Saturday, 27 March 2010

Religion: Why it works for me

I wouldn't say that I'm the most spiritual of people. I wouldn't say that I'm aspiritual (I think I'm making words up) either. I'm not quite sure how the whole religion thing works, but I wouldn't say that I identify as athiest or an agnostic, either. What I DO know, though, is that most (if not all) major religions have had the smarts to make yummy food part of their religious holidays, perhaps in a bid to make their religion more palatable (haha! See what I did there? I... oh, never mind...) to the masses. But who cares why - the food is generally good.

The last time I made hot cross buns was in year 8 Home Ec class.

I remember being terrified of using yeast, because I was scared of killing it off by overheating it. What a disaster that would be for the human race! Buns not rising! Heaven forbid! (As I edit this, I am becoming aware that religion has crept into the lexicon. Note that the only deliberate instance of this in this blog entry is the line following the next paragraph.)

I'm still scared of baking things that need to prove prior to baking. The only thing I have made with yeast since those hot cross buns is pizza, and it turned out pretty darned well (Well, except that the second time I did it I got a bit impatient, and my dough-handling skills had deteriorated, so instead of perfectly round, crispy discs, I ended up with slightly squishy trapezoids... but they still tasted as good as they smelled!). And yet I remain terrified of using yeast in cooking. Go figure. (I was also terrified of roasts until about two weeks ago when I actually cooked one, and I was terrified cos I'd never done it unsupervised (never needed to, living alone, cos that's a LOT of meat), and as it turns out I'm actually quite good at it. Just goes to show that it's dumb to be scared of things you haven't tried.)

So, in the spirit of things rising, I am baking hot cross buns this Easter!

(I really am very sorry if that offended anyone.)

Step one: the yeast thing (it freaks me out completely that yeast is alive)

Step two: dry ingredients (I had to improvise on the spices, because I didn't have any Mixed Spiece in my cupboard. I did, however, have several of the crucial ingredients. Do you like how I label the top of my spices? Makes finding them easier.)

Step three: knead (I didn't take my rings off. How unlike me. Except for once, the dough didn't stick to my hands!)

Step four: shape (this is where you think about sneaking a bit of the raw dough, even though you know it will probably taste quite appalling, and then get turned off by the fact it smells rather a lot like beer.)

Step five: prove (ooh! It got big! The yeast worked! I didn't kill it and I got the quantities right!)

(There's no photo here because there was no significant difference which was a bit disappointing. There was a 45 minute rising stage that preceded the kneading, too, but for the sake of brevity I left out the photos.)

Step six: make the crosses (I know they're symbolic, but basically I like them because they're fun to peel off and eat first. Oh, and Pioneer Woman gave me this handy (albeit wasteful) hint on how to ice hot cross buns today. Clue: it involves a snap-lock bag. Oh, and also, make the cross mixture less runny than I did otherwise they end up kinda munted.)

Step seven: bake (smells soooooooo goooooood!)

Step eight: eat stupid amounts of them (= 2... wasn't very hungry today!) because you're home alone this Easter and have nothing better to bake, eat, and blog about it.

They came out a bit stodgy, but at least they kind of looked like the picture!

Step nine: blog about it (ref. Step eight).


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