Saturday, March 26, 2011
Making bread...bad looks, good taste.
Most of the time, I cook without recipes. Sometimes, I just wing it combining recipes and ingredients. Sometime, it turns out. Sometimes, not. This time, I got a little of both.
It was cold, blustery afternoon and I wanted a warm, homemade loaf of bread to go with the stew I was making. I just didn't want to go out into the storm to the store for bread. I got out two recipes for bread, one from a favorite James Beard cookbook and one from The Oregonian Foodday(back when they actually had recipes). The James Beard recipe called for regular yeast and normal kneading but the Foodday recipe called for an 18 hour slow rise and no kneading. I wanted bread in 3 hours, so I got creative.
I used the basic recipe from James Beard, but substituted quick rise yeast from the Foodday recipe. I got out the flour, water, sugar, yeast and mixed up the dough. I grated up some Parmesan cheese. Then I ran outside to snap a few springs of Rosemary from the garden, as the cold rain dripped down my back, I was glad that's as far as I had to go.
I kneaded the cheese and rosemary into the dough and let it rise for about an hour. Punched it down. Reshaped into the pyrex bowl and let it double for about another hour or so. Instead of putting the casserole into the oven at 400 and then adding the bread according to the Foodday recipe, I just put the cold pyrex casserole with the bread inside into the oven.
The result: Flat top bread. It tasted good, especially with the cheese and rosemary baked inside. It did a great job of sopping up the stew, but, well, fell a little flat. Next time, I'm using the cast iron casserole for the bread baking instead of the stew. Or maybe it's time to buy another cast iron casserole, so I can make stew in one and bread in the other?