Thursday, October 9, 2008

What is that smell?

Recently a visitor asked me, “What’s that smell?” This question could be bad or good, depending on the odor. The ambiance of a home not only comes from d├ęcor and tidiness, but can also be enhanced by a pleasant smell. I had transplanted some herbs from my garden to indoor pots before the first frost of the season. I placed the potted herbs in rooms throughout my home. The smell my visitor was enjoying was cinnamon basil.

I use several other methods to bring pleasant smells into my home. When the weather turns cold, I place an old teapot filled with water and a few cinnamon sticks, mint leaves, sprigs of lavender or drops of essential oils on my wood-burning stove. This not only adds humidity to the air, the faint odor of cinnamon or other herbs waft through the rooms. At Christmas time, I place pine oil in water in the teapot to add to the season spirit. I have scented candles placed throughout the house and sometimes use an essential oil diffuser.

Home cooking adds warmth and pleasant odors to the home. There is nothing like the smell of a pot of spicy soup or baking bread. Yum! Unlike the original owners of this house, I am fortunate to bake bread in a gas oven rather than a wood stove.

Here is my favorite dinner roll recipe.

(dough can be stored in refrigerator for about a week)

1 cup milk, scalded (or warm powdered milk)
1 cup hot mashed potatoes (I mix up some instant potatoes)
½ cup oil or shortening
½ cup sugar
2 tsp. salt
1 tablespoon granular yeast
½ cup lukewarm water
2 beaten eggs
5 to 6 cups flour

Combine milk, potatoes, shortening, sugar, and salt in large mixing bowl; let stand until lukewarm. Add yeast softened in the ½ cup water and eggs. Add 1½ cups flour and beat well. Cover and let stand in warm place for 1 hour or until full of bubbles. Stir in 3½ to 4½ cups flour to make a fairly stiff dough. Knead until smooth on a lightly floured surface (I use my KitchenAid bread mixer with a dough hook). Return to greased mixing bowl; oil top of dough; cover and chill in refrigerator (or you can let it rise immediately until double in bulk, shape into rolls and let it raise again [about 30 minutes] and bake­). If you store it in the refrigerator, about 1½ hours before serving time shape desired number of rolls; place on greased pans; let rise 1 to 1¼ hours or until doubled in bulk. Bake in hot oven (425°) about 12 to 15 minutes or until lightly brown on top.
Punch down unused dough and store in refrigerator. Makes 3 dozen medium-sized rolls. Also great for making cinnamon rolls.

Cutting Cinnamon Rolls Easily

See my helpful hints on baking bread under Helpful Hints and Tips on the right side of this blog.­