Thursday, April 22, 2010

Bake Bread Break Bread

I love fresh from the oven bread. I love the smell as its baking, I love the steam as you break it open, I love the puddle of melted butter on a freshly cut slice. My lack of oven clearly puts a damper on this little lovefest though. Korea has fine bread, don't get me wrong. It's fine. It's prefunctory, but fine. White, sliced, holds jam when toasted, these are rudimentary qualities of bread. Which is fine, but I want more.

Enter rice cooker. Blessed rice cooker. I can't emphasize enough how happy I was with my rice cooker bread. Hand on heart, I think it's the best bread I've ever made.

I bought a bread-mix from the grocery store (think cake mix but bread) because I couldn't find yeast sold otherwise. I mixed it all up, guessing at the liquid amounts because I couldn't read the directions, and let it rise. Normally I would turn the oven on low for a couple of minutes and then let the dough rise in the warm oven but, alas, not possible. Solution: microwave. I noticed that the microwave was pretty warm after I took something out so I threw the dough in there. Genius.

I punched the dough down once after it doubled in size and let it rise again then transfered carefully to my lightly greased rice cooker. I did about one and a half 'hot' settings, but I wasn't paying really careful attention so I'm not sure how long it sat on 'warm' in between. I also flipped it over becuase the bottom was browning and the top wasn't. In the end this meant two crusts and was kind of an oblong shape which might not look as pretty but it's not a beauty pagent.

I made the bread to go with my mystery squash soup. It looked like a mini-green pumpkin, with orange flesh that was a little dryer than a sweet potatoe but not stringy like pumpkin. It can be roasted in the microwave in not too much time and tasted great as a curried squash soup. Any ideas what it might be?

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