Friday, 26 October 2012

Baking Day

There are some things for which the Amish are rightly famous: their woodworking skills, their quilts and their baking. In this age of economic downturn, the Amish are affected just as we are – diversification is the name of the game. All over America, Amish bakeries are springing up, selling homemade goodies, such as cakes, cookies and bread.

And now one in England, as I mentioned in an earlier post.

To be brutally honest, I dislike baking with a vengeance. It uses too many pots and pans, makes too much mess and creates too much washing-up (my other pet hate). Not to mention, it gets eaten faster than you can blink an eye, so you have to start all over again.

On the other hand, I do enjoy the satisfaction of taking something tasty and homemade out of the oven and the wonderful smells it generates while it is cooking. So, all in all, I bake, on a regular basis.

Friday is baking day. I have lots of Amish recipe books, but my family still prefers the English cakes, like Victoria sponge (in its many incarnations), so those are what I make more often than not. Today, for instance, I have made a chocolate and coffee cake (bottom half is chocolate; top half is coffee, with coffee butter cream filling) and some queen cakes (small buns with sultanas in them) and chocolate chip buns. Those should last us all week. There may be only the two of us, but my husband has a remarkable appetite for baked goods.

So how is that Amish, you might ask? Well, the Amish, as you are probably aware, don’t have electricity; they do everything the hard way – by hand. And so do I! There is enough washing up to do using bowls and spoons, without complicating it by using an electric mixer. So when a recipe calls for ‘cream together the butter and sugar’, out come my big glass bowl and a wooden spoon. There is something quite satisfying making cakes by hand, the ‘old-fashioned’ way – and it’s good exercise too, burning up in advance all those calories that I am bound to gain by eating the finished products!

I can't pretend to be the world's greatest baker, but I think they turned out okay, don’t you?

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