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BREAD!! and soup!!

We finally have been home long enough for me to cook something! I was so excited because I have had my Caribbean Blue Lodge cast iron dutch oven here at the house waiting for me to bake some bread in for like 3 weeks. It was calling to me so I started on the bread the night before last.

Almost No-Knead Bread – Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated Magazine – January 2008

**Thanks to Bean for giving me the recipe for this!!**

An enamled cast iron dutch oven with a tight fitting lid yields the best results, but the recipe also works in a regular cast iron dutch oven or heavy stock pot. Use a mild flavored lager, such as Budweiser (mild, non-alcoholic lager also works – I used Corona and Heineken – both came out really good) The bread is best eaten the day it is baked but it can be wrapped in aluminum foil and kept in a cool dry place for up to 2 days.

Yield: 1 large loaf

3 cups unbleached flour (15 ounces) plus some for dusting your work surface
1/4 tsp instant or rapid rise yeast
1 1/2 tsp table salt
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of room temperature water
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of the mild flavored lager of your choice
1 tbsp white vinegar

Whisk the flour, salt, and yeast in a large mixing bowl. Add water, lager, and vinegar. Using a rubber spatula, fold the mixture, scraping the dry flour off the bottom of the bowl with each stroke until a shaggy ball forms. Let it rest for 8 to 18 hours. (I let it rest as close to 18 hours as possible) It should look like this:

Lay a 12X18inch piece of parchment paper (I just pulled one off that looked like it fit inside my dutch oven… i didn’t bother to measure it) inside a 10 inch skillet and spray with non stick cooking spray. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead 10-15 times. (I noticed that the dough was really sticky so i added some flour to the top and my hands so that they didn’t stick.) Shape dough ball by pulling the edges into the middle. Transfer the dough to the parchment paper, seam side down. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for another 2 hours or until the dough doubles in size. You will know when it is done because the dough will be twice the size AND will not bounce back when you press on it. It will probably look like this when you are done kneading it:

About 30 minutes before baking, adjust the racks in your oven to the lowest position. Place your dutch oven with the lid into the oven to preheat at 500 degrees. (As a small aside, I placed my lid and pot into the oven to preheat and within 10 minutes there was a HORRID ammonia smell. It turns out that the knob on the top of the dutch oven lid is not safe at this high temperature. We took it out and covered the dutch oven with a piece of foil instead. We bought a replacement knob today at Home Depot – you will need to buy a metal drawer pull at the store for this plus another screw because the screw that came with mine was too long for the pot. This is what the knob looks like after baking it too hot!)

Lightly flour the top of the dough and using a razor blade or sharp knife, slash a 6-inch long and 1/2 inch deep incision along the top of the dough. Carefully remove the dutch oven from the oven and remove the lid. Pick up the dough using the parchment paper and lower it into the heated pot. Cover the pot again and place it into the oven. Lower the heat to 425 degrees and bake with the cover on for 30 minutes. Remove the lid and bake it for another 20-30 minutes until the loaf is a dark golden brown or an instant read thermometer reads 210 degrees at the center of the loaf. Carefully remove the bread from the pot and transfer it to a wire rack. Let it cool to room temperature – at least 2 hours. ( I ate mine warm! Screw waiting 2 hours!) This is what mine looked like when it was done:

I also made some soup from my Rachael Ray cookbook. I changed a few things tho.
My Mom’s Tomato and Bean 15 Minute Stoup

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 2 turns of the pan
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 medium onion, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 small zucchini, sliced
2 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1 (15-ounce) can diced tomato
1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
1 (15-ounce) can small white beans or cannellini beans
1 (10 ounces) box, cut frozen green beans (I left these out because I don’t like green beans in my soup)
1/2 pound of Ditalini pasta (I added this)
Salt and pepper
1 cup fresh basil, torn or shredded
Grated Parmigiano or Romano, to pass at table
Crusty bread, to pass at the table

Add extra-virgin olive oil to the pot, 2 turns of the pan. Add garlic and crushed red pepper flakes, stir then stir in the onions, carrots, celery and zucchini. Cook 10 minutes, then add in the stock, tomatoes and beans. Bring soup up to a bubble and season with salt and pepper, to your taste. Simmer 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and wilt the basil into the soup. Ladle up the soup and serve with grated cheese and bread.
(I added the pasta to the soup too soon. If you are making it ahead of time, add the pasta about 10 minutes before you are ready to serve it. It sort of turned into a pasta with vegetables dish because the pasta sucked up all the stock and tomato sauce. I doubled the recipe when I made it so if you are following the recipe exactly, only do 1/4 of a pound of pasta. I also ended up adding black beans to it because I only had one can of white ones.) This is what the soup looked like:

My in-laws loved the bread so much that my mother in law told me to make some more for her today. I mixed up the dough last night and am working on the 2nd rise right now. I recommend doing 2 loaves at a time because the bread is so damn good that it goes really, really fast.

I hope everyone enjoys these two recipes. I had lots of fun making them and I hope to keep trying new breads soon!

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Posted by on May 27, 2008 in Meals!, The Bakery!

 

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New Equipment

Well, since I cannot be at home cooking, I have decided that I should have my equipment there when I arrive. I want to start making bread and Bean recommended an enameled dutch oven by Lodge so I ordered that from amazon along with a cast iron skillet and 2 new Alton Brown books. I brought the first Alton Brown books with me to the hotel this time so I am in the middle of that. When I get home, both the new books will be there for me to read. I am excited about making bread and searing meats in my new skillet.

I have not been cooking much. I have been getting microwaveable vegetables for my dinners to offset the fast food that I eat during the day, although lately we have been eating pretty good for us foods instead of fast foods. There is a whole section on microwave foods in this first Alton Brown book so I am hoping it will give me some ideas on that.

Until next time!

 
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Posted by on April 24, 2008 in General Food

 

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