I do never really go browsing in shops anymore, so I took the opportunity to go to Williams-Sonoma to buy some egg rings. Technically, they are a little small for English Muffins, but I thought I'd try a recipe first and see what I thought before finding small rings that are slightly larger. (I did find some on the King Arthur Bread website, and they are super cheap too.)
Originally, I thought I would make the recipe in Martha Stewart's baking book, but after recent semi-disappointment with the super healthy wheat bread (that I made using the weights published in her book), I decided to go the fool-proof Alton Brown way. I have yet to make something he published (and either by weights or volumes) that failed to be anything less that fantastic... Crackers, Pancakes, you name it...he has a prominent place on my bookshelf. That, and his version took about a quarter of the time that Martha's takes.
After I get my larger rings, I will also break down and try Martha Stewart's more labor intensive version as well. I'm sure I will photograph the results.
When I saw her making this bread on her show a week ago, I knew I was going to have to make this. I really had to stop watching and DVRing Barefoot Contessa because I was eating up all the space on our recorder and because some of the shows I had seen 2 or 3 times already. Still, I can watch episodes again and again and imagine how it would be nice to have the counter space and oven space and endless baking pan collection in her fairytale Hampton's world. (I HAVE to get a kugelhoph mold to make her Baba au Rhum from another episode I've seen at least twice...) Her world of aesthetics is right up my alley. I think I was folding laundry the day I'm glad I watched it again - and of course it renewed my obsession and I promptly reset the DVR to record all the new shows.
Let me tell you, this bread alone is was worth the cost of her new book, The Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics. You can also find the recipe on the Food Network website, if you can't wait to order - or if you happen to doubt my assessment...
This bread was smelled so good when it was in the oven that I knew there was no way I was going to be waiting until it cooled completely to cut into it. As we had thick slices after our lunch, Boy-O loved it as much as I did - confirmation in my mind that I know he's going to grow out of his picky-eatingness. I am already sure that I will be purchasing a swanky little petite-loaves pan so I can make these at Christmas time to give away.
The end of my new recipe morning concluded with an enormous mess in my little galley kitchen. Sometimes I do really think I would like a dishwasher, though I wouldn't know where to put it. I'm just really thankful that the former owners of this 1948 home decided to add a small dining room onto the kitchen or I would really have been in trouble.