs back then.  I figured I’d make them again and just get a good shot then buuuut…I haven’t made éclairs since then.  Just haven’t felt like making éclairs.  So you get a terrible picture.

Anyway, this is maybe my fourth time working with choux pastry?  I think?  I’ve made éclairs and cream puffs before in the past.  And I think I’ve used a different recipe for choux pastry each time.  Some have been easier to work with, some have been more difficult.  One of them was just plain strange.  I would tell you to avoid that one but I don’t remember which one it is anymore.  The KAF recipe seems just fine and easy to work with.

This time I piped them with a star tip.  I forgot which size, but it wasn’t a huge one.  I think the first time I made éclairs I was doing it with the jr high girls and we just used ziploc bags with a corner cut off to make the éclair shape.  And then we piped pudding in, as I had no intention of making pastry cream and éclairs with jr highers in one night, using a ziploc with a bit of a straw taped to the corner of the bag.

Anyway, I piped the éclairs and filled them with chocolate pastry cream.  I didn’t slice and fill fill but instead used a smaller tip to poke a hole into the tops (one at each end in case there was a partition that didn’t clear in the middle) of the éclairs and fill that way.  Then I tipped the top into the glaze and tada! It’s like I never made a hole in the éclair at all!

Um, I didn’t really bother making the éclairs look that nice.  You’ll see that a lot of them are all wonky.  I baked them kind of late at night.  But they tasted good.  Of course, I am a huge fan of chocolate, so I might think anything heavy on the chocolate tastes good.  I made them for my last couple of weeks at clic (and they went really fast, so I think they really did taste good).  So yes…I’m free from clic!  On to client D (henceforth known as clid)!

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This really is a bad picture.

Obtw, one of the guys at clic came up to me afterward and asked me how I managed to bake the éclairs with the filling inside and also, how I even got the filling inside.  It…was a weird conversation.