Thursday, July 19, 2012

Turning your kitchen into a sauna and mastering the art of a gas oven

Yeah that title will confuse you a bit. Turning your kitchen into a sauna is easy when you have a kitchen like mine. Galley style and one doorway to the rest of the apartment and in said doorway now hangs a curtain to keep the heat from my oven (gas) in the kitchen and not heating up the rest of my apartment. Since it is currently 100 degrees F here in the Midwest I would say keeping my apartment as cool as possible without cranking the AC and spending my hard earned money is a good thing.

So this week has been kind of blah and because I feel as such baking is a way to release that feeling. Let's see, Monday made brownies to use the chocolate coconut frosting I had made the week prior (sorry no pics). Then I made Tuesday, more pretzel bread by request of Mike so we could eat Brats inside the buns on Sunday for dinner/lunch - whatever. So I happily obliged in creating "brat buns" from the pretzel bread recipe. You can find the recipe here so you can make it too. Of course last time I made it into rolls rather than loaves, as the recipe suggests. This time I made buns. This is how things turned out

Activating the yeast in butter, water, milk and brown sugar

Dough fully mixed and ready for the oiled bowl
Dough ready to sit for 30 min
Risen dough after 30 min, time to knead for 5 min
Dough proofing/rising for another hour
Ready to degas
Degassing and ready to cut into pieces for buns
My attempt at bun shaped dough
Boiling water - ready for the baking soda. New pan is pretty huh :)
Boiled in baking soda boiling water
Dough boiled and cut tops. Ready for the 400 degree oven
Fresh from the oven
Beautiful are they not?
 Now note in the title - trying to master my gas oven. I have never used a gas oven until I moved to my current residence. I love the oven. Makes my heating bill cheaper in the winter. BUT regulating the temperature is another story.

Typically I seem to find that my baked goods keep coming out a bit over done on the bottoms. So I've had to adjust the time and make sure to pull goods out before they over brown. Mike told me to buy an oven thermometer so I could monitor it while baking. Glad I did. Didn't bother the brownies any, didn't bake as long as the recipe called for but having set the oven to 350 degrees the thermometer registered the oven at 350 degrees. However, going up to 400 my oven seems to think it's a blast furnace and cranks itself to 425/450!! HOLY CAT BALLS BATMAN!!! So I ended up baking for the first half of the time (10 min) and then reducing the last half to 8 min so as not to over cook my precious bread. It's soooooo delicious and the crust is just perfect and pretzely. The inside is fluffy and light. Mmmmmmm, yum. Can't wait to try them with bratwursts.

I only have one complaint about how my pretzel buns came out, they didn't puff as much as I would have liked them to, they stayed almost flat so they aren't as fluffy as a traditional bun, but part of that is due in part to the fact that I'm not making these with a loaf pan meant for things such as baguettes or french bread.

But these turned out beautifully - obviously.

So more to come later, I can't give everything away today in one post - well two since I did one this morning too. Banana bread and cookie dough stuffed Oreo's are on my brain. So you will see the results soon.