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Monthly Archives: September 2011

Sandra’s Cafe

Hi friends. Sorry I’ve been away. I’ve been in a blogging funk. Or rather, a baking funk. It’s this in-between-seasons thing. The fruits I want to bake with aren’t really in season. And I’m a religious abider of the laws of the seasons so no, you cannot wear white pants/shoes after labor day, and no, you cannot bake apples and pumpkin bread until it is officially fall. Septermber 23rd. Let the countdown begin.

In the meantime, I spent the last hour of my life discussing my dream cafe with a lady at work.  Having worked in the service industry, I have often thought of what kind of restaurant I would have. Answer: bakery/cafe…

It would have this feel. Brick storefront. Warmth. Cozy. Maybe a fireplace? Definitely twinkle lights.

Bread. We would have lots and lots of bread. We’d sell it to local restaurants. There will be eclectic baskets. High ceilings. Those two are my employees.

There would be pour over coffee. And high end espresso drinks. With latte art:

We would be known for our scones. But also have delicious paninis and salads for the lunch crowd. There would be italian sodas.

Seasonally, we’d have ice cream. With flavors like lavender honey and black licorice (and peanut butter!). There would be homemade yogurt with homemade granola. We’d have my mom’s famous cheesecake. And cupcakes and petit fours.

Bites of heaven

I’d call it Sandra’s after my mom because she taught me everything I know about baking. And life. And hang black and white pictures of my family. The coffee mugs would be red. And the plates won’t match.

Gran Bread

Remember that time I made brunch? And I told you I had a quick and easy little bread for an appetizer. Welp. Here it is.

I found it on 101 Cookbooks. So nice and easy for a bread. Only one rise for 30 minutes! And full of whole wheat and oats so it’s nice and hearty. Alone, it’s not as exciting, but proved to be an excellent delivery device for jam or (peanut) butter. It also won my heart because it came from a cookbook she found called Gran’s Kitchen. This little gem is apparently not published in the U.S. but that’s ok because I have a Gran’s Kitchen of my own…

hearty: full of heart.

On my mom’s side of the fam, we call grandmothers “Gran.” I didn’t ever get to meet my Gran but I now get to see Mom as a Gran herself! Sometimes, when you’re three, you need to make this a two-syllable word. Ga-raaaan. Totally acceptable. No judgment here.

hi there.

My mom is a great mom. I would even say the best mom. But she has maybe outdone herself as a Gran. I feel it’s the role she was born to play. Living her best life.

Proofing yeast. Mom taught me that.

Mom taught me how to proof yeast. It can be confusing to figure out if you just read instructions that say heat water on the stove to 115 degrees. What does 115 degrees feel like? Needless to say, I burnt my first proofs. That was some flat and dense bread. Yuck.

Risen!

Alls you got to do is turn the sink water on real hot. Get it so it’s uncomfortable to the touch of that tender skin on the underside of your wrist. While I’m waiting for the water to get hot, I like to warm up whatever measuring device you’ll be using by letting the water run into it. This prevents the water from losing heat so quickly. Have your yeast ready to go because by the time you get that water to the bowl, it’s lost some heat. We don’t want that. This sounds scary, but I promise it’s full proof. (hehe. pun intended).

Now you have no excuses. Make the bread.

1 1/4 cup warm water

1 packet active dry yeast

1 tbs. honey

1 cup all purpose flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 cup rolled oats (the old fashioned kind)

1.5 tsp salt

2 tbs butter, melted

Pour your dry yeast into the warm water and stir a little to dissolve. Add the honey and stir. Then let proof for 5-10 minutes until frothy.

Meanwhile, mix your flours, oats, and salt in a separate bowl.

When the yeast is proofed, combine the wet and dry ingredients and mix very well.

Grease your loaf pan with some of the melted butter. Turn the dough into the pan and cover with a clean damp towel. Let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350. When ready, bake the bread for 35-40 minutes. Heidi suggest turning the broiler on for just a touch at the end to get the browned top. Totally optional (but I did it). Keep a close eye if you do…

Turn the bread out of the pan immediately and place on a rack to prevent the bread from steaming in the pan. Serve with generous amounts of jam or butter.