Last week I opened an e-mail from a church friend. She usually brings a light breakfast for our congregation each Sunday, but she knew she wouldn't be there on July 5, and needed a couple of people to do the food shopping for her. On a whim, I hit "Respond."
And offered to make enough baked goods for our entire (small) church. Temporary insanity, I guess. (Spare the "Temporary? Chuckle, chuckle" comments.)
Now, I've blogged about the book Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, which I got as a Christmas present. Sure enough, bread baking has become a wee bit of an obsession (a very yummy obsession) for me this year. I figured I could find a few recipes to make for Sunday's service. It would be fun.
Well, it was fun. It was also a lot of work. It's kind of like childbirth. Right afterward I said, "I don't think I'd ever do that again!" But now, a few days later, I'm thinking it wasn't so bad. Which means in another few months I'll find myself repeating this whole process. (The baking. Not the childbirth.)
Friday I made three types of dough from the book...
...and my own version of oatmeal bread dough. (It was "my own version" since I ran out of white flour and had to replace most of it with whole wheat and rye flours. It didn't initially rise well, but I gave the loaves plenty of rising time in the pans, and they did well.)
I rearranged my fridge, stacking things precariously, so that all the dough would fit overnight. (See that little bottle next to the brioche? That's Prince Zoodle's Augmentin, the evil antibiotic that my pediatrician's office assured me yesterday he still needs to take.)
Saturday afternoon I got to work making a mess. Let me tell you, I am not a neat baker. I get flour and sugar and oatmeal all over the place. I was working barefoot, and with all the ingredients my feet picked up, I probably could have scraped my soles afterward and made a streusel topping. (Don't worry, I didn't.)
By the evening, though, the kitchen was (fairly) clean, and my countertops were filled with baked goods.
There were sesame seed bagels, chewy and moist.
For sweets-lovers, I had cinnamon rolls. (For the filling and topping I used this recipe for rolls that are supposed to taste like Cinnabons. I actually used the Artisan Bread in Five brioche dough because I know I can make it correctly and I haven't had the best luck with cinnamon rolls in the past...but the dough in the original recipe sounds delicious.)
And for those who wanted a healthy, whole-grain option without any refined sugar, I made two loaves of oatmeal bread swirled with raisins and walnuts.
So, for those of you who asked in Saturday's comments whether we stayed home or braved the sweltering park for Independence Day...well, after being in a hot kitchen so much of the day, I really didn't have any desire to spend the evening outside. It was still 100 degrees at 6 p.m. Next year, I won't bake all day on July 4th, and maybe our kids will get to see some fireworks. As for this year...well, they enjoyed the bagels and cinnamon rolls. That's almost as exciting as fireworks, right?