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Cooking bread with honey...and Jasper
Over the edge

In an effort to eat healthier, I'm trying to cut the refined sugars out of my diet, without sacrificing taste, or using "artificial give me the dash to the bathrooms" and to that end I figured I'd give honey a try as a replacement for sugar. My first test is my family-renowned Zopf bread, mainly because it requires a lot sugar, but it tastes oh, so good...

As this was an experiment (and I hate letting food go to waste) I cut the recipe in half so I'd only be making one, rather than two loaves.

1 C Milk
1/4 C honey
2 tsp yeast
1/4 C unsalted butter
1 egg yolk (two medium yolks)
2 tsp kosher salt
4 C flour (or so)

Warm the milk, without scalding it (should be able to put your finger in the milk without yelping in pain)

Stir in the honey.

Add butter and stir until slightly thick, brownish, and smooth.

Mix in salt and yeast. Let sit until foamy (about five minutes). Add egg yolk.

There is a short video over on my facebook that shows how my grandmother taught me to separate the egg yolk. It would be here, but for some reason flickr doesn't accept the validity of iphone movies.

Add flour and knead/mix until smooth. Any time you are adding flour, avoid the temptation to overdo it. The recipe calls for eight cups (halved in this case to four), and I think I used 3 3/4 C in this batch.

Let rise for two hours.

Punch down and let rest for a few minutes (I used this time to prepare my kneading surface)

Divide in half (quaters if making the full batch) and roll out into two strands.




Braid the bread by crossing the two strands over each other. The bottom strand always crosses over the top.

Preheat the oven to 400F. Move to pizza peal and let rise on warming stove for 30 minutes.

At some point during this rise process, while you are playing World of Warcraft with out of state relatives the following conversation may take place:

"Dad, Jasper's in the kitchen alone!"
*sounds of water being slurped from the dog dish*
"Yes, GR, I know. I can hear him, he's drinking water of his dish....everything is under control."
*Jasper saunters into the living room at the sound of people talking about him and flumps down with a contented sigh*
*continue slaughtering Murlocs*

Return to the kitchen and find...

Franticly open the oven to make sure someone hasn't mistakenly put the bread in the oven. Find it empty. Ask the family if they know anything about the missing dough.

Glare at Jasper, who's doing his best (and failing) to look nonchalant.

Roll your eyes as Google returns "Jasper and the Unbaked Yeast Rolls" as a top link in response to "dog ate raw bread dough" query.

After coming to grips with the fact that Jasper is now going to get bloated, drunk, depressed, and possibly die return to step one and start over.

For comparison:
Two hour rise on top of a warm oven.

Two hour rise on top of a cold oven.

Bake for 10 minutes at 400F and then 30 at 375F.

The end result came out sweeter and more moist than using the refined sugar did. The crust also came out darker and thicker, which indicates that I need to adjust the baking time. The Zopf wasn't burned, just darker and thicker than expected.

No Jaspers were harmed in the making of this bread.

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haha, Dad I love you.

and your way of writing.

I cant tell you how I laughed at this. I'm sorry, I hope your goggie is okay, but that's just too damned funny. =D

He's fine, though it was touch and go with the carpet for a while. He puked most of it back up.

How you been?

Oh man, that had to suck to clean up! Was it all sticky??

The last couple months have mostly been shit. Wes and I not getting along. AT. ALL. Bank losing a deposit of mine that was critical. Both kids being hospitalized two weeks apart with different kinds of pneumonia. Truck getting broken into. Purse stolen. Bank making my life hell and taking more than a month to close the checking account that the thieves had access to, all the while refusing to refund overdraft fees that weren't my fault, and then adding EXTENDED overdraft fees on top of those. Family drama. You know...fun times. I DID get to go to Ensenada with Hands of Mercy to build a house for a homeless family, which rocked me to the core. Can't wait to go back and do it again.

So far, the last few days have been without incident, and I'm thankful for that. The bank finally got everything sorted out, Wes and I have reached an understanding of sorts, and after a case of strep, the kids appear to be on the mend. I'm very much looking forward to Thanksgiving. =)

Oh and so you know...I've been distracted by things of late, but I'm still reading everyday, even if I don't comment or say Hi.

Must note that this honey is fresh - unpasteurized, from the hive honey provided by a co-worker. Originally intended for the boss-man, but as he left it behind, we were 2nd recipients of choice.

There might still be a bee leg or two in it.

I didn't want to mention that. I mean, that or the peanut butter, and the cheese cloth...

I promise not to use so much in the future. I think the bread was almost too sweet and next time I try a recipe I'll try a more normal loaf (1/2 teaspoon of honey) and see how that goes.

Thats some big ass bread.

Eat enough of it and you will have a big ass

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