Wednesday, April 9, 2008

When the Staff of Life Wins the Lotto...

Something quick tonight, because I was dumb and forgot to post this morning when I had time. Actually, no, that's a lie. I didn't forget. I was caught up in things... yes, that's it! After a wonderful workout at the gym and getting caught in the rain taking my car in for some major service, I hadn't had breakfast yet and was grumpy. So I turned to my newest cookbook (which I did actually make something from but you will have to wait for my official review!!) for comfort, and eschewed my extraordinarily tempramental computer for most of the day. But now it's edging on midnight and I have a very special recipe for you to celebrate a very special event that made my rainy day a bit brighter.

Here's the story: after realizing that my Baking Arts classes at George Brown College were going to be cancelled for a while due to the Go*d@mn construction in the building, I poked around for another option that would allow me to pursue my love of all things culinary and health-related. I found my answer *cue "holy light effect"* in the Food and Nutrition Management programs offered at both George Brown and Centennial Colleges.

Apparently, "[s]tudents in the Food and Nutrition Management program combine food service and nutrition knowledge with business and human relations skills to prepare for challenging careers in the food service industry" (Centennial College). Essentially, I'll wind up a nutritionist. Dude! Papers that will give me the liscense to lecture those around me on their eating habits! Just kidding, really. But, I do want to gear my focus onto childhood nutrition and wind up working for the elementary schooling system to overhaul how both children and their parents understand food as a whole, not just calories / fat / vitamins, but where it comes from and the work it takes to come from the farm to the table (kind of like a blend of Jamie Oliver's School Dinners campaign and Paul Finkelstein's Screaming Avocado program is what I have in mind). I sent off my papers, fought with OUAC over my transcripts and waited. I didn't really worry about getting in, though. Call me cocky, but I know that I'm smart enough to get into the programs without trying (even my math mark!) so it was just a matter of time.

So yeah, I got in officially today. Now it's just a matter of deciding which school gets to deal with me on my good (and not-so-good) days. Did I ever mention I was really really bad at making descisions? I'm leaning towards Centennial for the sheer fact that drills in my ears all day + busy train traffic to and from downtown doesn't equal "happy fun times" (quote Teaghan) for moi. Downside to Centennial is no St. Lawrence Market trips :-(. Prices for everything, eh?

So yes. A celebration is in order. The special ingredient of the day is (can we guess?)... saffron!! Yup, I'm back into the good ol' saffron stash and made something rather interesting with it this time... a semi-rich, braided raisin bread that I tweaked from Koekje's recipe that's here (also featured in last year's World Bread Day). Unfortunately, I'm still lacking in the 4-strand braiding procedure, but I tried, and the bread smelled SO AMAZING sitting there in the oven. Unfortunately (or fortunately, if like me you value my pain threshold) none of this made it into my body. Based on the reviews, though, if I had had a chance to nosh on this loaf o' goodness, I would not be disappointed! My mom ate her share (I divided it between her, my dad and Andrew) with butter with her morning coffee, but if she had the time she did mention French toast as a foil for the deliciously flavourful crumby bits left over. I forgot to soak my raisins this time but I won't forget the next - the ones sticking out burned slightly, looking like blackheads all over my pretty loaf!

Anyways, this is my version of the recipe, going out to the After Hours Party at Zorra's site (1x umr├╝hren bitte).

Saffron - Raisin Bread
Serves 20 - 1 large loaf
1/4 cup warm water
1 ½ tsp yeast
¼ tsp ground saffron
1/3 cup sugar
3 cups flour
2 cups whole-wheat flour
1 cup low-fat milk, warmed
2/3 cup warm water
2/3 cup raisins, soaked and drained
1 egg, beaten
3 tbsp canola oil
1 ½ tsp salt
  1. Dissolve the yeast, ground saffron and sugar in the warm water. Let stand 10 minutes.
  2. Place the flours into a large mixing bowl.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients, and the saffron/yeast mixture.
  4. Knead about 10-15 minutes – until smooth and elastic.
  5. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl.
  6. Let the dough rise on a warm and draft free place, about 2 hours, until it has doubled in size.
  7. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and deflate the dough.
  8. Divide the dough into two pieces.
  9. Make two strands of equal thickness and length, about 2 feet long each.
  10. Cross the two pieces over their center, placing the 'vertical' strand on top. Bring all four ends down toward you, making a large M shape.
  11. Move the far-right strand over the strand to the left of it.
  12. Move the second-to-the-left strand over the two strands to the right, making it the far-right strand.
  13. Move the far-left strand over the strand to the right of it.
  14. Move the second-to-the-right strand over the two strands over the two strands to the left, making it the far-left strand.
  15. Repeat these steps until the dough is braided.
  16. Place the braid on a lightly greased cookie sheet and cover.
  17. Let it rise for 60 minutes in a warm and draft free place until it has almost doubled in size.
  18. Preheat the oven to 350°F and bake the braid for 50 minutes. Remove to a wire rack and cool completely.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 168.2
Total Fat: 2.7 g
Cholesterol: 15.8 mg
Sodium: 22.4 mg
Total Carbs: 31.9 g
Dietary Fiber: 2.2 g
Protein: 5.0 g


  1. Great to see that you enjoyed my recipe and that your family loved it. Thank you for your response.

  2. this was such a yummy bread mmmmmmmmmmmm really good.

  3. Your plans for school sound great! Have you read about the schoolyard garden projects Alice Waters has done? And I've never had saffron in bread and I can't wait to try this recipe.

  4. Congratulations Sarah. My daughter is going to UBC-Vancouver to be a dietician as well:D


Thanks for the feedback!