Thursday, January 24, 2008

Unleashing my Inner Housewife

I have an article due and I'm stuck in an ice-filled rut. This piece is supposed to have a Spring theme, but it's minus 13C today and I'm having a hard time feeling the green when I'm shoveling three feet of car boogers deposited at the end of my driveway. So I do what I usually do when I'm facing a deadline and I have cognitive impaction.

I bake. And don't listen to those health gurus who tell you carbs are bad. Most of them live in California where it's sunny all time. If you live in a northern climate, carbs are your friend this time of year.

Here is a recipe for a bread to beat all breads. The original came from my sister-in-law, but I embellished it for its own good. It's so scrumpdelumptious, you will want to rip off warm pieces with your bare hands, then slather it with butter, letting it run down your arms and off your elbows until you fall carbatose on to your kitchen floor. It's the Carbobomb. And your friends will be so impressed by your culinary prowess, you will be idolized in perpetuity.

But here's the thing. And we have to keep this between you and me.

It's ridiculously easy to make.

If you can braid hair, you can make this bread. Just don't tell your friends, because then they won't be impressed anymore, and you'll have to do something else, like the splits, and we all know how that can end.

It helps to have a bread machine, because then you just throw all the ingredients in the machine and press DOH! But if you don't, you can mix it by hand as you would a traditional bread recipe (but then it isn't easy any more, which is the whole point.)

I have two bread machines. For one of them, you put the liquid ingredients in first, and for the other, the reverse. Just adjust the recipe to suit your machine.

Best Egg Bread on the Planet

1 cup lukewarm water or milk
2 large eggs
3 tbsp. sugar
3 tbsp. softened butter
1 1/4 tsp. salt
3 2/3 cups flour
1 rounded tsp yeast (I use bread machine yeast)
sesame seeds (optional)

Throw it all in the machine in the order given, as per your machine (EXCEPT FOR THE SESAME SEEDS!) and use the Dough Cycle. Go read magazines while the machine toils. At the end of the dough cycle, plop the dough on to a lightly floured surface. Form into a rough brick shape, and cut into three pieces. Squish and pull each piece into a long log, approximately 14-18 inches long. (If you want two, smaller loaves, you can cut the "brick" in two, and divide each of those into three pieces, and make logs about 12 inches long, give or take.) Braid the dough like you would your daughter's hair, minus the fidgeting.

Lift the braided loaf and heave it onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment (if you're doing two, leave room for the loaves to rise.) Wet your hands and pat along the top of the bread, and sprinkle with sesame seeds, if you wish. Then lightly spray the loaf with PAM, and loosely place plastic wrap on top. Put the pan in a COLD oven (I use the light to warm it) for 30 minutes or so to rise. Remove the pan from the oven, REMOVE THE PLASTIC WRAP (I know this sounds obvious, but there was an incident with my husband that ended with the words "you didn't TELL me to take off the plastic wrap") and preheat oven to 350F. Bake for 30 minutes. Accept new status as The Goddess of Bread.

I'd post a photo, but my camera is broken.

Didn't I just mention that in a previous post? Why yes, I did mention that my camera is broken. And that my birthday is coming up soon.

Tea Bag I can't post one of this amazing bread. If I DO get a camera, I'll insert a photo. I think blogs are SO much more interesting with photos, don't you?

I'm just saying.


Lottery Girl said...

OMGawd! You are so stinkin' funny! You can dawdle instead of meeting a deadline anytime you please. I also adored the kitten video and the Tom Cruise video. He's so easy to dislike, isn't he? Why couldn't he have gone instead of Heath Ledger?

Bring your buns to Colorado for warmth. We are at a balmy 38 degrees F, with Chinook winds a blastin'.

Love ya!

Anonymous said...

Yup; needs needs a photo, but still great. I do the same thing. When my husband finds me baking, he says, "What are you stressing about??" Thanks for the recipe~

Anonymous said...

Hey, thanks for the recipe again. Leah's been bugging me to make this bread but I couldn't remember all the little details. Now my hips and bum can get even bigger!

A Novel Woman said...

Hey Stephers!

I'm packing up my buns for Colorado, sweet cakes. It went down to minus 20C last night. I'm so outta here.

Love ya back!

A Novel Woman said...

Hey Half-Past,

Say what now? I need a photo, you say? Why in order to do that, I'd need A NEW CAMERA and did I mention my BIRTHDAY is coming up next month and I NEED A NEW CAMERA?

Popped into your blog and loved the naked video. (Now if that doesn't increase traffic, nothing will.)

Good luck with the bread! Let me know how it turns out.

A Novel Woman said...

Yutha, haul out that flour and get baking.

And I make pizza dough all the time in my Cuisinart. Oh dingiddy doo, it's good. Also, fast and easy, my two requirements for any recipe.

Anonymous said...

Dear N.W.,

--Most of them live in California where it's sunny all time.--

Oh, bite me. There is a lake in my (Los Angeles) backyard right now, it snowed in Malibu last night (and a tiny bit stuck for a while), there was a tornado near Los Angeles Airport. There is More To Come. However, I WILL concede on the temps-- it's cold for us, about 50F (or about 11C) and people have pulled out parkas and scarves. With the wind chill, it's about 10C *s*

Now, the bread sounds yummy-- any advice for those of us without bread machines? I want to make it. I don't want to have to buy a bread machine (new or used) to do so.

And, my dear, it would be EVER so much mo' bettah to have a PICTURE to SEE to encourage the would-be bakers, you know, a NICE SLR DIGITAL CAMERA that takes crystal clear pics to better express yourself. You're a writer-- you need a CAMERA to FURTHER express your talents! And my gosh, with a BIRTHDAY coming up, what BETTER TIME than for someone... say a dentist or something... to SURPRISE YOU with a CAMERA.

I'd better stop. I wouldn't want to put any IDEAS into any one dentist's head....


ORION said...

The last time I made bread I was in the middle of the Pacific ocean caught in a high! I kid you not.
Much Aloha from ORION

A Novel Woman said...

Dear L.K./Anon,

Oh, boo hoo. It's RAINING. Let me refer you back to the snow shots on the blog. Then add more snow. Then knock the temperature down to minus 16C. Then try explaining to my cats why it's like that when they look at me as though it's my fault.

Yes, you can make the bread the old fashioned way. If you have a Kitchenaid Mixmaster (and I seem to recall you do, a red one, no?) then you can use that to mix the dough.

First, heat the water (which I use) or milk so that it's lukewarm, or warm to the touch, but not hot or you'll murder the yeast. Add sugar to the warm water, then the yeast, and let it sit for about five minutes. It should foam and ferment nicely.

Meanwhile, mix the dry ingredients, cut in the butter, add lightly beaten eggs, and then the yeast/water mixture. If using the mixmaster, set on dough cycle and knead for 10 minutes. If doing by hand, knead it for same amount of time but try not to sweat on it.

Then place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, and set aside in a warm, draught free place for about an hour, maybe two. It should double in size.

Punch down and continue as the recipe dictates.

I wish I could send you a photo, but as you know, I DON'T HAVE A CAMERA. So no photos.

C'est dommage.

Jennifer Hendren said...


I gave it a shot. (g) But unfortunately, I think my bread machine is on the fritz -- it didn't rise much, which during previous breadmaking experiences I blamed on old yeast. I bought new this time, and it still didn't rise. LOVELY.

At any rate, it still tasted great. Thanks for the recipe...making note of the non-machine directions for next time. *big sigh* :)


Lottery Girl said...

Hey L.K., Jennifer, and Novel Woman,

You can make the bread with the old mixer using the regular beaters. Put in all the ingredients, except with the flour, only put in half the amount, about 1-11/2 cups. Then mix on medium for 2 minutes. Then you can add in the rest of the flour and you don't need to knead it anymore. Sometimes if you use the other beaters, all that bread "climbs" right up them and inside the mixer itself where you'll be cleaning it out for eternity. You'll think you have it all, then some more rises up out of the crevices like a "B" horror movie.

You can also use the food processor if you want. I use it to make pizza dough quickly.

Jennifer, I always proof the yeast with a thermometer. Do what Pam says--place warm liquid and sugar in cup. Then add the yeast when you hit the proper temp. READ your particular package's instructions as to the proper temperature (Usually 105-110F for proofing, higher, 120F, if you are not going to proof.) You should have a head of foam just like a beer in 5 minutes. If you don't, something's wrong, and I'd start over with this part.

When you put the bread in the greased bowl, I swirl it around and then flip it over so that the greased side is up. This greased surface allows the bread to rise. Otherwise, sometimes it gets a dry crust on it that seems to inhibit rising. I then let the bread sit in a deliciously warm place like the top of the stove while the oven is preheating--should feel toasty to your skin, but never burning.

One last thing--when you put the bread in the bowl to rise, right before you put the towel on, you're supposed to say "Nighty night." Don't forget that.

A Novel Woman said...


Sometimes the dough rises up so high, it pushes the lid up and sometimes it only goes halfway up the pan. I think the temperature has something to do with it, and the age of the yeast, and how cold the eggs are, how warm the water, etc. Even though you don't have to, I warm the water so the eggs warm up a bit too. That seems to help the yeast along. Or I leave it in the machine a bit longer, or I leave the second rising in the cold oven a bit longer.

It doesn't really matter, as it usually tastes pretty good.

A Novel Woman said...


Good advice, all. You know, I was going to put the temp in, as I always use a candy thermometer and test to see if the water is between 105-115, but I couldn't find a recipe anywhere to confirm that was the correct temp so I left it off. So thank you for confirming that.

I didn't know about the Nighty-Night. I shake my fist at it and dare it not to rise to the occasion. We all have different parenting techniques, I guess.

A Novel Woman said...


Thanks for stopping by. Love your blog and love your novel.

I actually have your blog on my desktop and stop by often, particularly when we have a snowy, cold, blowy Montreal winter's day.

Hey everyone! Go buy Patricia Wood's book LOTTERY. It's getting some major, and well-deserved, buzz.

Janet McConnaughey said...

If you don't have an oven, will the recipe work unbraided in the machine?

Or would I need to make a smaller amount so it doesn't expand overtop?

My verification word is "vawflubc." Take off the C and it sounds like a mild expletive. Leave the C and remove the B, and it gets nasty.

A Novel Woman said...

Oh Janet, you are treading on dangerous ground. You'd have to half the recipe and even then I couldn't guarantee you wouldn't be chipping off bits of bread from the hinges of your machine. I've only ever baked bread machine recipes in the breadmakers, and adapted recipes in the dough cycle only.

I'm dying to know if it works, mind you. *g*

Wonderful World of Weiners said...

Thanks for entering my contest - if you win, I think I could get the necklace to Canada! That's pretty darn close to Maine~!!


Lynne Sears Williams said...

You need a camera. I need a better blog name. Wanna share?