Thursday, March 12, 2009

Baking and cleaning today

Today was beautiful here. The temperatures were absolutely perfect for playing outside or just opening the windows and airing the house out.

I got in the mood to do some baking, as well as some spring cleaning. I thoroughly cleaned the utility room top to bottom, including washing down the walls. It felt good, and the room almost glows!

I noticed something, though. The cabinets above my washer and dryer are not finished. They need to be either painted or stained. When I asked my husband, he opted for paint. So now I'm wondering what color I should have him paint them. The entire room is white - the walls, the washer, dryer, deep freeze, and the doors. So I don't think I want to paint them white. Any suggestions?? I really want them to pull the room together, since this is the room everyone sees when they walk in my back door. (Everyone uses my back door here, unfortunately.)

Now, on to the baking ... Did you ever make bagels? I haven't, although I've wanted to try. For some reason, I got the impression they were very labor-intensive. But I needed bagels for Sunday and I didn't want to spend the money on store-bought ones, so I thought I'd give them a try.

This recipe was as easy as baking bread. In fact, I'd say it was a little easier since it took less time. (I put all the ingredients in my bread machine on the dough cycle, just like I do with my bread recipe.) I haven't tasted them yet, but they look, smell and feel just like the fancy ones in the store. I can't tell you how tempted I was to have one this afternoon, but I disciplined myself since I can easily go overboard with breads. :) I'll get back to you on the taste! ETA: We tasted them, and they are wonderful!! Mine didn't get as thick as the bakery bagels, but my husband liked that because we use them as the basis for egg/cheese/bacon bagel sandwiches.

As far as the cost, they are way, way cheaper than buying them in the store, even from the reduced rack. This batch makes 12 bagels and should cost me roughly $0.25 to make the entire batch (buying yeast in bulk). The bonus: it uses all-purpose flour, so I didn't have to use the more expensive bread flour.

I baked four loaves of bread to put in the freezer, too. I like to use an entire 5-lb bag of bread flour at once (6 loaves). This time, I had to make bread on Saturday but I didn't have the time to make all six loaves, so I just finished the bag today.

I also made my husband's favorite snack: Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars. They are made with corn syrup, peanut butter and crisp rice cereal; then topped with melted semisweet chocolate. I like these better than any of the granola bars from the store, and they're probably just as healthy since most of the store-bought bars use corn syrup anyway.

It's a good thing I'm exercising again! I'm going to need it after all this baking. :)


Anonymous said...

I like to makes bagels too but I can do without the boiling stage, ifact I skipped it last time I they were nust as good! I get the bread and pizza flour at Sams's club $10 for 25# and the yeast is way lest at the health food store. Good luck with the cabinets!