Friday, January 23, 2009
I don't know what got into me, but yesterday I baked the orange pumpkin cloverleaf yeast rolls featured on the cover of the February Gourmet magazine, and a batch of chocolate chip cherry oatmeal cookies from my new baking book I got for Christmas, The Art and Soul of Baking by Cindy Mushet. They were both good, but not completely satisfying.
Rolls: I had trouble with the active dry yeast this time; it didn't foam. This has only happened to me once before. I know the water temperature was perfect because I used a thermometer (which I don't always do). I threw out the first batch, and tried a second envelope. It was from the same pack, so I didn't have much confidence that it would be better than the first envelope. It foamed a little, but should have foamed a lot because there was a tablespoon of sugar in the warm milk. I went ahead and used it anyway, but the rolls were a bit heavy, although with a great flavor. We ate them toasted with honey for breakfast.
I did a little research on yeast and found out that 1)too much sugar can kill yeast, and 2)dissolving it in milk can be difficult and sometimes it clumps (though I don't know why that would inhibit the yeast). It seems I have to do an experiment on this for myself to see if it was the sugar or the milk that was the problem or indeed just some dud yeast. Will publish results shortly.
Cookies: The cookies are delicious but it's a bit of a waste of the dried tart cherries, I think, since the chocolate chips kind of overwhelm them. We are really into these dried tart cherries for our morning hot cereal, and I have put them in scones, too. They are a little pricey so I will save them for places where they really shine out. I love this cookbook, though; lots of great baking information about ingredients, techniques, etc. I will try some of the other, more complex recipes since judging a baking cookbook on the basis of oatmeal cookies doesn't seem quite fair. I will be writing more about this book.