Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Pineapples: A website for everything

I do have another post to write about yesterday's "Maple Oatmeal Bread" (verdict: awesome!). But first, I must share: http://www.howtocutapineapple.com/.

This site follows the classic web business model: do one thing and do it well.

I love it!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Pizza Glut: Seasoned Whole Wheat Pizza, take two

Just a quickie. I will take more pics and document better in the future, I promise!

Dough:
  • 1 packet yeast
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp dried basil
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1.5 cups all-purpose flour
Preheat oven to 500 degrees. (It needs to heat for an hour to get the right temp for the crust!)

Mix dry ingredients except all-purpose flour together. Add water and oil and stir to mix. Slowly add the all-purpose flour 1/2 cup at a time until kneadable. Knead for 5-10 minutes. Place in an oiled bowl for 1 hour.

Punch down the dough, divide into two balls and let rest for ten minutes. Shape the dough into rounds (or whatever shape suits you) and place onto oiled cookie sheets. Top with sauce and favorite veggies.

Notes:
  • This was a winner! Top flavor, mmmmmmmm so good!
  • I didn't follow my own advice -- I added some dry ingredients after the water. Silly me, it just makes it more difficult to mix it up.
  • Also, I tried too hard to get two nice-sized pizzas out of this one, and ended up with crust that was too thin, as in there were holes in the dough after I pressed it out. Bad idea, as no crust means no support for cheese, sauce, and veggies. I didn't feel like starting over after the little hole developed so I just hoped it would "fill itself in." Fat chance.
  • Finally, I must use aluminum foil on top of the pans next time. Not sure what I was thinking, but cleanup sucks when you just oil a cookie sheet. They now have a few more permanent stains.

No pictures again. So sad.

Monday, June 18, 2007

On freezing dough

Today's thaw day. If this works it could change EVERYTHING! And by "everything," I mean how much pizza dough I make this week. :-)
This article makes freezing and thawing look easy. I like easy. Still, I have doubts that it's going to work well. Won't the dough dry out as it thaws? Or over-rise and collapse in the oven? I guess we'll find out.
One thing I think I need to invest in is wax paper. Dough sticking to plastic wrap is a bummer.

UPDATE: This worked flawlessly. Dough removed from the freezer at about 7:30 AM had doubled in bulk by about noon. I turned the oven on at 11:30, put it in the oven at noon and had fresh bread for lunch.
And about the wax paper... Using plastic wrap sprayed with olive oil works perfectly. Maybe not as low-fat, but olive oil is so good for you, who cares!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Bread Alert: Too Much Dark Sour Bread

I'm going to start a "lessons" tag so I can easily refer to all the things I need to remember whenever I bake. Here's one:

Remember to take into account the liquid in the sponge!

A loaf of bread contains approximately 1 1/4 cups of liquid, and then enough dry ingredients to hold it together. Two loaves means 2.5 cups of liquid or so.

Mrs. Rouftop is always concerned about the sponge being too dry. She set this one with 1.5 cups of water. When I began baking today, I started by adding all the liquids from my Dark Sour Bread recipe: 1.5 cups of beer, .5 cup water, .5 cup molasses. All of a sudden, I'm staring at 4 cups of liquid in a bowl. And I'm thinking: doh!

This recipe is adapted from Bernard Clayton's Complete Book of Breads. (If you're looking for a good bread cookbook, you can do no better!)

The Sponge
  • 1 cup bread flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 packet yeast
  • 1 heaping tablespoon apple butter

Mix the ingredients, cover with plastic and let sit for two days. (One day would be more than enough. It really doesn't seem to matter. I didn't have time to bake yesterday, so I just waited. The sponge fermented more. It was fine, thankfully it didn't spoil.)

This recipe makes 3 or 4 nice round loaves.

The mix
  • 1 1/2 cups beer, preferably flat
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup wheat germ
  • 2/3 cup cornmeal
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • enough bread flour to fill out the dough (3-4 cups)
Heat the beer on the stove until it simmers. If the beer is not flat, you will need to stir it constantly -- once it hits the boiling point, it will foam up very fast. Turn off the heat, and add the water, butter, molasses and salt. Allow it to cool to 115 degrees (warm, not hot to the touch).
Add this mix to the sponge and stir. Add the wheat germ and cornmeal, then the whole wheat flour 1/2 cup at a time. Continue to add bread flour 1/2 cup at a time until it forms something remotely kneadable, then turn it out onto a very well floured surface. This is incredibly sticky dough, so be prepared to use a lot of bread flour on your hands and kneading surface! Knead for 10 minutes until it has that earlobe consistency we know and love.

Transfer the dough to a well-oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Place in a warm spot and allow it to double in bulk, about an hour and fifteen minutes or so.

Prepare cookie sheets by covering with parchment paper and dusting with cornmeal.

Punch down the dough, then divide into 3 or four pieces. Shape them into rounds and place on cookie sheets. Cover with plastic wrap that's been greased with vegetable oil and allow it to rise until again doubled, one hour.

Twenty minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake for 30 minutes or until they sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.

Notes:
  1. My solution to the massive quantities of dough: After shaping two loaves into rounds, I shaped the remaining dough into a long torpedo, covered in oiled plastic wrap and placed in a sturdy plastic bag, then stuck it in the freezer. This is my first time freezing dough, we'll see what happens!
  2. The flavor is really good, but all the extra flour diluted the goodness of the beer and molasses. The original recipe called for only 1.5 cups of whole wheat flour and 1 cup of bread flour; I used at least twice that.
  3. Another effect of too much dough: it's harder to knead. I think it needed more time than I gave it, as the loaves were flat and lifeless at the end.
  4. I remembered to preheat the oven! Yay! Then I forgot to put the bread on time. Boo! I don't think that was what caused the flatness.
  5. Greasing plastic wrap. It's key. I finally can keep it from sticking to my already-shaped loaves. Wax paper would probably work even better.
  6. Don't get me wrong, this is delicious. I highly recommend it.

Photos:

Heating the beer: I figured a nice wheat beer would really do the trick. New Belgium Mothership Wit, in this case. Let's see, 24 ounces of beer = 3 cups, this recipe calls for 2 cups... What do I do with that last cup? Any ideas? Anybody? Hmm. I'll think of something.
Here's the sponge. I should have known I was in trouble just from the size of it.
In the middle of mixing it up, and it's just getting bigger.
After rising. Yes, it's OUT OF MY BOWL!
Two loaves left to rise...
... one wrapped up for the freezer.
After the second rising. Holy crap-o-moly!
A somewhat flattened, but truly delicious, turkey sandwich.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Flash Videos

Flash video is great. But if you're brand new to it, it can be daunting figuring out how to get it to work. It doesn't help when your web server is returning 404 errors for a file that you KNOW is there.

To solve, you have to map the .FLV extension to video/x-flv in IIS.

I don't know why MS chooses to show a 404 instead of some other access denied error. For that matter, I don't know why you can download an MPEG without doing any mapping. Some things are best left alone.

Setting up MIME types for Flash on IIS

I'm probably going to bake some chocolate chip cookies tonight, but I don't think that's worth blogging about. The recipe is on the back of the chips. The rest is left as an exercise for the reader.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Launching a Process from ASP.NET 1.1

I've been grappling with some pretty crappy code lately, as I try to rescue a project from another coder's gross mismanagement. Features are poorly implemented or not implemented at all, there is code duplication everywhere, the whole thing makes me want to scream bloody murder and take an axe to it.

One big problem was integrating with a third-party COM object that just plain didn't work under ASP.NET. The component creator had no advice on the matter, so I took things into my own hands and wrote a console application that wrapped the object's core functions. Then came the pain: how do I invoke a process from C# that runs as a given user (Network Service won't cut it) and doesn't show a window?

Here's the result of a ton of Google searches and the pulling out of much hair. It uses the Windows API call "CreateProcessWithLogonW" (can anybody explain why windows API coders use such arcane nomenclature?), and sets flags to keep the process hidden. (The real gem was finding the @"winsta0\default" line -- without this your process cannot execute from ASP.NET. Why? Hard to say from merely Google. Perhaps if I bought a book.) Feel free to incorporate this into your own code, most of it came from this handy site.

UPDATE: I spoke too soon. This ONLY works if the user I log in with is in the Administrators group -- not good! I'm going to take a completely different tack. If anybody knows what I'm missing to make this work with a non-admin, chime in in the comments. Even if it's five years from the posting date, I'd love to know what I did wrong!

Show Code


Sunday, June 3, 2007

Bread Alert: Marbled Rye

Mrs. Rouftop had a great idea today. "I'm going to bake a marbled rye bread," she declared. Then she looked at her to-do list and became despondent; as usual, she was trying to squeeze too many things into her Sunday. But it sounded like a fun bread to make, so I took up the challenge.

Sponge:
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup bread flour
  • 1 package yeast
  • 1 heaping tbsp apple butter
  • 2 cups water

After allowing it to sit for a day, divide the sponge into two large bowls.

Pumpernickel Bread:
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp caraway seed
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 c water
  • 2 tbsp molasses
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1.5 c rye flour
  • 1.5 C. bread flour

Rye bread:

  • 1 c water
  • 2 tbsp packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp caraway seed
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 cup rye flour
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

In each bowl, add non-flour ingredients to the sponge and stir to mix. Add the rye flour, then gradually add the bread flour until the dough is stiff enough to knead.

Knead each one for 5-10 minutes, then oil two bowls and allow them to rise separately. Punch down each one and knead briefly to get the air bubbles out.

Using your hands, flatten the rye bread into a large rectangle, then flatten the pumpernickel bread on top of it. Keep the pumpernickel rectangle a little smaller than the rye. Roll the combined rectangle into a cylinder. Divide the cylinder into two loaves, then pinch the ends so that you cannot see the pumpernickel at all -- only the rye exterior. Place on a cookie sheet that's been dusted with cornmeal, and allow to rise one hour.

Twenty minutes before the rising is through, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake the loaves for 30 minutes or until it sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.

Notes:
  1. Hooray, I preheated the oven in time!
  2. These loaves were ginormous because I failed to account for the water in the sponge, and had to add bread flour accordingly. That said, too much bread is hardly a problem 'round these parts.
  3. The loaves were placed on one cookie sheet. As a result, they grew together, so when they came out of the oven they were conjoined and needed separating. To try to toughen up the exterior where they were pulled apart, I reversed them in the oven and baked for an additional five minutes. Next time I suspect two loaves will merge I'll place them on separate cookie sheets.

Photos:

Mixing up two loaves of bread.
Ebony and ivory...
... rise together in perfect harmony...

...side by side on my counter (okay I'll stop now)The pumpernickel goes undercover.
Fresh outta the oven, wow did these guys rise!

We found this really tasty with Cypress Grove Lamb Chopper cheese.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Pizza Glut: Seasoned Whole Wheat Pizza

This one's just a quickie without photos. I made another pair of pizzas last night. The sauce was the same as last time -- my wife had thrown the leftover in the freezer and so I merely had to thaw it.

Dough:
  • 1 packet yeast
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1.5 cups all-purpose flour
Toppings:
  • 1/2 c cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 green bell pepper, sliced into rounds
  • 1 small white onion, chopped
  • shredded mozzarella cheese

Sauce: See my previous article

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. (My cookbook recommends it be preheated an hour in advance of baking.)

In a large bowl, sift together the yeast, whole wheat flour, salt, garlic powder and basil. Add water and oil and stir until well mixed. Slowly add the all-purpose flour until the dough is stiff enough to knead by hand. Turn it out onto a floured surface and knead for 5-10 minutes, adding more white flour as necessary to keep it from sticking. Oil a bowl, drop the kneaded dough and and give it a spin so the whole surface is covered with oil, then place plastic wrap over the top and let rise for one hour.

Sautee the onions in olive oil until translucent. Add peppers and cook for an additional minute.

Punch it down, divide into two balls, and let rest for 20 minutes. Oil a pair of cookie sheets, then squish down the dough onto the sheets so they're nice and thin, with a slight ridge on the edges. Cover with sauce (leaving a little room around the edges), sprinkle with cheese, and arrange toppings evenly. Bake for 10-15 minutes.

Notes:
  1. I lowered the oven temperature to 475, but I think that was a mistake. The crust was not quite as perfect as last time.
  2. The amount of herbs and garlic can definitely be increased; I could barely taste them. I'm going to try for a tablespoon of basil next time, and maybe 2 tsp of garlic powder... and some oregano for good measure.
  3. Whole wheat crust is yummy!
Previously: Pizza Glut
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