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Archive for December 6th, 2010

Kitchen Magic

Back in the old days, before van Leeuwenhoek improved upon lens technology and observed micro-organisms for the first time, the process by which barley mash became beer, grape juice became wine, and flour and water paste became bread was a complete and utter mystery.  These were such amazing transformations that they were elevated in the common mind to almost miraculous things.

I performed one of those magical tricks yesterday when I made bread.  This is the sponge, the mixture of flour and water and yeast, to which I always add a bit of honey to encourage the yeast, after the yeast got happy.

Those who are not familiar with the workings of this house might be surprised to go into the back bathroom and discover that it is also the proofing room.   This is because we keep a small heater going in there during the winter so that the pipes to the shower never freeze, and so that there is one room in the house that is toasty warm no matter how bitter the weather.    It turns out that the scant 24 square feet that comprises that utilitarian room heats up to exactly the right temperature for raising bread dough.

After baking, it rests for 10 minutes and then — fresh warm bread with butter.   Heaven!  Sorry,no smellovision yet.

That is a seven grain bread.   I mix up my own blend of flours to make my seven grain flour.   2 parts wheat, 2 parts oats, 1 part each corn, rye, buckwheat, rice, barley.   I realize that buckwheat is not strictly a grain but we use it that way so for the purposes of this flour I call it a grain.

Below is a portrait of the cocktail Jim constructed for me yesterday afternoon.   Mangos blended with rum, home-made limoncello, a smidgen of pineapple juice and garnished with home-made grenadine (pomegranate extract).

Prosit!    You have no idea just exactly how delicious that drink was.

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