Miz Scarlett triumphs

February 19, 2011

Damn, I love this KitchenAid mixer! She’s moved right in and made herself at home, and since I’ve been here all day, rather than en route to Nashvegas, as I expected to be by now, I’ve put her to use.

Can I just say....Yum?

She made short work of the Guinness Whole Wheat bread this morning. And then I put her through her paces on a two-loaf batch of honey/cornmeal bread this evening, when I figured surely if I started something involved like a three-rise yeast bread, Child B would go into labor.

Nada. But the bread smells wonderful, and looks better.

And I made ricotta. It was easy, albeit messy, and I learned the hard way that you don’t want to pick up the long side of your cheesecloth before you pick up the short side. It ain’t a good thing. I figure I lost probably a third of my cheese curds down the drain on that smooth move. But I’ve got nearly a pound of ricotta, from about a gallon of milk, and I think I’m going to use it in lasagna tomorrow.

Say cheeeeeeeeeeeese!

I heated my milk and my buttermilk (3 quarts of milk; 1 quart buttermilk) together until it was around 180 degrees. Then I took it off the heat and let it set for 30 minutes, as the recipe directed. I suspect it would have benefitted from setting longer. Then I commenced dipping the curds out with a strainer, which did not work well. So I took my cheesecloth-lined colander, set it over a mixing bowl (because I wanted to save the whey to make bread with), and did that. That was about the time I had the oops with the cheesecloth, but I salvaged most everything.

Finally, I got my amorphous mass of cheese curds gathered up in the cheesecloth, which I rubber-banded shut and hung over the faucet, just like the about.com website said do it.  And some more whey drained out, and I finally opened up the cheesecloth and spooned the curds up into a plastic thingy to refrigerate.

Of course, I had to taste-test. It’s good. I don’t know that it’s good enough to be worth all the angst it put me through, but I’ll be better prepared to make it next time, too. I think it’s going in lasagna tomorrow, if I don’t get The Call tonight.

This cornmeal honey white bread, though — this stuff rocks. It’s just about Sweet Baby Jesus bread. The recipe is here: http://www.food.com/recipe/honey-cornmeal-yeast-bread-106828. The only thing I did differently was to use the whey from the cheesemaking in the bread. It said you could use it for anything you’d use buttermilk in — and while this recipe didn’t call for buttermilk, it’s been my experience it usually works just about as well.

The bread is slightly sweet, slightly nutty, with a smooth, rich crumb; I can only imagine how good it’ll be, with fig jam, for breakfast tomorrow. And Miz Scarlett…I mean, it’s just way cool to flip a switch and stand there and watch her quietly do her thing. I think I’m going to be making a LOT of bread.

I love the way this mixer works. It’s simple, but it’s solid. You can feel it when you change out the attachments, feel it when you lift and lower the bowl. It’s just a well-crafted piece of machinery. Yes, I have a feeling Miz Scarlett and I are going to be good friends for a long, long time.

I’ll let you and y’mama ‘n ’em know if we get to the point of matching outfits, made from the curtains.

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