Sunday, September 6, 2009

Bread # 9 - Cinnamon Raisin Walnut Bread

The Finished Loaves

This Cinnamon Raisin Walnut Bread marks my first loaf after my month-long hiatus from bread baking. The look was a bit rustic, but the flavor was wonderful. It had a hint of sweetness from the cinnamon-sugar swirl in the center of each loaf, but it was not cloyingly sweet. For my money the walnuts were the best part. They were not overpowering, and when you did get one, it was a welcome little mouth surprise. I used halves and did not chop them. I just threw them in right from the freezer. I was a little nervous about now thawing them out first, but the dough was such a strong one, and we were having such hot weather here in San Diego county, that there were no ill-effects from the frozen walnuts.

I also substituted a little more than half the flour with whole wheat. I did not notice the absence of the white flour. I am re-committing myself to using more whole grains and less of the refined.

I'd say this was a fine loaf to come back to.

Ready for the oven.

In the Oven

A little blurry, I know, but it is beautiful nonetheless.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Bread #8 - Cinnamon Buns

Cinnamon Buns! Right Out of the Oven, These Were Amazing.
I actually made this bread the night before I left for The Odyssey, 2009, which was July 12th. I drove, solo, in my VW Cabrio, and was gone for three weeks, during which time I traveled from San Diego to Seattle and back. I drove up the Pacific Coast through Big Sur (spectacular!) and stayed for two nights in Salinas, where I wallowed in John Steinbeck country. After that I met my daughter in San Francisco for three days of non-stop shopping. While there, I ventured across the Golden Gate Bridge to Mill Valley and Tyler Florence's new store for cooks. He was there! What a gracious and charming man! Check us out:

Tyler Florence and Diane

Then it was on to Portland, Oregon, where I spent 3 days and nights in Powell's Books adding to my cookbook collection. What a great store; definitely worth the trip! I spent the next day driving to eastern Oregon trying to find this really obscure place where I spent many happy summers in the 70s. And I found it! That was really amazing on many levels!

From there, it was on to Seattle, Washington, where I spent the next three days, shopping at Pike's Place, visiting the Space Needle, and finding other bookstores. After that, it was back to Portland for the afternoon, and on to Tillamook, Oregon for the night.

From Tillamook, I took five days to drive home along the Pacific Coastline, stopping at many lighthouses, climbing up to the top (the tallest of which was Point Arena which is 115 feet in the air - 143 steps to the top, and yes I climbed all 143 of them without stopping!).

Another notable mention was having lunch at the Cafe Beaujolais in Mendocino. The lunch was one of the best I have ever eaten, but perhaps even more fun was the visit to "The Brickery" in the back, where Marcos bakes their bread every day. Here I am with Marcos in The Brickery.

The Two Bakers - Marcos and Diane

It was an amazing journey!

Now, about the bread:

These cinnamon buns were so good! They seemed to dry out overnight! With a quick reheat, though, they were pretty darn good. I took them with me on my trip, and my friend and I toasted them for an accompaniment to her fabulous salmon dinner she cooked for us.

I left the rest of them for the staff at the hotel in Salinas. They seemed happy about that.

And then there was no baking for over a month!

Ready to Go into the Oven

In the Oven