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Tales from the Pantry: To Bake Or Not To Bake?

Larry Henderson for local2 sault ste. marie
April 28th, 2012 at 7:37am



This article is a column or editorial.
The opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of LOCAL2.

No, I did not fall off of the planet but have been extremely busy preparing for my retirement.

Shortly after my last column, I decided to retire, gave my notice and put the house up for sale.

bakingWith the market being what it is in Sudbury, the deal closed so fast we barely had time to think about it. With so much to pack, cooking and baking soon fell by the way. To top things off, the computer died and when we purchased a new one, it only lasted a week. Apparently this is a normal occurrence in computer sales land?

That being said, as I am on vacation this week and with a nearly empty home there has been a little time to enjoy things.

The nice part of cooking or baking is being able to freeze your creations for later use. Needless to say we have made an attempt to use those goodies since January. Now, with only the refrigerator freezer remaining, there is not much sense making large batches of baked goods or anything else.

However, in the freezer I discovered some buttermilk leftover from a long forgotten recipe. This is an ingredient that is a great addition to both sweet and savoury foods. I have a nice buttermilk biscuit recipe that we enjoy and the wife makes a cake that is very moist and delicious.

 
As luck would have it, most of the baking utensils are packed and in storage. No measuring spoons cups or bake pans can be found in our kitchen today. We are getting by with a few dishes, some cutlery, a fry pan and a couple of pots. My beloved spice collection is in a bin in storage so what to do?

One of the few things not packed was some flour, and with yeast in the fridge I figured maybe a few rolls would be okay. That will be the last baking for a while as we will finally box up the mixer and tomorrow empty the fridge.

The rolls, which were shared with my brother-in-law and a neighbour, turned out great, considering I had to guesstimate the measures. For your enjoyment, is the biscuit recipe and the one for the rolls which we enjoyed with chilli from the freezer.

Buttermilk Biscuits

Sift two cups of flour, 1 tablespoon baking powder, tsp. baking soda, and tsp. salt into a large bowl.

Cut in 5 tablespoons of shortening with a pastry blender and then add 1 cup of buttermilk. Stir with a fork until blended.

Turn dough onto a lightly floured board and knead lightly until smooth. Pat to inch thickness and cut with a glass. Place two inches apart on an un-greased cookie sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes at 425.

As for the bread, well I had to purchase a box of baking soda and then realized the cookie sheets were also in storage. This would take some thought. I checked the boxes of items set aside to donate. No pans, but there was a measuring cup in the trash pile. Lucky me!

I looked in the oven and on the bottom of the drawer was the broiler rack we seldom use. This improvised cookie sheet saved the day.

Problem solved, I began and the rolls were just great. Hope you try this and enjoy them like we have.

Buttermilk Rolls

1 packet yeast

cup warm water

1 cup warm buttermilk

cup oil

3 tbs. sugar

1 tsp. salt

tsp. baking soda

4 cups flour


Dissolve the yeast in the water. Allow to foam up and then add 2 cups of the flour and other ingredients mixing well. Add enough of the remaining flour to form a soft dough. Knead for 6-8 minutes making a smooth elastic ball. Let this rise in a warm draft-free place for 90 minutes.

Cut into 18 pieces, roll them into balls and place on a cookie sheet. Let these rise for 30 minutes before placing in a 400 degree oven. Bake for 15-20 minutes. (15 worked for me)

 By the way, I had no oil so I melted butter and added that. Butter is never a bad thing in baking, is it?

Might be a while before I bring you another tale but I will be back.

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