Sunday, January 4, 2009

Green peppers and onions (p. 292) and White Bread (p. 596)

Don't forget the contest!

Also, for those of you who are following my vegetarian and vegan tags--well, I'm not tagging everything that is vegetarian or vegan because I forget and I don't think I have any veggies reading the blog. Let me know if I'm wrong!

My goal when I see my mom is to make the foods that Josh and I don't like--but she does (anything heavy in peppers and/or onions, for example). So I made a dish that mom really likes but I think is incredibly disgusting (even the smell)--Green peppers and onions (p. 292).

The first step is to heat up the olive oil (or butter or bacon fat) in a pan. Then add 6 sliced onions. Now I don't know if you've ever sliced six onions...but it's a LOT of onions. I even chose small onions and it was a huge amount. The onions are cooked until softened.

Three sliced green bell peppers (sliced, cored, and cut) are then added.

This mixture is then cooked down....

It seemed like a really strange proportion of peppers to onions--a LOT of onions and not very many peppers. It horrified me the entire time (from cutting [and crying over] the onions and peppers) to cooking--I really really dislike both bell peppers and onions. Onions are really cheap though, so if you like them, this is totally the recipe for you. Mom thought it was really really good and happily ate the entire pot over a few days (although she later added sausage).

I also made a recipe that I really wanted my mom around for--White Bread (p. 596). My mom makes excellent bread but I have never made it from scratch. TJOC says that this recipe has been in every edition of the cookbook since the first version in 1931.

The first step is to mix milk, sugar, Crisco, butter, and salt.

This step was makes a big deal about the temperature of this mix. By the time the Crisco and butter melted it was at way too high of a temperature and I had to wait for it to cool down.

The yeast and water are then mixed. I find yeast stressful. Creepy little living things that determine the success of my did smell yeasty though. And little bubbles started to form...apparently, that is a good thing.

The milk mixture is then added to the yeast and the first three cups of flour are added...

The bread is then beaten for a minute. Mom had no idea what this meant so we just stirred it (actually, I cheated here...this is mom beating it). Obviously, it worked because it started coming away from the sides of the bowl.

And you get a little ball...

At this point more flour is added until it no longer sticks. This was a bit of a problem because the bread wasn't sticking in the first place--it really didn't want to accept all of that flour.

The bread was then put in an oiled bowl:

And covered:

Mom and I were worried about the bread because winter in Iowa is very very cold and bread likes it hot...

So it went in the warmest place in the house...

The bathroom, with the door shut. Perfect place!

And the bread grew! It probably didn't quite double but it did grow a lot.

It got punched down:

And was allowed to rise again.

The bread dough was then separated and put into two loaf pans and allowed to rise for a third time. I chose not to braid them, although braiding bread was one of my favorite activities as a child.

And into the oven...

They came out great! Although they were tiny. In fact, they were so tiny that they looked as if they had been baked in an EasyBake oven (okay, that's an exaggeration, but not by much). Nice and brown.

The final product:

I think they are beautiful! The texture of the bread was really great although it is a little "cakey"--which is undoubtedly due to all the milk and butter. The crust was crisp and tasty. I brought one of the loaves home to Josh and it didn't last a day :)

I have to say, I'm still terrified to try to make it at high altitude. I know you have to use different yeast and the bread rises much faster--but I still find it scary. Does anyone have any experience with bread baking at high altitude?

EDITED! The recipe in TJOC is incorrect and is updated in the edits. The printed recipe leaves out an extra cup of water, which would have made all of the difference. Make sure to update your copy of TJOC.

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  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Mmmm, TJOC white bread is one of my favorite bread recipes! Whenever I made it, my ex and I just ate it warm from the oven with butter and jam for dinner. :) I seem to remember having to knead it, though - could that be why yours didn't rise as much?

    (ignore that other deleted comment, it was basically the same thing, missing a few words :P)

  3. I'm at 4500 feet, and make dough with normal dry yeast. The trick is taking it slow, and not adding too much flour--let the gluten really develop. At any altitude, if you mix in too much flour, or don't knead enough, you get problems. Making bread by *weight* of flour is a more accurate method, as it takes into account the humidity of the flour on its own.

  4. geez, I just made this recipe out of the 2006 Joy of Cooking and yes-that missing cup of water would have made all the difference! I was wondering why the dough was rock-hard. It's just doing its first rise right now and I'm a bit annoyed that the recipe was transcribed improperly (I have my mum's edition, printed in the 1980s here and the recipe is slightly different but there is indeed that extra cup of water.) I definitely should have added that extra water but I'm not sure if there is a way to save it at this point so I'll just make one fatty delicious loaf.

    Great idea for a blog here!


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