“My recipe for dealing with anger and frustration: set the kitchen timer for twenty minutes, cry, rant, and rave, and at the sound of the bell, simmer down and go about business as usual”
We’ve all had those days. You know the ones where you want to grab someone, pull their hair out strand by strand, and gouge their eyeballs out with a fork – you know the ones. I’ve had loads of those recently and then I came across the above quote and thought that I needed to share it with other people so they too, might benefit from the recipe for sanity.
It’s interesting how individual ‘frustration thresholds’ vary from person to person. Some people react quite strongly to minor events or inconveniences and for others it takes quite a series of negative events before anger and frustration levels start to rise. When I begin to see red, I bake. I find it can be incredibly comforting and calming. Something about taking your mind off whatever it was that annoyed you and focusing on creating (and consuming!) sugary/savoury/ carby goodness, I think.
Think soft, melted cheese. Now think pillow-soft mounds of melt-in-your-mouth bread. Now think soft, melted cheese in pillow-soft mounds of melt-in-your-mouth bread. Now think soft, melted cheese in pillow-soft mounds of melt-in-your-mouth bread covered with a sugary glaze. Drool. The thought of it alone is enough to calm anyone down.
Cheesy Honeycomb Bread
You will need a 23 inch cake tin or a baking tin/ tins of any shape or size if you’re not fussed about it being circular.
You’ll need to make the glaze first using:
2 cups of sugar
1½ cups of water
2 tablespoons of honey
Pinch of saffron (this is optional, don’t worry about using it if you don’t have it)
Boil the sugar, water and saffron together until slightly thickened and then remove from heat to add the honey. Mix and set aside to cool completely.
For the bread you will need:
3½ cups of all-purpose flour
1 cup of milk
2 tablespoons of milk powder
½ cup of water (or less if you need less)
3 tablespoons of sugar
4 tablespoons of oil
4 tablespoons of melted butter
1½ teaspoon of instant yeast
½ teaspoon of salt
8 portions of cheese spread (I use these but feel free to use little mozzarella cubes or cheddar cheese cubes)
An egg to use for egg wash
Sieve the flour and add the milk powder, sugar, yeast and salt. Mix those together and add the oil, butter and egg, mixing it until it is all incorporated. At this point I turn my Kitchen Aid on and add all the milk and let the machine do the kneading (I’m far too pretty to work). Add water a little at a time until the dough is nice and soft. Leave it to knead for a good 6 – 7 minutes or knead for 10 minutes if you’re kneading by hand. Once done, brush the large ball of dough with some oil and cover the bowl. Set this aside for 40 minutes to an hour for it to rise and double in size. Now if you’re in a hot country, this will happen quite quickly, but if you’re in the UK or somewhere else where we’re not blessed with hot temperatures, put this in the warmest place you can find or on top of a radiator turned on low. That should speed things along.
When the dough has risen, punch it down (by far my favourite part!) and then break of tiny bits of dough. I roped in The Husband to do this with me – he is just as OCD-like as I am about getting all these to be the exact same size! The dough balls can be as large or as small as you’d like them to be. What we found was that if you wanted more filling than bread, use smaller balls so the cheese is quite literally all you taste as you bite into it. Take each piece of dough and stretch it out, placing a small piece of cheese in the centre. Then pinch the edges back together so the cheese is covered in dough.
Preheat your oven to 180C/ Gas mark 4/ 350 F. Grease a 23 cm cake tin with butter and then place the balls of dough in a honeycomb pattern. Place them in circles touching each other so there are little or no spaces in between. If you have time, cover this and set aside for a second rise. If not, these can go straight into the oven after you’ve brushed them with an egg wash for 20 – 25 minutes. You will end up with something that looks like this:
As soon as this comes out of the oven, apply the sugary glaze all over it and leave it to cool. You will then bite into something that looks like this: (Cue more drooling)
What I love about this recipe is how versatile it is. You can choose what shape it is (if you don’t care about it looking like a honeycomb), and whether or not you want a filling. You don’t even need cutlery to eat this, just break off pieces and enjoy with steaming cups of tea/ coffee.
Next time you feel the urge to scream or slap someone silly, walk straight into the kitchen and do this.