pain!

for whatever reason, my right ear and part of the throat below it is in immense pain right now. possibly some type of infection… but it’s started no more than 2 hour ago!

i hope it goes away… i can’t get out today to a doctor so it’ll be a night of suffering if it doesn’t… 🙁

Edit (two months later): so it turned out to be… nothing I could control. Too much sneezing and sniffling noses caused my Eustachian tubes to plug up. The doc gave me antihistamines which stopped the sneezing, and within a week I was back to 99%.

Up and running

Yay, I’ve been hard at work to create this Orangetastic blog theme, and I’m very happy with the results.

There are a few things left to change, including redoing the search button, as well as a few color and style mods, and a favicon of course. I also want to see what cool plugins are out there, and integrate any in. And I can’t forget a Flickr feed. But bit by bit, its coming together!

Safari Theme

I’m working on a new WordPress theme for this blog. It will be Safari themed. Right now I’m attempting to make it using Paint Shop Pro and Notepad++, so we’ll see how that goes!

Edit: Well, after playing with the tools I’m using now, I’ve decided to put the Safari theme aside, and work more on the Orange one you see now.

Zeppole

Via the Master Baker summary of this month’s competition, I’ve stumbled on a delicious new recipe! An Italian fried doughnut called zeppole. Some recipes seem to resemble a traditional doughnut recipe, however some recipes use yeast and include fermentation time, thus producing a deliciously airy doughnut. Which is then furthered by coating the freshly fried food in a cinnamon/sugar mix or honey glaze or powdered sugar sprinkle. Yum!

I made these on Saturday afternoon using the recipe linked above. I added a bit of sugar to the dough to give the yeast more to eat in hopes of making airy doughnuts; however giving them more time to rise after shaping them would have produced better results. As well, I need to buy an oil thermometer; I think my oil was too hot closer to the end. Regardless they were a delicious snack.

Mid fry

Flipping them

Detailed frying texture

Fried and raw size comparisons

Coating station - honey, cinnamon/sugar mix, and powdered sugar

Sugaring a zeppole

Final plating

Looking at the inside texture

Melon Pan

Melon Pan, also known as meronpan, is a delicious Japanese bread/cookie combination. Named after the shape (not taste) of a melon, shown as criss-cross cuts on the cookie layer, this bread is a tasty midmorning snack and would go great with tea or coffee.

My first attempt at Melon Pan turned out rather nicely. I decided to do a simple non-stuffed version, although I did dye the cookie layer green to add a bit of spice. Next time I want to try a filled version, either with custard or Nutella/chocolate chips.

Sadly they all disappeared by the time I got back with my camera…

Some other improvements I would like to make: making the dough a bit more softer (replace some of the water with milk) and sweeter (add a tbsp of honey), cooking them at a lower temperature. I would also make 12 rolls instead of 9, although it might be harder to add filling with the smaller dough size. Adding nuts or fruit to the inside might be worthy to investigate.

Recipe from Wild Yeast:

Melon Pan

Yield: 9 2.5-ounce (3-inch-diameter) rolls

Time:

  • Mix: 30 minutes
  • First fermentation: 1.5 hours
  • Divide and shape: 10 minutes
  • Proof: 1 hour (during this time you also mix the cookie dough and “dress” the rolls)
  • Bake: 20 minutes
  • Cool: 45 minutes

Desired dough temperature: 80F

Ingredients for bread dough:

  • 206 g white flour
  • 49 g cold water
  • 2.5 g (3/4 t.) dry instant yeast
  • 3.7 g (5/8 t.) salt
  • 80 g egg (about 2 small or 1.5 large)
  • 29 g sugar
  • 49 g unsalted butter, at room temperature

Ingredients for cookie dough:

  • 51 g unsalted butter
  • 65 g sugar
  • 29 g egg
  • 1.5 g (3/8 t.) vanilla extract
  • 154 g pastry flour (I used Giusto’s organic)
  • 3.1 g (3/4 t.) baking powder
  • 2 g (1/3 t.) salt

Method:

  1. For bread dough: use a stand mixer. Mix flour, water, yeast, salt, and egg on low speed until just combined.
  2. Mix on medium speed for 4 minutes. The dough has quite a stiff consistency at this point.
  3. Turn back to low speed and add sugar in two batches. Mix on low speed until sugar is incorporated. The dough is softer after the addition of the sugar.
  4. Mix in medium speed about 10 minutes, until dough has reached a medium-high level of gluten development. The dough is soft and sticky.
  5. Again in low speed, add the butter and mix for a few minutes until it is incorporated.
  6. Turn to medium speed and mix about 6 minutes, until gluten is quite well developed.
  7. Transfer the dough to a container and cover tightly.
  8. Ferment at room temperature (72F – 76F) for about 1.5 hours, until approximately doubled in volume.
  9. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter. Divide it into 9 pieces of about 43 g each.
  10. To shape each piece into a ball, place it on an unfloured section of counter and cup your hand lightly over it, with your hand resting on the counter. Move your hand quickly in a tight circular motion until the dough forms a smooth, tight ball.
  11. Place the dough balls on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Cover the sheet with plastic wrap or slip it into a large plastic bag. The rolls will proof for about one hour altogether, or until nearly doubled in volume.
  12. Meanwhile, make the cookie dough: Cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add egg and vanilla and beat until combined. Whisk flour with baking powder and salt, and sir the dry ingredients into the wet ones, mixing until just combined. Divide the dough into 9 balls of about 32 g each, and place them in the refrigerator.
  13. Preheat the oven to 360F.
  14. After the rolls have proofed for about 50 minutes, roll the cookie dough into 3.5-inch-diameter rounds and drape them over the rolls. The cookie dough encases the top and sides, but not the bottom, of the bread.
  15. Using a paring knife, score the cookie dough in a diamond pattern.
  16. Bake at 360F for 18-20 minutes, or until just beginning to brown.
  17. Cool on a wire rack. When completely cool, enjoy with a cup of coffee or green tea.