Wednesday, September 16, 2009


At the harvest dinner, we ended up with lots of carbs, particularly in the form of bread. I wish I had gotten a picture of Matthew's focaccia bread to share, he inserted basil leaves into the top of the bread so that they almost looked like little flowers coming out of it. It was awesome. Jeff and my breads were not quite so cool, but they are what I have a recipe for so that is what I will share with you now.

Jeff made three baguettes for the evening to go with the brushetta I had made the day before. In our first attempt to make this bread, we learned the very important lesson (or relearned in my case) that you shouldn't bake bread on dark cookie sheets. The bottoms WILL burn. Our first go at this bread was a horrible failure. They all burned, and although Jeff tried to save my terrible bread by lovingly scraping off the black part and saying it wasn't that bad, I knew the truth. I was particularly disheartened because the bread rises for four and a half hours, so it's not like we could just mix up another batch at 10 pm.

The next day Jeff gave it a second try and his attempt turned out far better than my first. Here is the recipe we used, slightly modified from it's original source.

French Baguette a la Jeffry


4 cups Flour
1 tbsp. Dry Active Yeast
1-2 tsp. Salt
1 3/4 cups Warm Water
1-2 Tbsp. sugar
Oil for bowl

How to make it:

1. In a bowl, mix together the flour and the salt.

2. In another bowl, combine yeast, warm water, sugar and half of the flour/salt mixture. Using your hands, mix until it forms a dough. Then, cover with a dish cloth and let sit at room temperature for 3 hours. It should triple in size.

3. Gently incorporate the rest of the flour/salt, using your hands.

4. Place on a lightly floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes. It should be supple and elastic when you stop kneading.

5. Lightly oil a bowl. Place dough in bowl. Cover with a dish towel. Let sit for 1 hour. It should double in size.

6. Preheat oven to 450°F. Knead again. Then cut dough into 3 parts and form each part into a long baguette. Place on a baking sheet. Let sit for at least 20 minutes.

7. Place a bowl of water in the oven. Bake baguettes for about 25 minutes (maybe less, check often towards the end). Remove the bowl of water after 15 minutes of baking and spritz the baguettes.

The other bread we made went off without a hitch. It was an herby pull apart bread which utilized lots of fresh herbs from the garden. The original recipe can be found here.

Herby Pull Apart Bread

6 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
2½ tablespoons active dry yeast
2½ cups warm (120 to 130F) water
1 tablespoon finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 Tbsp. each finely chopped sage, rosemary and thyme
1 tablespoon melted butter

How to make it:
1. Grease two 9-x-5-inch loaf pans.

2. Combine 4 cups flour, sugar, salt, yeast, and 2½ cups warm water in a large bowl. Add herbs and stir until well blended. Stir in remaining flour until smooth. Cover and let rise until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.

3.Stir dough for 25 strokes.

4.Separate dough into 16 balls of equal size. Place 8 balls in each loaf pan in two rows. Cover and let rise until doubled in size, about 30 to 45 minutes.

5. Bake loaves 30 minutes at 375F. Reduce heat to 350F and bake 15 minutes longer, or until bread sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom. Cover loosely with foil during the last 10 minutes of baking time to prevent over-browning.

6.Remove from pans immediately and brush with melted butter. Cool on a wire rack.

The balls will pull apart to dinner roll sized portions. I served it with butter that had just a bit of honey in it. The sweetness really complimented the herbs.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

robin... you're kind of amazing.