The Cat is in the Bag

Wait, that’s not right. I distinctly recall making… a bread bag! (Although I’m sure that won’t stop my cats from trying to get inside it whenever they get the chance.)

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After months of saying “I really want a bread bag”, I finally did it. My glucometer purse is still in the making and I have to check if the machine can actually feed the cotton fabric and the knitted fabric through at the same time, but that’s not going to stop me now.

I obtained two kitchen towels from the dollar store and some shoe laces and set to work after reading through this lovely tutorial. I quickly found out that I had massive towels at 65x65cms each (which is about 26x26inches). For my loaves that’s really just a tad too big. I measured around a little and finally settled down for just folding them in half. Which, coincidentally, turned out amazing because the pattern is divided into one half stripes, one half solid color. Instant double pattern!

To avoid a lot of heartache over wasted fabric, I used an old kitchen towel that was worn down with large holes and faded colors to try this on first. A good idea, because I made a handful of mistakes that I neatly avoided when it came down to the real thing!

That didn’t change the fact I broke two needles in the machine when I tried to sew the first part. I didn’t realize that the towel’s own hems, folded over twice already from the factory sewing and then folded twice again by myself was too much for the poor foot to handle. The fabric got stuck, the needle couldn’t go anywhere and SNAP, all sorts of mayhem all over the damn place. I’m grateful that I have a  whole bunch of replacement needles. After the second one broke I decided to snip off the hems and just go with a bigger needle, even though the rest of the towel was pretty thin and had no problem with the smaller needle. Lesson learned!

I happily sewed along and didn’t really run into any other problems after that. Feeding the shoelace through the fabric was a bitch, so I ended up tying it to my crochet hook and shoving that stupid thing through instead. No more headache for this gal!

I am super happy with the end result and the only thing that struck me as annoying was the length of it. Don’t get me wrong, I need a big bag for large loaves of bread. I do bake those. But I had this small loaf I made last night that had so much room in the darn thing it felt like throwing a loaf down a hallway. Very annoying!

Armed with pins and more sewing thread, I sat down and cut up the second towel after a bit of measuring. Fifteen minutes later my bread bag became a mommy to a little bread baggy!

This whole process was immensely fun and interesting with a tad of frustration on the side. I’ll never stop loving to knit, but there are just some things that are better off being sewn instead. (Plus it’s nice to take a break from each hobby every once in a while to recharge!) I’m on the path to learning both trades and utilize them for their own respective usefulness. Hurray!

Oh no, the crumbs!

So I cut the cake I baked and was immediately disappointed with the texture; too crumbly! I may have been impatient and cut it before it completely cooled though. (Yes, shame on me! I’m not a patient woman.) The flavor is fine, just sweet enough and no funny aftertaste, just a bit of lingering sweetness from the residue cake on my tongue.

Now the slightly too crumbly texture could be a number of things. I may have measured the amount of sucralose wrong which affected the texture (volume may work better than weight in this case). I may have cooked the cake too long. I may have used too small an egg. Maybe the cake needed more time to cool so that the butter holds the whole thing together better.

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Still, the bites turned out better than I’d hoped. I virtually can’t tell the difference between the real sugar and sucralose version in taste. Now keep in mind that the artificial sweetener does not have the same effect on texture as sugar does so that will always play a factor, but I think I’m fairly happy having a working substitute for my sweet tooth that is safe and yummy!

If you decide to make a buttercake yourself, don’t gorge. It’s a very hearty, rich treat and just two pieces may leave you full and satisfied.

I’m sorry for so many new posts in just a day, but to those who’ve been following my progress real time, thank you for your likes and companionship on this experiment! 🙂

It’s alive!!

I pulled my buttercake out of the oven exactly one minute ago, took a picture and rushed to here to update you on my findings of the sugarfree recipe. First of all, it looks hella good:

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I followed the recipe for 250 gr flour / 200 gr butter / 17 grams sucralose / 1 egg and added some lemon zest to it while I was at it (you can add some vanilla or rum flavoring too, whatever strikes your fancy – the basic recipe can be adjusted in many ways!). Interesting to notice is that this 24cm springform pan didn’t quite fill out so well with these amounts, so I’m tempted to make any future batches with 300/250/20 (the sucralose amount depends on how much I like the taste of this cake!). The cake is supposed to be thin, but I get a feeling this one’s a little too thin.

It also shrunk a little from the insides, which a buttercake with sugar never did before when I made them. It may just be the amount of dough though. The smell is delicious – exactly like the original recipe!!

Can’t comment on texture and flavor quite yet, as I’m allowing it to cool in the pan before I cut and taste it, but so far it seems like it’s working out nicely. Keeping you posted!

Sugarfree buttercake

I like to eat sweet things. I like to bake. Now that I’ve been diagnosed this has become a hurdle.

After some research I’ve found sucralose – an artificial sweetener made from regular table sugar with no calories whatsoever. It tastes just like sugar without the common artificial sweetener aftertaste. At least that’s what the package and numerous websites tell me! It’s suitable for baking too.

I obtained a jar today from the store and will be baking a “boterkoek” today. It’s Dutch for “buttercake” and possibly the simplest cake recipe around.

250 grams flour
200 grams butter
175 grams sugar
1 large egg
Pinch of salt if you use unsalted butter

The proportions vary in some recipes and some people melt the butter, but the idea is the same – whisk the egg, combine all room temperature ingredients into a firm sticky dough, leaving about half the egg for brushing the cake with. Press the dough in a round greased baking pan or dish (24cm/9″ diameter), use a fork to draw a diamond pattern and brush with the remaining whisked egg. Put the cake in a preheated oven at 175° Celcius for 25 minutes until golden brown, use a toothpick to test if the cake is done. Leave it to cool completely in the pan or dish before removing and cutting into small, 5cm/2″ squares. Buttercake tastes better after a day or so. Store in an airtight container or in decorated airtight glass jars for gifts!

It’s a very rich treat, hence the small cut portions, and goes well with some afternoon coffee or tea.

As you can imagine this is a very bad treat for a diabetic. Almond and coconut flour is stupidly expensive in the Netherlands, otherwise I’d try baking with that. As it is I’m going to replace the sugar in this recipe with the sucralose (17 grams) and see if it’s any good. The small portions and lack of sugar shouldn’t have too much of an impact on my glucose levels.

I’ll keep you posted on how it turns out!!