Thursday, August 12, 2010

It's been too hot to bake, so musings

Even with AC, some days are just too hot to bake. Now, if I didn't care about jacking up my electrical bill or harming the environment, I would bake, but I do care about those things, so... the oven has remained off (mostly).

Now I should try my hand at baking bread on the grill, but either I'm too lazy or too uneasy about a bread failure, I can't decide which to call it. Even with machines, a lot of time is invested into making a loaf of bread, so having to throw a loaf away is not something I'm up for.

So, I bought a loaf from the grocery store yesterday. It's a nice seeded bread and about the only halfway decent bread I can get in either Safeway or Giant (the grocery stores near us). Normally the bread is $3.99, but was on sale for $2.99. I also always buy a loaf of potato bread for Henry as that's the bread he likes for his peanut butter sandwiches. That is just a bunch of fluff and costs $3.19. The markup on bread is incredible, which is why we make it, however, the price of flour is about to go up for consumers.

With everything burning in Russia, their fields have burned down, which means the demand for American flour will and has gone up. Bakeries are already feeling it quite a bit as wholesale prices have jetted up. For now, since markup is so high on breads, the big companies have just soaked up the cost of the flour, keeping bread prices the same, but smaller artisan bakeries might not be able to do that and I have no idea what it will do to flour sold at grocery stores. King Arthur flour is already $4.85 for 5 lbs, so I'm curious where it will go.

Another musing. My mother in law made an apple strudel for the party we had last weekend. Henry was so happy to see it, he ate 4 pieces. Adrian loves it too, so he had 3. Sonja, seeing how much her grandsons love the strudel, made some more last night.

Now Sonja doesn't make anything that is difficult and her apple strudel is no exception, which is nice as it is good to have some easy snacks/baked goods too. I've watched her make it a couple times and some of the things she does doesn't seem to make sense to me, so, being the curious person I am, I looked up some strudel recipes.

Of course, like so many traditional foods, there are a ton of recipes out there as people didn't use cookbooks - they just did what their grandmothers did.

While searching, I found some great sources. I did find the easy way that Sonja does with phyllo dough and grated apples, but also the traditional way too. I found this you tube video. Subtitles in German, but you can get the idea of how to do it: http://il.youtube.com/watch?v=q2GQgMYEZbc.
For some reason, watching it being made in a German/Austrian home makes it feel more authentic.

But, since I'm an American, and like more detailed instructions, this is a great resource too. http://il.youtube.com/watch?v=6ZcXjDMD_y4&feature=related Happens to be the exact food processor I have (and this video must be a little old as that food processor is now 14 years old):  Watching the dough stretch is amazing. I've never, ever attempted anything like it, but now I'm intrigued... kind feel challenged to see if I can adopt this skill or not. I have to laugh though, because the sex ed teacher in me thinks, "That dough is thin like a condom". I'm probably the only person who would think like that! LOL

Then, I got excited when I saw this blog with a recipe from the book I ownKaffeehaus: Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Caf├ęs of Vienna, Budapest and Prague by Rick Rodgers:  Applestrudel

Now I really need to try it... But I'll try it while Sonja is in Croatia as I don't want to step on her 'strudel' toes. But, if I get the hang of it, I'll show her when she comes back as she has stories of her grandmother stretching the dough on the table, but then all of a sudden she couldn't do it any more with the thought that maybe the flour changed. She might get a kick out of seeing it done again - that is, if I can get the hang of it.

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