Friday, October 28, 2011

Homemade Tortillas

Once you have tried these, flour tortillas from the store will taste like starchy napkins. This recipe makes a lot of tortillas, but in my house we manage to use them all up in a couple of days. You will need a good rolling pin for this. I got mine at an antique store and it is a burly piece of hardwood.

Flour Tortillas

4 cups all purpose flour
4 cups bread flour
2 tsp - 2 tbsp salt (adjust to your taste)
1 cup vegetable oil
3 cups water
Some extra flour for rolling

Mix all the ingredients together. The dough will still be a little sticky. Pinch off balls a little bigger than a golf ball, and roll it out dusting with as much flour as you need to keep it from sticking to the pin or the counter.

My mom always cooked these in two cast iron pans, assembly line style, so that's what I do. If you adjust the heat just right, the first tortilla will cook on one side in the amount of time it takes you to roll the next one. Flip it over in the second pan, and put the next tortilla in the first pan. Once you get the hang of the rolling, it goes very fast.

Let all the tortillas cool down for a while before you wrap them up, so that the steam won't make them soggy. I keep mine in a gallon size ziplock in the fridge, though they'd probably be fine on the counter. When you want to eat them, you can warm them up on a stovetop or in the microwave...but you have to eat at least one hot off the press with butter and cinnamon sugar. It's the rules.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

RIP Sourdough Starter

It seemed like we were meant to be together, but alas, in the end you were just another mouth to feed. Our relationship was complicated, but I think we both failed each other. You failed to produce good bread, so I failed to feed you. Maybe we shall meet again in another life.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Scenes from a week

This week has been kind of crazy - lots of paperwork stress, court, taxes, and other worries. In the mean time, I try to keep sane and happy. Life is still pretty damn good, even with the madness. Some random thoughts from this week:
I found a seed sprouting thingy for a couple of bucks at the thrift store. The chickenses are very pleased. I even ate a few myself.
Knitty Kitty reclines in the sunlight. She's about seven years old now, and still looks great. Occasionally Sasha Cat hides her in the laundry and she gets felted a little smaller, but she takes it like a champ.

I am not exercising nearly enough for the amount of bread I am eating. There is a problem with this whole baking thing that I'll have to work on next week. Meanwhile, I made an awesome batch with brown sugar and raisins rolled in for this morning's meetup of Los Angeles Urban Chicken Enthusiasts.
Orangina can't even lay an egg in peace. Damn paparazzi.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

In which I become a baker

I've always wished I was a baker.  It seemed mysterious and crazy to me that you could just bake bread, any time you felt like it.  My mom made a lot of tortillas and a lot of biscuits, and on very special occasions yeasty dinner rolls and even sometimes homemade donuts.  The donuts had grated potato in them.  I haven't had anything like them since.

Many times have I tried to bake good bread, and many times have I failed.  A lot of the flops were still tasty and still eaten, but it apparently took me ten years of grown-up life to figure out that bread flour was really good for baking bread!  Anyway, I just turned 30 and now I am a real grown-up and I bake real bread. 

 I make a lot of messes along the way too.  That bread flour is really excitable.  My favorite bread so far has lots of garlic and thyme worked into the smells like pizza crust while it bakes. 
 Since Roxie asked, weather in Southern California is sunny, t-shirt weather, cooling down in the evenings with a strong chance of chickens, cape honeysuckle, and angel's trumpets. 
Off in the distance, behind the pretty flowers (I almost typed flours, bread on the brain) is my looming pile of junk to take to the dump. Our home renovations are piling up, even though I'm trying to reuse and recycle as much of it as possible.