raisin & orange bread
3 cups breadmaking flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1 egg
1 tsp orange zest
2 tsp fast-rising yeast
1/4 cup melted butter
1 cup raisin
3 tbsp dry milk
1 cup water

things i did differently this time: 3 cups of flour instead of 4 cups; waited 20 minutes before adding the raisins; and dissolving the yeast in half a cup of warm water before adding it to the rest of the ingredients. however, i couldn't quite dissolve all the yeast, and much of it was left in the cup so i ended up adding another tsp of dry yeast to make up the difference. the dough this time was wet enough to be sticky but not so wet as to be soupy. during the rise phase, instead of maintaining a ball shape, the dough flattened out, covering the bottom of the pan. i was a little worried and thought about adding some more flour, but once the paddle started kneading again, it regained its ball shape.

after 3 hours, the resulting bread was perfect. tall, soft, almost like a cake. i think this is the secret: i didn't have enough water in my past failed attempts. when the dough is too dry, the yeast can't rise, and the result is a flat, dense bread.

after dinner at my parents' place, i returned home to watch the academy awards. my place smelled like a bakery after a day of breadmaking. the oscars felt ho-hum this year. sure, there were plenty of celebrities, but where's brangelina? what about keira knightley? how awesome would it've been if ellen page came with michael cena as her date? juno and bleeker in the house! diablo cody's stripper pedigree almost made a surprise appearance when her leopard print dress fluttered dangerously close to indecent exposure as she went onstage to accept her best original screenplay award. all and all, nothing too much to write home about. at least it finished before midnight here on the east coast.