Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Hot & Buttery Popcorn Bread

For a weekend that began so well, the ending turned out very different.

When Friday arrived we eagerly got our things ready before making the trip to Atlanta for one of MM's rugby buddies wedding and the rest of the weekend was spent catching up, laughing and dancing the night away with good friends in celebration of a wonderful occasion and a beautiful wedding.

As the night rounded to a close, MM and I ducked out knowing that we had a flight much earlier than everyone else the next morning. We groggily packed our bags and slouched our way through the airport early that Sunday morning, all the while discussing everything that needed to get done later that day.

We boarded the plane, got comfortable and plugged in our ipods for what we thought would be the duration of the flight only to be interrupted about an hour in.. "We're sorry folks, but it looks like we're going to have to turn around..pressure issue."

I won't bore you with the details, but let's just say this was just the beginning.

3 planes, 3 mechanical issues, 2 terminals, 4 gates and 8 hours later, we were told there was no hope and new arrangements were being made.. oh, and the next flight out wasn't until 8pm the Monday.

Now I know what you're thinking... this should be the point in the story where I tell you how frustrated we got, yelled at the ladies behind the desk and got put on an earlier flight... but sadly that's not how it happened.

Don't get me wrong, we were extremely frustrated, but instead of raising a fuss like some of the other passengers did, we quietly gathered our things and very calmly discussed our situation with the lady behind the desk- She even offered to write me an excuse for having to miss work.

So instead of getting upset about everything we decided to make the most out of it. We collected our vouchers, checked into our hotel, snuggled up in bed and slept in the next morning.

And with 8 hours left in the city what better to do than check out the amazing Georgia Aquarium?

Although our trip didn't turn out exactly how we planned we ended up getting to spend a little extra quality time together and there's nothing wrong with that. Not to mention, we got to see the largest whale sharks in captivity.

So what does all this have to do with Popcorn Bread you ask? To be honest, nothing. Except now you know why this amazing recipe didn't get to you sooner :) I've been having to play catch up every since I got back and haven't had the time until now to catch my breath and write up this glorious bread recipe.

A little disclaimer: My work with yeast is an on-going adventure and this little guy didn't rise as much as I hoped.. hopefully when you give it a whirl it will rise as much as the picture in the cookbook showed!

Hot & Buttery Popcorn Bread
recipe from A Passion for Baking
Oven: 375 Prep time: 3 hours Bake time: 35-45 minutes
Makes 1 large loaf

5 cups of popcorn (about 1/3 cup unpopped kernels or about 1 bag of microwavable)
1 1/4 cup cup warm water (about 110degrees)
3 3/4 tsp rapid-rise yeast
2 TBS sugar
1/4 cup veggie oil
1 TBS butter extract (optional)
2 1/4 tsp salt
5-6 cups bread flour
1 large egg
2-4 TBS butter
pinch of sugar and salt

Pop you corn, whatever your fancy. Pulverize it in batches in a food processor or mini chopper until you have about 2 1/2 cups of very finely ground popcorn.
In a large bowl, whisk warm water and yeast together and let stand for about 2 or 3 minutes or until you start to see bubbles.
Briskly add sugar, oil, butter extract and salt, blending well.
Add popcorn flour and 3 cups of bread flour, mixing well.
Knead the dough with a dough hook attachment for about 6 to 8 minutes, adding flour as necessary to form a soft, elastic dough. (You could also do this by hand if you want)
Form dough into a large ball, spray with cooking spray, place in a large clean bowl and cover with saran wrap.
Place dough in a warm spot and allow to rise about 60 to 90 minutes or until almost doubled.
Spray loaf pan with cooking spray and set aside.
Once the dough has risen, turn out on a lightly floured surface and gently deflate.
Form into loaf and place into prepared loaf pan.
Whisk egg and pinch of salt and sugar in a small bowl.
Brush loaf with egg wash and loosely cover pan with saran wrap.
Return loaf to warm place and allow to rise again for about 45-60 minutes.
Preheat your oven to 375 and brush you risen dough once more with the egg wash.
Place bread in oven and immediately reduce the temperature of the oven to 350 (this will allow the yeast to get that extra kick and give you a nice fluffy loaf I was later told by MM)
As soon as the bread comes out brush with melted butter.
Allow bread to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes before turning out onto wire rack to cool completely.

Happy Baking!