Proof Bread When It’s Cold Outside

When the temps start to drop, I start craving all of my favorite comfort foods. That means more soups, more pot roasts and—in particular—a lot more fresh homemade bread to go with both. So what’s a baker to do when she wants to make fresh bread at home when it’s cold? Well, it turns out there are a few tricks to proofing bread in the cold.

If you’re a real thermostat stickler like me, that’s not something you really want to do very often.

However, when it’s chilly outside and in, making yeasted bread at home becomes more challenging. That’s because yeast does its job best at temperatures above 75ºF. That means in order to proof bread on a cold day, you really have to crank up the heat at home to get a good rise.

(Source: tasteofhome.com)

Is Your Bread Kneaded Enough?

Making your own homemade bread is one of the most satisfying kitchen achievements, though getting started can be a bit overwhelming. When I first started dabbling in a yeasted bread, I fretted about proofing the yeast and letting the dough rise enough. Turns out that with a thermometer, letting yeast proof is simple. Let’s see how to do it.

To knead bread dough, turn it out—that’s baker speak for “move the dough from the bowl”—onto a lightly floured surface. Dust your hands with flour then shape the dough into a ball.

However, knowing how to knead the dough (and how long to do it) is another story. It’s an important step: Kneading the dough helps develop gluten, which gives the bread structure. But don’t worry—once you get the hang of the kneading, you’ll be ready to tackle any bread, even this gorgeous star bread.

(Source: tasteofhome.com)

Strawberry Cream Cheese Bread

This cake-like strawberry cream cheese bread is stuffed with sweet strawberries and a pinch of cinnamon. Perfect for using up fresh or frozen strawberries. Don’t let the name fool you. This may be bread in all the classic ways – it’s baked in a pan, it becomes a loaf, it can be sliced – but this bread has the texture of an ultra dense and moist cake.

No matter what time of year it is, it’s always a good time for strawberries. And as for me, my absolute favorite way to enjoy strawberries is in strawberry cream cheese bread.

That is probably my favorite part of this bread, because while bread is totally acceptable to have for breakfast… a slice of this bread is like having dessert for breakfast. This bread does include cream cheese, and it’s not used as a “flavor layer” or a glaze – it’s actually mixed and baked within the bread itself.

(Source: homemadehooplah.com)

Pano Bread and Coffee

Germans are not exactly known for their coffee, but like many other European countries aspiring to catch up to their Italian brethren, finding a good cup continues to get easier. Pano comes from the word for bread in Esperanto—the widely spoken international auxiliary language that was constructed with the hope of fostering understanding and peace between nations. Pano the coffee shop plans to help create a better world through the use of fresh, organic, sustainable, and locally grown ingredients.

With 9 locations across the country and growing, including one of the most popular spots at Munich airport, Pano is beginning to look like Germany’s answer to the Belgian Le Pain Quotidien empire.

Enjoy your caffeine hit of choice alongside a slice or two of wood oven sourdough bread and a selection of spreads, or better yet, with scrambled eggs and ham on top. A variety of pastries, paninis, handmade chocolate bars, jams, cakes, and ice creams are also on offer.

(Source: everydayvoyager.com)

Sweet Sticky Pecan Rolls

We cannot leave sticky buns alone when it comes to a coffee break. They’re just too irresistible and they always taste great with a cup of dark coffee. This is a more traditional sticky roll recipe so you yeast lovers can indulge as well. For the seasoned baker, it should be a breeze and it’s a fun recipe to try if you’re dabbling in the baking arts.

One taste of these gooey caramel and pecan topped rolls and you’ll want to make another batch. Yet, you don’t have to because the recipe makes 36 delicious sticky rolls.

All coffee breads have certain traits in common: they are sweet and rich in flavor and texture. Any of these sweet bread recipes will go great with coffee. Serve them when you invite friends over for a cup or for dessert following a big family meal.

(Source: thespruceeats.com)

When You’re Craving the Kick

If you’re looking for a specialty drink with a strong espresso kick, you won’t go wrong with a cappuccino or a mocha. One is an Italian classic with crisp layers and flavors. The other is every chocolate lover and sweet tooth owner’s dream. As with most specialty coffee beverages, both the cappuccino and the mocha begin with a nice shot of espresso and some steamed milk.

The resulting drink should have a very distinct, low-acid espresso flavor that is complemented rather than overwhelmed by the milk products.

The components of cappuccino are the same as many other espresso-based drinks: espresso, steamed milk, and milk froth. Thus, because the ingredients are pretty common, its most defining features are its balance and structure. Cappuccinos have a unique 1:1:1 ratio. So a skilled barista may even be able to prepare the drink based off of weight in hand. Ideally, it will end up being 1/3 espresso (1-2 shots), 1/3 steamed milk, and 1/3 light froth.

(Source: everydayvoyager.com)

Iced Grilled Nectarine Drink

So last summer I had a little obsession. Unfortunately for my mid-section, it wasn’t exercised (although I swear this summer will be different!). It was a grilled fruit drink. And not just for dessert. Actually, I don’t think I ever served it for dessert, but instead, grilled fruit was front and center in salads, appetizers, on top of chicken or fish and wait for it…in cocktails!

I mean it just isn’t summer without a refreshing, cold drink with just the right amount of booze to make you feel all relaxed and right with the world. Am I right or am I right?

For me, a cocktail is all about balance. I usually gravitate toward drinks that are more dry than sweet, with bright flavors from a squeeze of citrus. However, some drinks need a pop of sweetness and maybe even a little heat. And this whole grilled fruit thing, well it’s a game changer in the cocktail world.

(Source: whatshouldimakefor.com)

Knife, Normal Utensil Holding

Chefs labor over their food for countless hours to create a moment of pleasure for their guests. Plate presentation is the final step that showcases their creations. Often taken for granted or left as an afterthought, plate presentation should highlight the quality of the food and preparation techniques while engaging the diner’s senses. Effective plating should be simple enough to execute on a busy night, yet stylish and visually appealing to the guest.

The opposite hand is used for holding and guiding the food to be processed. Always curl the fingertips of the opposite hand into a claw shape, never lay them flat.

Knife skills are the single most important and the most fundamental skill a chef must acquire. Knife skills take repetition and practice to build speed and productivity. Good knife skills require an organized work station, properly sharpened knives, and disciplined technique.

(Source: theculinarypro.com)

Food Plating & Presentation Basics

Chefs labor over their food for countless hours to create a moment of pleasure for their guests. Plate presentation is the final step that showcases their creations. Often taken for granted or left as an afterthought, plate presentation should highlight the quality of the food and preparation techniques while engaging the diner’s senses. Effective plating should be simple enough to execute on a busy night, yet stylish and visually appealing to the guest.

Consider the plate with the eye of a photographer to create a composition that brings the various elements of the dish together in harmony..

A winning plate presentation is rarely achieved on the first try. Imagination, trial-and-error, and brainstorming in a collaborative fashion often help to achieve successful results. Plate presentations begin with the mastering the basic of proper culinary techniques, high-quality food, and plate selections that fit the style of the dish.

(Source: theculinarypro.com)

Blend for Vintage Clothing

A common concern I hear from people who have yet to take the plunge into the world of vintage clothing is that, if they do, they will look like they are wearing a costume. Here are 5 tips for wearing vintage while avoiding exactly that. First of all, let me preface this by stating that there is nothing wrong with looking like you’re wearing a costume when you’re not.

Personally, I absolutely adore when someone’s style treads that line between theatricality and reality and I’m all for wearing whatever it is that you feel good in, especially if what you feel good in is an expression of your spirit and creativity.

Of course, not everybody feels that way, and a common concern I hear from people who have yet to take the plunge into the world of vintage clothing is that, if they do, they will look like they are wearing a costume. Here are 5 tips for wearing vintage while avoiding exactly that.

(Source: huffpost.com)