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Baking...

I am off work still. I went to see my Doctor and explained that while I might be capable of doing a desk job, the active job I do is not something I should really walk back in to with only a bowl of rice rattling around my insides. He agreed, so I will return to work on Friday. Yeah, do one day, then a weekend. Still, I have to weigh up not working against not earning.

I am thinking of food now, but even so it's perhaps a little in advance of my beleagured tummy...

So what's a Rick to do?

Baking.

Light baking.

Sometimes I get in the mood where I like to bake stuff. And last night was such a night. Maybe the "making" of it is a sort of nerdy equivalent of comfort food?

 

Water biscuits / crackers

This was an exercise in just imagining what sort of stuff would be in a dry cracker, and how would be the simplest way to arrive at the same sort of thing.

  • About 300g flour
  • About 75g butter
  • Around half a teaspoon of salt
  • Water

To make, I threw everything into the bread maker and set it to the dough cycle. Leave the lid open and walk away for a while. Give it some time to start to mix up the ingredients. Progressively add water to help it be mixed into a solid dough lump. You want a moist, plump ball of dough that is elastic, but doesn't stick to everything. If you add too much water and it goes a little sloppy, don't panic. Let it mix for a minute, and if that doesn't help, add some flour. This is not chemistry class, it doesn't need to be exact.

When you've done that, and the dough ball is rattling around in the pan, close the lid and let it get beaten around for a while. Saves you doing it...

Dough ball

Preheat your oven to 220°C. That is gas mark 7, or 425F.

Next, pull off pieces about the size of a ping-pong ball. Run it through a pasta machine's rollers on the widest setting [note - your machine may behave oddly requiring a lot of spinning of the rollers for little output, this is because the dough is a totally different consistency to that which is normal for pasta]. Fold the sheet over, put it through the rollers again. Repeat this several times to work the dough, you might feel it change slightly.

Rolling the dough

Now set the rollers on the next level down (closer) and roll one last time. Lay your strip out on a lightly floured board. If it is too large for your oven, tear off the excess and either lay them out seperately or return them to the dough ball.

When you have enough to cover a baking sheet, lay them out and bake. Speed depends upon your oven, but they ought to start to brown in under ten minutes. When they do, turn them over.

Baking it

When the biscuits are brown on both sides, take them out and put them on a plate to cool down.
When they are cool enough to handle, snap them in to managable sized pieces, and let cool.
For some reason, I forgot to take a picture of this!?

Never mind. They would be nice with a blob of something like Philadelphia or Boursin spread on them. But as I'm not 100% yet, I eat mine plain. They would also be an interesting diversion for a friend's night in as they are dead easy to make and a welcome change from pre-pack nibbles. I bet they'd dip in salsa nicely too.

 

Idea: This doesn't seem too far removed from pitta bread. If you want a try, try rolling out the dough to around 8mm and seeing if that works. I wonder, however, if you might need more water and less butter for a proper pitta.

Note: Wipe off your pasta machine well, for this dough contained butter, which isn't usual in pasta dough. It won't harm the machine, not like washing it would...

 

Shortbread

Since the oven was on, I decided I might push through some shortbread biscuits. It is a really simple recipe, so it was no trouble to make. The biscuits came out a little dry as I knocked back the amount of butter (butter is hard to disgest), and as mom isn't a great lover of sugary things, I eased up on the sugar too.
The biggest difficulty, actually, was in finding a mixing bowl. In the end I settled for a rice strainer bowl (you can see a bit of it in the background).
Shortbread dough

I pressed the dough flattish with my hands, no bother for rolling pins, and sliced it up into biscuit-sized pieces and laid them out for baking.

Shortbread ready for baking

Once they turned a bit brownish (15-25 minutes), they came out, cooled, and were rapidly appreciated. ☺

 

Your comments:

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joe, 3rd May 2011, 01:19
Hi Rick, 
this is a really nasty thing, you caught, I had it once, last year but it lasted only one week, milk products were going stright through me. I used to eat Chinise or Vietnemese fish soup, couldn't eat any breads. 
You have to believe in your pover to heal yourself. 
I use Opera mini now and it works OK, as you can read it, only zooming fiture doesn't work, the rest is good.
joe, 5th May 2011, 02:32
You should try chilli, it is the best medicine in the world for such illness, when you are better, try Vietnamese rare cooked beef salad, it is beef filet "cooked" in lemon juice, with chilli, some Chinese herbs and vegetables.
Rick, 5th May 2011, 14:49
Hey Joe - good to see it's all working with Opera Mini. 
I'm not sure I'd want to try chili. What was coming out was burning enough without adding spices. But we've just strayed way into TMI territory, so I'll leave it there. ☺

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