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Roses or Rolls?

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January 2, or 1/2/12...or...? Just figuring out ways to write today's date. That's one of the exciting activities I've been indulging in today, which makes it obvious that it's a pretty quiet day up here on Lavender Hill.

I did bake some rolls and bread, though. We had gone to dinner at the home of some friends Christmas Eve and I had volunteered to bring some dinner rolls. While I have made our breakfast bread for toast for a very long time, I hadn't made a lighter bread for awhile.

This dough was part bread flour and part King Arthur white whole wheat, with water, salt, yeast, a little olive oil and a dab of malt syrup. I started it the day before and let it rest overnight in the chill of the laundry room. On the 24th I shaped the rolls and baked them. They were good but not spectacular.

As I had made a large batch of dough, I let the remainder rest in the garage refrigerator all last week. Today I turned that dough, which had improved in texture and flavor, into pecan and currant cinnamon rolls. We had one for tea this afternoon, and they were good enough to make us consider foregoing dinner and having pecan rolls instead. Fortunately, age and good sense intervened, so we vetoed that idea.

No busy Christmas morning this year: it was the first time in all our years here that no kids or grands or Little Grandma had Christmas bread and tea or cocoa while opening gifts under the tree. They were some distance away, with their own trees and families.

We did have a small family gathering for dinner, and for that I decided to make a different dinner roll - one I used to make when I baked all our bread those ten years in Georgia, where Wonder Bread ruled on store shelves. Now, of course, some of the best bread ever can be found in and around Atlanta.

The rolls I made then and now were made of unbleached bread flour, yeast, water, salt, olive oil, with some wheat bran, wheat germ and flax meal added. The rolls turned out ok, but I had made a lot of dough, so I left it in the garage refrigerator until today. It just sat there and rested. Today I brought it into the kitchen and let it warm up. I then formed two loaves, let them rise, and baked them in my small toaster oven on convection setting. Just before baking, I sprayed the loaves with water, and tossed three ice cubes on the bottom of the oven, which made steam and formed a good golden crust. Now this was bread! As I said, it was a quiet day. And I have a confession to make. We do not watch football on TV except on rare occasions when someone is here who does watch. So the Rose Bowl Parade and the game went on without us.

I know; we're in the minority. We loved sports when our grandkids played. And once upon a time, I traveled all the way from Kansas City to Iowa City to watch the Univ. of Iowa beat Ohio State and go to the Rose Bowl. But then I personally knew some of the players.

Then, it mattered. Now I'd rather bake bread.

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