Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Miscellaneous Makings

Been making a lot of bread lately (has anyone noticed how expensive a loaf of bread is lately?). Tried out this new recipe from my Urban Homemaker catalog. It's called French or Italian Loaves. Not quite sure what makes bread Italian, OR French, for that matter. And not sure which one we made. Let's just say one loaf, the one without the seeds and nuts was French and the other was Italian. But let's call it Arcata-Italian...because people in Arcata like to make everything look earthy.

Here is the recipe:

2 1/2 c. warm water
2 Tbsp. SAF Instant Yeast (I don't have this yet, so I used the regular yeast from the store)
1 Tbsp. honey
2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. oil
3 c. whole wheat flour
3 c. unbleached bread flour (I had to use about 2-3 MORE cups; not sure why)

1. Mix all ( except flours) for one minute
2. Add 2-3 c. of the bread flour or until mixture cleans side of bowl
3. Knead for 6-10 minutes or until the gluten is fully developed ** (see below)
4. Allow dough to rise 15-30 mins in a covered bowl

To shape loaves:
Divide dough in half and roll each portion into a 12 x 15" rectangle. Roll up tightly along th elong side. Pinch edges to seal. Place on greased cookie sheet sprinkled with corn meal. When dough doubles in size, slash diagonal cuts with serrated knife (my hubby prefers to use a razor blade). Beat one egg with water until foamy. Use a pastry brush to coat loaves, sprinkle with whatever nuts, seeds, or oatmeal, as you wish. Bake 375 for 25-30 mins.

Wish I had a final picture. But we ate it too fast. It was yummy. The Henson's or Chris Panza could testify to it's soft, chewy interior and all-round beautiful tasting and looking bread.

**Ever wish you knew just how long you should kneed your bread for? I came across a good tip this past week in my readings. Say the Lord's Prayer out loud twice through, with one kneed per word. "Our (kneed) Father (kneed) who (kneed) is (kneed) in (kneed) heaven (kneed)... you get the idea. Not sure it makes it taste any better...but the prayer is good for the spirit!

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And here is a really great tasting chicken...very easy to make. Plus, it makes the whole house smell wonderful while it is cooking.

The Recipe:
A whole fryer chicken (rinsed and patted dry, giblets removed)
2 lemons cleaned and sliced and layered on top
Handfuls of fresh rosemary
Salt and Pepper
1/2 c. white wine

Add all to crock pot and cook for 4-6 hours. That's it. So good. Perfect for company.

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