In The Kitchen

Somehow this weekend turned into a cooking/baking party.

Last weekend I made pizza dough. It was insanely easy and good and now I think I can make somewhat healthy pizza. I was then inspired to try making bread. I’ve always thought of bread as one of the hardest things to make because of my dad’s bread baking stories. In coll
ege he was known for making bread that was literally as hard and dense as a rock. He loved it. Everyone else (i.e. my mom and aunt and uncle) thought he was crazy.
My friend Renée made this no-knead bread though and claimed it was incredibly easy. Then I stumbled upon this blog, Smitten Kitchen, and amazingly enough she includes the same recipe on her site. OK so I decided this was the one to be my first attempt into the world of bread.
Not going to lie, it was time consuming, but not in a labor intensive sort of way, just in a waiting sort of way. The dough has to rise for 12-18 hours and then again for 2 hours. So it requires some planning ahead. Buuuut after a half an hour in the oven it tastes so good! Chewy inside and crusty crust. The recipe can be found here. And below:)

3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting
¼ teaspoon instant yeast
1¼ teaspoons salt
Cornmeal or wheat bran as needed.

1. In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add 1 5/8 cups water, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.

2. Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.

3. Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.

4. At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up; it may look like a mess, but that is O.K. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.

I also made some blondies, recipe found again on the Smitten Kitchen site, to take to my parents’ house for dinner last night. I really want to put dried fruit of some sort in them but since I didn’t have any I went for espresso and peanut butter (because peanut butter makes everything SO TASTY duh). Not bad.

Also got duck last week at Goose (ahaha duck and goose) because they didn’t have chicken breasts. Never made duck before but I figured everything’s good stirfried right? Satay sauce, duck, rice, onions, and green peppers. Did you know duck is fatty? And fat makes things greasy? It was greasy but good stirfry. The best part of dinner? FAT TIRE! Bought right here at my local Marsh!


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