Thursday, July 10, 2008

Excursions in Baking!

Hey all, thanks for the huge response to my e-mail! I guess prizes really are the way to convince people to do something... *jots things down in journal*

So, today was a wonderfully warm and clear day here in Elmira, with barely any clouds in the sky and not ridiculously hot for once. I got to bike down to our weekly farmers' market and pick up a steak salad in an edible bowl (yay America- even our place settings are edible!)

The other major thing that I did today was help my Oma (that's Deutsch for grandmother for all of you Deutschefremden out there) bake Heffenzopf! Heffenzopf (pronounced heff-ehn-tsupf) is one of my favorite dishes and can be most closely described as a Teutonic challah that's a bit more on the moist and sweet side. My Oma has been baking it since she was 5 back in the Vaterland, but it wasn't until recently that I learned to perform this magical art.

The first thing you do is get all of your ingredients together in a big bowl, and then add in the yeast. Then we move to this step:

That's my Oma mixing in more flour to make the dough drier and give it more consistency. You have to do this for a while, but remember that the dough is still pretty liquid, or else you'll do something like this:

Yeah, not one of my prouder moments. Anyway, you have to keep on adding flour until you can't stir anymore and the fun begins. Using flour to keep your hand from sticking to the dough, you reach in on the side, lift and mush into the center repeatedly with the heel of your hand, continually adding more flour.

After a while, when the bread starts feeling less sticky you perform the same motion, but only until the top is fairly even; then you just beat the crap out of it with your hand.

Finally, we leave it in the bowl with the top flat, cover it and let it rise. It is important to put a bit of olive oil around the edge of the dough; not much, but just enough to make sure that it doesn't stick to the bowl.

Next, we take the dough out and hammer it some more with the heel of the hand, just like before, until it is all smoothed out. Now we can cut the dough apart and knead that as well.

Next, we place the dough in pans and cover them with mished up eggs to keep them from burning in the oven, as well as giving them an eventually nice golden-brown color.

You can even put initials into the dough at this stage; for instance, here's an M!

Finally, we put them in the oven for about an hour, and we have awesome breads!

This bread is amazingly delicious, and the best part is you can just freeze it for months on end with little loss of flavor! So just make a huge batch all at once and you can be eating Heffenzopf all year round!

So, you may be wondering why I told you how to do everything but not how much of everything to use. First, my Oma doesn't actually know how much of anything she puts in there; she just knows that some amounts are right and others are wrong. Fortunately, I have the amounts necessary to make a nice big loaf... though I do need to find it first.

SO, as a prize to all of you who posted before midnight, I will e-mail out a copy of the recipe to each of you when I find it/ bother my Oma to tell me the recipe for the umpteenth time. Yay prizes!

That's about it for now; tomorrow I'm heading up to the Granite State to do some hiking with my mom and the dog. Until then, remember this:

"Do you wanna come with me? 'Cause if you do then I should warn you, you're gonna see all sorts of things. Ghosts from the past; Aliens from the future; the day the Earth died in a ball of flame; It won't be quiet, it won't be safe, and it won't be calm. But I'll tell you what it will be: the trip of a lifetime. "
-The Doctor


Rachel Teagle said...

Is there any sort of consolation prize for those who don't check their email as regularly as reid?

Aphyr said...

Yes, Rachel. It's called "not being Reid"! ;-)