Something Went ‘Bump’ In the Night


Posted by Shawn & Annette in Twain Harte News on January 24, 2013

We were up working tonight past midnight when the whole house shook. It felt like someone drove a car into the garage or something – and after a cursory inspection we were left in the dark. Nothing out there. No signs of damage – heck, it was after midnight and Twain Harte was pretty dead – even for Twain Harte.

Maybe an earth quake? Yep.

In the span of about 5 minutes we experienced 3 earthquakes this morning, shortly before 12:30 AM. The most powerful of the 3 was a 4.0 based only 42 miles away. No wonder the house was shaking.

4.0 Earthquake @ 2013/01/24 12:21:48AM

4.0 Earthquake @ 2013/01/24 12:21:48AM

Did you feel it?

Baking at 4000 ft: Status Report


Posted by Annie in baking at high altitudes on January 24, 2013

I’ve been baking bread regularly now for a couple of months. I’ve notice some days it turns out, some days…not so much.  I’m looking for the texture of the bread I had when I was first married. My mother-in-law made homemade bread – well she made everything homemade.

Breads and bread rolls at a bakery

The bread she made was soft, aromatic and luscious to bite into. So much so, that I once ate a whole loaf when it came out of the oven. I had such a stomach ache I didn’t have any bread for awhile after that.

We are at 4,000 feet, and as you can imagine, bread can be more than a little finicky at these altitudes.  As can other things.  We are going to start with bread, and branch out from there.  I’ve decided to keep a log for the purpose of discovering what part, if any, the weather plays in baking bread, and if we can predict how the finished product will turn out.

We are going to track:

  • temperature
  • time
  • barometric pressure
  • type of bread
  • ???

I’m sure I’m forgetting something, but I’ll get the details worked out and if anyone wants to do this with me, it will be fun and we’ll have good eats.

Next, I’ll begin adding the tips I’ve already acquired for high altitude baking.  Until next time, take care.

 This is where I will be keeping my log.

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Blackberry Cream Cheese Bread


Posted by Annie in baking at high altitudes on January 20, 2013

This bread is so yummy. This is great for breakfast or a snack or for tea time.  This bread can be served hot or cold, either way is just fine with me.
Blackberry Cream Cheese Bread

Bread Ingredients

  • 1 T yeast
  • 1 t sugar
  • 1/4 C warm water (110 F)
  • 1/3 C sugar
  • 2 eggs (room temperature)
  • 1/3 C butter, melted
  • 1/2 C sour cream (room temperature)
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 1 t salt
  • 1/2 C milk
  • 3 1/4 to 3 1/2 C all-purpose flour or bread flour

Filling Ingredients

  • 2 packages cream cheese (room temperature)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 can of blackberries or fresh blackberries
  • 1/3 C sugar
  • 2 T flour


  • In a large bowl dissolve yeast, 1 teaspoon sugar in water. Let stand until foamy, approximately 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Add 1/3 cup sugar, eggs, butter, sour cream, vanilla, salt and 2 cups flour to bowl. Beat 2 minutes at medium speed.  Stir in enough remaining flour to make a soft dough. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface. Clean and grease bowl.
  • Knead dough 4 to 6 minutes or until smooth. (Normally I do this in my KitchenAid).  Dough will feel buttery, but not sticky.  Place dough in greased bowl, turning to coat all sides.  Cover with a slightly damp towel.  Let rise in a warm place, free from draft, until it doubles in bulk, about 1 – 1/2 hours.
  • Preheat oven to 375° F
  • Mix cream cheese and egg until blended. In a small bowl mix flour and sugar, drain blackberries, coat with flour mixture then fold into cream cheese mixture.
  • Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide dough in half. Roll each half into an oblong piece about 18″ long by 12″ wide, it doesn’t have to be perfect. With a sharp knife cut evenly spaced ½” strips into the dough, leaving about a 6″ strip down the middle.
  • Divide the cream cheese mixture in half. Pour half down the middle.
  • Begin braid by stretching each strip of dough towards the center, alternating sides. I braided from one end to the other and tucked the trailing end under, an alternative is to braid from each end, then creating a twisted bow in the center.
  • Let rise for 15 – 30 minutes. Brush entire loaf with egg bath and bake.
  • Bake in preheated oven for 20 – 25 minutes, or until golden. This recipe was tested at 3,800 feet in elevation, it may take less baking time at lower elevations.
  • Note: Do not attempt to bake this bread on a flat cookie sheet. I made that mistake and the bottom of my oven is a mess. When baking the second loaf I even tried putting foil under the pan and it still oozed out all over the oven. Do use a cookie sheet with a lip all the way around it or prepare to clean a sticky oven bottom.
  •  Yield: 2 loaves.
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