Saturday, October 14, 2006
Saturday, October 14, 2006
The good news is that I have a working stove. The bad news is that my KitchenAid mixer gave up the ghost just as I was starting to mix the mushroom bread dough and it is now in the Appliance Hospital, from where it should return, assuming that its illness is not fatal, within a few weeks. We had to take it all the way to Blaine, a far northern suburb of Minneapolis, which feels like a foreign country. Instead of the "Impeach Bush" and "Peace Now" signs, which dot the landscape of my cozy south Minneapolis neighborhood, there were "Guns Don't Kill, People Kill" and "If You Don't Speak English, Get the F... Out" bumper stickers. But the people in the repair shop seemed competent and not at all hostile, so it wasn't painful to leave my mixer out in the suburbs.
I hadn't even thought about the possibility of my mixer going kaput. I was only worried about what pan to use for the mushroom bread. Rose recommends a lovely glass bread steamer, but the company that makes it seems to have gone out of business, and I couldn't find another bread steamer to buy. (Don't people in Boston bake steamed bread any more?) As a second choice, she recommends a one-pound coffee can. But I don't buy coffee in cans, and neither does anyone else I know. I hated to buy a can of Folger's just to make this mushroom bread. I did have an empty plum tomato can that I had used a few weeks ago, and I saved that can in case I couldn't come up with anything else.
One day at work when I was complaining about my lack of appropriate baking equipment for this bread, my friend Susan asked me to explain what I wanted. I told her about the bread, and how it was supposed to turn into a mushroom shape as it rose and then as it baked. She asked me if I really felt the need to commemorate North Korea's atomic bomb by making a mushroom-shaped bread. Very funny, I said. But from then on I started to think of this as my Great Leader bread.
Well, when my KitchenAid died, I panicked for a moment, trying to figure out how I was going to bake bread without my heavy-duty mixer. Fortunately, it occurred to me fairly quickly that I could do it the old-fashioned way, which was really rather nice and satisfying. Still, I think I will concentrate in the next few weeks on the few remaining breads that don't need a mixer.
And how did the bread turn out, you may ask? The bread itself was actually anti-climactic after the worries about the pan and the dead mixer. It turned out to be a very flavorful bread because it's made with nearly a pound of mushrooms, diced and reduced into duxelles. Jim and I had one slice with butter and one with leftover roasted garlic. It was a draw. We considered trying a third slice with olive oil, and voting again, but our better selves took over.
I would definitely make the mushroom bread again, but I wouldn't use the tomato can next time. The "stem" was too long for the "cap", and, while the top browned nicely, the stem remained lily-white. I didn't pack the tomato can completely full of dough, so I made some dinner rolls with the leftover dough. They're now in the freezer, waiting to be pulled out some night when I make a pot of soup for dinner. I don't know if the shape of the bread would have been better or worse if I had put all the dough in the can, and I don't think I will ever find out.
Posted by Marie at 5:21 PM