Baking on Hay Day vs. Baking in My Kitchen

Hola! Mushroom in da house! I am trying to mimic Little Sheepy’s (our other author) enthusiasm 🙂

I am trying something different today. I am posting  a review of a game app and recipes in one blog. How is that related? Read on.

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So I just recently got on the Apple iThing bandwagon and had a few sweet friends who suggested I try out some apps. One of them was Hay Day. Basically the game is about raising your own farm. You start off growing crops and raising a few animals. As your farm grows bigger and richer (cha-ching!), you would invest in machines that allows you to bake, make popcorn, juice, grill, weave cloth, just to name a few. You get a few truck orders which you need to fulfill to earn money and stars (points) for you to level up. In case you overstocked or just want to make extra coins, you sell goods at your roadside shop. Other players can find out about the goods you are selling through newspaper ads which will lead them to your store to purchase goods. As you level up, you get more crops, more animals and eventually get boat orders and your own mine. Oh, if only real life is that easy. I’ll make millions in no time.

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What draws you in? It’s the fact that something comes due every minute. You harvest wheat, then you check out the next thing that comes due: corn, carrots, chicken feed, your second batch of wheat, bread is done baking, cow feed, soybeans, your third batch of wheat, your second batch of corn, your apple tree needs harvesting… You get the idea. Before you know it, you are sitting in your chair, head down and eyes on the screen for 30 minutes. I kid you not. It is that addictive.

I was pretty addicted to it when I first got the app. So Mama Mushroom just can’t bear watching me like that. She said I might as well get a farm for myself and raise some real chickens. Real life ain’t fun. Real chickens lay real eggs, but they also poop. I, Mushroom, shall not live my live shovelling poop!

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Anyway… What Mama Mushroom means is that I should get a life. Haha. Nice advice. So like a real human being, I decided to try my hand at baking real white bread. Hey, I even have some bread baking in the oven at my Hay Day farm. The motivation? We ran out of bread one day and I was too lazy to go out and buy some more, especially when I have to take public transport to the store. The nearest family-run grocery store has bread for sale but I am so not paying $3 for a loaf of bread less than 8 inch long (suddenly am reminded of the whole Subway foot long issue LOL).

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So my first try was the Amish White Bread. I got the recipe off the internet, like any tech savvy (?) amateur baker.  The reason for choosing this recipe was because I ran out of milk that day and I wanted a recipe that does not require milk. Oh the horror, the horror. A bread-less and milk-less home?

I halved the recipe, only wanting to make a loaf. The reason being (1) I only have one bread tin, and (2) if the recipe tanked I would have less wastage. I like how the allrecipes website helps you halve the recipe with a simple click of the mouse.

The recipe can be found here: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/amish-white-bread/

Forgive the photo because I could not hold myself back and cut some slices of bread while it was still warm.  I made a cut down the middle of the loaf, attempting to make it look fancy, but it doesn’t seem to do much.   The texture of the Amish white bread was rather chewy, in a good way. The bread was firm and had volume, unlike the airy, spongy store bought breads. I am pretty sure if you squeeze the store bought loaves in your hands, all you’re going to get is a ball of bread smaller than your fist. This recipe gives you a rather sweet loaf because you get 1/3 cup of white sugar in each loaf. I made French toast with this bread and I enjoyed the chewy texture.

Sadly, I will not be making this recipe very often just because there is too much sugar in it.

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The second recipe I tried was the Betty Crocker Gold Medal Classic White Bread. Find the recipe here: http://www.bettycrocker.com/recipes/gold-medal-classic-white-bread/20967ff8-467c-4445-99b4-b3a97a554dd2

Halving the recipe gives you the following measurements:

3 to 3 ½ All purpose flour

1 ½ tablespoons sugar

½ tablespoon salt

1 tablespoon shortening

2 ¼ teaspoons of dry yeast

1 1/8 cups very warm water

I substituted the shortening with butter. I popped cold butter in the microwave for 15 seconds to let it soften. I actually made the wrong calculations earlier and put in 1 ¼ cups of water. I think the dough needed the extra 1/8 of a cup because it was still a little flaky despite the additional water. If you don’t know how to figure out the “very warm water” temperature, go ½ cup hot water and ¾ room temperature water. To gauge “room temperature” I have to tell you that I live in Vancouver, Canada, it is winter now and the heat is turned up to 25 degrees Celsius. LOL.

Forgive this photo as well because even though this time I waited for it to cool, I sliced it with a serrated knife, but not a proper bread knife. The texture is less springy and not as sweet as the Amish white bread. The taste of the yeast is stronger than the Amish bread recipe, probably because there is not as much sugar to mask the taste.

Both these recipes are basically the same except for the sugar content. I do not know what makes the chewiness different. Amateur baker alert! Probably it has got to do with how long I (more like my Kitchen Aid mixer) knead it and so on. These breads are easy to make with minimal work. All you need is to have time on your side.

Whatever recipe you choose to bake, it sure will fill your homes with aroma of bread baking in your kitchen. Sometimes I think that is the best part of baking.

Chow! (Ciao!)

Mushroom

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