Someday Has Finally Come

Someday, when I'm rich, I'm going to travel the world.

Someday I will find my prince charming and live happily ever after.

Someday, when I grow up, I'm going to be a supermodel.

Someday, someday, someday....

Someday I will master the art of yeast bread.

Do you ever find yourself saying things like this? And then you find yourself waiting around for Someday to come but it never seemingly does. Is it possible that Someday never actually comes around on its own unless you take action and make it happen?

Recently, I found myself home alone with some time to kill and this very question burned in my mind. I've always said that someday I'd master the art of yeast bread. Sure, I've had good days and bad days when it comes to yeast bread but I've never really considered myself a Master Of Yeast. Maybe I never will be. But as I flipped through my dust-laden copy of The Complete Cooking Light Cookbook, I landed on page 95 and was enticed by the pictures - I've always been drawn to cookbooks with pretty pictures. I had all the ingredients on hand and so it was that Italian Spinach-Cheese Swirls became my project for the day. Little did I know that today would be my Someday, at least as far as yeast bread was concerned!

My dough came together really well and since the recipe said to let it rise in an 85 degree room, I decided to take it upstairs to my bonus room where it was exactly that temperature. We're kind of cheap when it comes to air conditioning the upstairs, so we only turn on the thermostat when we're up there. After 45 minutes of rising time, I was greeted by a gorgeous poofy bowl of elastic dough!

Rolled out and layered with spinach and Parmesan cheese....things were still looking good.

A quick flick of the kitchen scissors to showcase the fillings, one more round of rising time, and I knew I was going to hit it out of the park. By this time, I'm starting to think that the optimum 85 degree temperature was the secret ingredient. In the past, my yeast creations just sat on the kitchen counter where the temperature was probably 10 to 15 degrees less than what it should have been.

Oh, yeah. Look at me. I got it. Slice it up and butter it because I. Am. The. Queen. Seriously, though. This was an easy recipe to follow and another bonus point is that you are rewarded with two loaves and can freeze the second one and enjoy it later. I will definitely make this recipe again but I'll make one small change. Instead of using the minced garlic and oil, I plan to use some roasted garlic to kick up the garlic flavor just a bit. I don't think you can ever have too much garlic!

Italian Spinach-Cheese Swirls

3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 large garlic clove,minced
2 pkgs. dry yeast
1 tbsp sugar
2 cups warm water
5 1/4 cups bread flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 package frozen chopped spinach thawed and squeezed dry
1/2 cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese
1 tsp dried Italian seasonings
1 tbsp water

Combine oil and garlic in a small bowl. Microwave at HIGH 1 minute; set aside. And cool, Dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water; let stand 5 minutes.

Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine 3 cups flour and salt in a large bowl. Add garlic mixture and yeast mixture; stir until well blended. Add 2 cups flour, stirring until soft dough forms.

Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic (about 8 minutes); add enough of remaining flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to hands (dough will feel tacky).

Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, running to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85º), free from drafts, 45 minutes or until doubled in size. (Press two fingers into dough. If indentation remains, the dough has risen enough.)

Punch dough down; cover and let rest 5 minutes. Divide in half. Working with one portion at a time (cover remaining dough to keep from drying), roll each portion into a 15 x 10-inch rectangle on a lightly floured surface Combine chopped spinach, Parmesan cheese, and Italian seasoning. Spread each portion of dough with half of spinach mixture, leaving a ½-inch border. Roll up each rectangle tightly, starting with a long edge, pressing to eliminate air pockets; pinch seam and ends to seal. Place rolls, seam side up, on opposite ends of a large baking sheet coated with cooking spray (you may want to use two separate baking sheets).

Working with one roll at a time, fold roll in half, placing one half directly on top of other half; pinch ends to seal. Using kitchen shears, cut through folded end of roll, cutting through roll to within 1 inch of opposite end. Twist cut halves of dough outward so filling faces up. Repeat procedure with remaining roll. Cover and let rise 30 minutes or until doubled in size.

Preheat oven to 350º. Combine egg white and 1 tablespoon of water. Uncover dough, and brush egg white mixture lightly over loaves. Bake at 350º for 27 minutes or until loaves are lightly browned and sound hollow when tapped. Remove loaves from pan, and cool in wire racks.



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