Tuesday, January 12, 2010

One Thing Leads to Another...

During the afternoon, after finding my crumpet rings, decided to make some 'pikelets' using a yeast-based recipe. Basically the recipe is the same as for making white bread but adding more liquid. There are two crumpet/pikelet recipes on this site, one is on 24th Feb. '07, the other on 30th Oct, also '07, although I cheated a bit and used a pack of bread mix (which contains the salt, sugar and some dried milk) and just added the yeast, a little less of the milk and more of the water.

After a couple of hours in a warmish place, the batter had risen and bubbles appeared on the top, so began cooking the crumpets in the (greased) rings placed in a large frying pan. They rose beautifully, and really looked very much like the ones we buy, only slightly smaller. After making 8, thought they reminded me very much of deep, thick Scotch Pancakes (aka drop scones), so took out some batter and thinned this down with more milk (or did I use water, cannot now remember). This was then poured by the spoon directly onto the pan base as you do when making drop scones, and they cooked perfectly, just flipping them over when the bubbles burst on the surface and the top was dry. These were put on a cake airer and covered with a cloth as they were cooked, and even after a few hours were still soft and moist. They ate the same (spread with butter) as a drop scone, but not quite a sweet. If a different flour (buckwheat)had been used, because of the yeast, these little pancakes would be called 'blinis'. So - all in all - quite a successful trial batch of both pikelets and 'blinis'. Both of which can be, and some have been, frozen.

Still having a good amount of batter left, decided to try turning this into a muesli loaf, thickening it by pouring in some of the last muesli in B's tin, but even then the mixture remained sticky. Added a little more flour, still sticky, so not quite sure what to do next, put the lot into a greased and floured 2 lb loaf tin, covered it and put into a warm place to rise. By bed-time there had been about half-an inch rise. By this morning, about another half inch (for overnight the heating was not on). and still a long way to go before the dough even peeps over the top of the pan. So now have put the oven on really low, covered the dough and put the tin into the oven to see what happens.
Despite the amount of muesli added (too much apparently), the remaining yeast in the batter should still have the ability to rise (as long as the mixture is kept warm), but will take a great deal longer as the balance is now incorrect. Also the muesli may have soaked up too much of the liquid in the original batter, so it may end up a disaster after all. But you know me, never throw away anything if it can be turned into something. So today it could well be the dough has more liquid, more yeast and even more flour added and start again.

'Ready-to bake' bread mixes (just add the yeast that comes with the pack, and some water), can be made even 'cheaper', for as mentioned above, there is enough yeast to raise even more flour than that given. In the past used to buy bread mixes, then add half as much again of strong plain flour, and extra liquid as needed. It did take longer for the bread to rise, but rise it did. Other than making bread from scratch, this is one way to make the cost of a pack of mix go that much further. Have never done this when using a bread machine because the rising time is fixed. Best only to experiment when making bread by hand.

Was reading the other day about eating to keep warm. Apparently it doesn't matter if the food we eat is hot or cold, for although there is a feeling of warmth gained from a hot drink, this is soon lost, and our bodies gain energy when digesting solid food. Digestion = energy = heat, and digestion has nothing to do with the temperature of the food. So crunching on raw cold veggies will make the body's digestive system work harder than when drinking a warm liquid. So there you go. Will tell B this when he returns, maybe then he will see the sense of leaving his soup 'chunky' during the colder weather.
Personally, find a hot mug of cuppa soup is far more comforting than a plate of salad at the moment. Nevertheless, an interesting fact, and possibly we can keep ourselves warmer if we eat little and often, rather than having one large meal a day.