hi old friends (and new)
it is I, back with a recipe that is actually almost exactly the same as this one but transformed–
My intention was to make something crazy. I was thinking along the lines of… an apple oat crisp and a pumpkin cinnamon bun having a baby, only the baby would not only be cute but also elegant and posh and be able to stand on its own two feet at a high tea.
I’d say I got halfway there. You can’t tell from these photos but figuring out how to arrange the apple slices in an aesthetically pleasing way was actually such a dilemma. I felt very discombobulated, so I gave up and placed the slices around in a circle (how boring) but somehow it ended up looking like a rose (elegant!!). Then I couldn’t bear to cover that with an apple crisp topping around the edges, like I initially planned out in my head.
So no, I guess the apple oat crisp pumpkin cinnamon bun baby will have to be born another day.
Baking this bread, and these photos, will forever be associated with good memories. Why? It was a special, special day.
I had started the bread off, proofing my yeast. But it was 10 minutes until 10:00 am, which was when the COLDPLAY TICKET PRESALE opened up, and whenever it’s that kind of environment (think course registration) I end up not being able to do anything but sit around and twiddle my thumbs and click refresh. It’s the anticipation, okay. Let me have my fun.
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I’ve been baking as a hobby for a long time now, since I was eight or so. And it never ceases to amaze me– the transformation that takes place in the oven. My heart still beats a little faster from the excitement as I turn on the oven light to check in on whatever I’m baking. Sometimes I get panicky if I see that something’s overflowing, like a bubbling pie that I forgot to put a tray under, or muffin cups that I’ve eagerly overfilled. Most of the time I can tell that something’s almost done baking… its scent starts to waft through the house.
This challah is a perfect example of that. It came together so fast that I was disappointed it was over already. Literally less than 10 minutes to measure out and combine the ingredients. After that, all the work is done by the mixer to knead the dough, and by the yeast to perform its magic to aerate the dough.
Then you weave and shape the challah– therapeutic, really– and after a transformation in the oven, you’ll quickly be rewarded with a tender, soft, light bread.
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HIRING: hand model. must be able to hold things. hot things and cold things. light things and heavy things. multiple things or one thing. must have not-so-pretty, wise-looking hands with character, maybe some protruding veins to symbolize life. must have hands that can tell stories without words. hands must be chiral. short nails are a must because long nails = the chalkboard noise.
BENEFITS: some hand lotion and maybe nail clippers.
What I realize is missing from my photos is some sort of presence of life. Shots of people tearing apart bread, rolling up the dough while basked in the dim evening shadows. The in-the-process-moody photos. The sort of photos that grip you with the lighting and mood, that stir up some memories of childhood or family, that conjure up aromas and tastes in your mind. You know, even if it’s something as simple as muffins on a cooling rack and one arm grabbing one, another unwrapping one.
It sounds weird talking about hands as separate entities. They very well could be. Continue reading →
I’ll be running my first half-marathon TOMORROW (cue heavy gasping), and my superbly disciplined, nonexistent training regimen has left me *really* prepared. Actually, I’m pretty sure I developed shin splints from chronic never-stretching after running long distances, and my legs are getting payback at me, big time. I’ve also been preparing by eating really nutritious, healthy food, as evidenced by these buns (sigh). I should know better. So right now my body is nowhere near where I’d like it to be for Sunday, but I will sure as heck give it my best.
I’m counting on that marathon magic and adrenaline of having a zillion runners next to you. That helps too. Continue reading →
Happy Easter, guys!
My weekend = working, studying, training for my first half marathon, and doing some wedding planning stuff for my brother. It’s pretty low key/casual, which is good, since everything I know about weddings come from Pinterest.
He mentioned wanting hipster wedding favours for the guests (I’m not sure if he was serious), but why the heck not. I’m imagining things with mason jars and succulents and Chemex coffee maker vases. (Kidding). Earnest ice cream pints with little wooden spoons would be really cute, right?
What I won’t so readily admit is that much of my excitement behind their wedding lies in the minute detail that I will be making their wedding cake. I’ve started a board on Pinterest for ideas. It’s official. Apparently, my sister-in-law likes green tea, but in general doesn’t have a sweet tooth. And I know that my brother wants something with apple-cinnamon, which is very fall-appropriate, but I haven’t quite figured out how to make that combination work aesthetically. Cinnamon-apple (reddish brown) plus green matcha green? Maybe if I make it look like a tree……………. (uhm).
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