Home for the Holidays

True, we never really left home, but the whole house has been in such a state of disarray for the past year that I haven’t really had access to most of my home.  Finally, most of the renovation excitement is over and I can get back into all of the rooms in my house (except for the office, but that is an ongoing problem of mine… I know I have a desk in there somewhere.  I suspect it is buried beneath that pile of “important” papers that I can’t seem to part with.)

I am back in the kitchen just in time for my favorite food season.  Halloween to New Year’s Eve is THE baking season.  I missed out on Halloween this year, so I’m just going to have to double my baking efforts Christmas.  (I’m gonna need more cinnamon.)

I just bought this new book from Amazon – The French Don’t Diet Plan: 10 Simple Steps to Stay Thin for Life.  Admittedly, I’ve only read the first 3 or 4 chapters… but the basic idea is that the French are so much healthier than Americans because they eat real food, not the processed faux food that is so prevalent in the United States.  Our bodies don’t know what to do with all the chemicals and crap we give it and so we are always feeling deprived and since our bodies are not made to digest the crap they treat it like toxins and the body struggles to keep us alive.  So far the main principals that I am taking from the book are: Savor – take your time, taste your food, enjoy.  Just shoving food into your head doesn’t count.  Portions – You can eat cheese and bread and sugar, just not Mega-Moo sized portions.  And my favorite – NO Faux Foods – if you need a chemistry degree to understand what is in your meal…. don’t eat it.

And since I am finally back into my kitchen…. I hope to start cooking more REAL things.  Today I made bread – not even breadmachine bread – REAL bread.  With my own hands!  My kitchen smells amazing.

Braided Peppery Cheese Rolls

from Taste of Home Magazine

Ingredients

  • 4-1/4 to 4-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 packages (1/4 ounce each) active dry yeast
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
  • 1-1/2 cups 2% milk
  • 1/4 cup butter, cubed
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Directions

  • In a large bowl, combine 2 cups flour, sugar, yeast, salt and pepper. In a saucepan, heat milk and butter to 120°-130°. Add to dry ingredients; beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Add 1 egg and 1/2 cup flour; beat 2 minutes longer. Stir in cheese and enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.
  • Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 30 minutes.
  • Punch dough down. Turn onto a floured surface; cover and let rest for 15 minutes. Divide into 36 pieces. Shape each into a 6-in. rope. Braid three ropes together. Pinch ends to seal. Repeat with remaining dough.
  • Place on greased baking sheets. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 30 minutes.
  • Beat remaining egg; brush over braids. Bake at 375° for 15-17 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pan to a wire rack to cool. Yield: 1 dozen.

Originally published as Braided Peppery Cheese Rolls in Best of Country Breads , p57

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