Getting my Hot Cross Buns going for tomorrow.
First, put on a lovely vintage apron given by a sweet friend. Pockets are so very happy-making.
Use any sweet roll recipe.
You will be adding raisins and using honey for the sugar if you like.
See that jar on the right? That is your ticket to lovely, light, airy, toothsome bread. It's a total secret.
When you boil your potatoes, always keep the water. If you put it boiling hot into a clean (dishwashed or sterilized) mason jar, it will keep in the fridge until you are ready to bake. Just substitute from 1/4 to 1 cup of this liquid (with the solids if any got in there, it doesn't matter) for whatever your recipe calls for. You will see. It will transform everything. Try it in your pizza dough.
Use 1/2 the yeast your recipe calls for and just get started earlier. The less yeast you use, the longer you rise your dough, the nicer your bread will be.
We usually have HCB during the day for Ash Wednesday as well as Good Friday... along with whatever keeps us going (more for the kids, less for the adults). With a piece of cheese they are quite filling.
You can substitute whole wheat flour for some or all of the white (I use white wheat flour from King Arthur). With the potato water, this will not be the heavy dank bread you might worry about.
Do you happen to have any leftover oatmeal porridge? Throw that into your warm milk/butter/egg mixture.
In a mildly schizophrenic, at least culinarily speaking, way, we also always have mujadara for supper. I make it with cracked wheat rather than rice, usually about two parts wheat to one part lentils. I have a can of stuffed grape leaves I can open, and pita bread will round it out. Hot Cross Buns just don't go with that meal, obviously. Yet, they must be made.
If you want to read a bit about what I wrote about Lent last year, you can go here. But I'll tell you, I dread Lent because of one thing.
Listen, I'm all for getting holy and being all penitential, and I have the humility thing almost perfected now, so it's all good. But giving up ice cream!! Oh. It's so hard. Poor me, poor me! Go ahead, tell me about how you don't eat meat for 40 days and you sleep on the floor. That's what the comments are for.
As I told you in this strangely titled post, I'm going to be talking about what it really means to be a woman - and even more than that! I'll be musing on how women who embrace their vocation are going to be transforming the culture. Along with our wonderful, strong husbands. It will be like a window into the bracing truth, and if that post title is any indication, my skills are quite up to the job.
I don't care. I have been thinking about this for about twenty years, and I've decided the time has come for me to write something down. So, as I said, if you want to read along so that you know what the heck I'm babbling about, you can get On the Dignity and Vocation of Woman here, and you can order Leisure: The Basis of Culture here.
We will also talk more about cleaning, of course. I just love cleaning, don't you? No, me neither.
Another secret to good bread is to give the dough a rest. When you mix it up and it looks like this, don't keep beating it to get it to look smooth. Just cover it and walk away. In February just before Lent begins, stay away for about an hour. In July, 20 minutes should do it.