Monday, August 30, 2010


The perfect accompaniment to... well, just about everything! Having yeast, sugar, salt, and flour on hand, one can easily create a loaf. I just put yeast, a bit of sugar, some flour and warm water in a bowl. I use a whisk to blend it all together. Then, I let it sit on the counter for awhile, until the yeast has "worked," and is bubbly and fragrant. Then I might add some more warm water if needed, then more flour, a bit of salt (for flavor), and knead. Sometimes I will use warm milk, and add melted butter, sometimes just a splash of oil. I add flour and knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic. While kneading the dough, I have the big bowl soaking in warm water. I clean it out, making sure it's dry. Coat it with oil (or butter), and put the kneaded dough into it to rise (having a warm bowl to begin with helps). Cover with plastic wrap or a clean, moist dish towel. Let it rise until doubled. In the meantime, I usually clean up my flour mess, do dishes, again, check facebook, catch some news, or if it's the right time of day, watch a soap...
After the dough has risen, punch it down. For a baguette, I roll the dough out to a rectangle shape, then roll tightly, placing it seam side down on a cookie sheet that has been sprinkled with corn meal (which act as tiny ball-bearings so dough won't stick). Let it rise a bit again. Then using a sharp knife, yep, sharp, make several diagonal slashes on the top.
Bake in a medium hot oven, 375-400. On a shelf below the bread, I place a baking pan while the oven is preheating. Then, toss ice cubes in when I put the bread in the oven. The steam helps to create a nice, crispy crust.

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