Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Soup and Bread

We love soup and bread nights.  I try and do it at LEAST once a week.  I think I get in that range.  I've gone from once a month cooking to trying to 'meal plan' to more of an idea list.  It seems to work better but it means I don't track as well as I used to.  :/ 

Looks more like catagories or themes.  Beans, Rice, Chicken, Beef, Pasta, Pizza, Soup, Finger foods. 

99% of what we do is from scratch and more than half of our meals are bean based.  I've tried cooking all fancy and then the kids 'oooohhh' and 'aaaahhhh' over the simple and AWESOME beans and rice.  Guess what?  That's where we're livin'. 

ANYWAY - what do you do when it's POURING buckets outside, you are trying to use up freezer items, and just the other day you came across a gallon bag of roasted carrots you did late summer? 

You decide SIMPLE CARROT SOUP is for dinner, thanks to having read your girlfriend's post (a sweet gal who *follows a recipe*...then shares it!).

Then, you remember this AWESOME bread recipe* another friend posted and you've now learned to finesse to look exhaustingly beautiful when in actuallity, you dumped everything in a bowl, forgot about it for the rest of the afternoon, and will shape to let rise once more an hour or so before you want to serve it.


I love it when a plan comes together.  Or a throw it together that looks like you had a plan well thought out in advance.  Whatever.

*Angela Bread aka: No Knead Artisan Bread


Add to large bowl, in order:
  • 3 c. lukewarm water
  • 1 1/2 T. yeast
  • 1 1/2 T. salt
  • 6 1/2 c. flour
Mix with wooden spoon.  Dough will be sticky.  Lightly cover (not airtight) and let sit at room temperature 2 - 5 hours. At any time after 2-hour mark, may bake and/or refrigerate dough (keeps for up to 14 days in covered but not airtight container). Will take on better, almost sourdough flavor after 24+ hours.  Makes 4 1-lb. loaves.
  • Pull off 1-lb. of dough (large grapefruit sized ball)
  • Dust surface with flour, then pull floured top layer of bread around itself and to the bottom, rotating 1/4 turn each time, until top of ball is smooth and bottom is 4 corners pulled together (don't worry, can't really mess this part up). Should take about 30 seconds.  Finish options:
Option 1:  Round Artisan Loaf
  • Let dough ball sit (rise) at room temperature 40 minutes
  • Use serrated knife to cut deep grooves in top of bread
  • Bake!
Option 2:  Herb Loaf
*Add 1+ teaspoon each of herbs of your choice to water when making dough.  Our favorites:  dill, basil, and rosemary.

Option 3:  Dinner Rolls
  • Divide dough ball into 6 dinner roll
  • Let sit (rise) at room temperature for 40 minutes
  • Bake!
Option 4:  Baguette
  • Pull/roll dough ball into elongated loaf (may need to dush with flour again)
  • Let sit (rise) at room teperature for 20 minutes
  • Use pastry brush to "paint" with water to remove excess flour
  • Use serrated knive to cut grooves in top of bread at angle
  • Bake!
  • Pre-heat oven (and baking stone, if using) to 450 degrees, with metal cookie sheet or broiling pan on bottom shelf
  • Place bread/rolls on baking stone or baking sheet on top shelf in oven
  • Toss 1 c. hot water on hot sheet/pan on bottom shelf to create steam; shut oven door to trap steam
  • Bake 30 minutes for bread (35+ minutes if baking 2 loaves), 20-25 minutes for dinner rolls, or 25 minutes for baguette
  • Cool on wire rack

  • Option 5:  Sticky Pecan Caramel Rolls
    • Spread bottom of 9" baking pan (i.e. pie plate) with creamed mixture of: 1/2 c. brown sugar, 6 T. melted butter, 1/2 t. salt, and pecans
    • Roll 1 1/2 lb. dough ball into large rectangle 1/8th inch. thick (flour as needed)
    • Spread with creamed mixture of:  1/4 c. sugar, 4 T. butter, pinch pepper, 1 t. cinnamon, 1/4 t. nutmeg, then sprinkle with 1/3 c. pecan bits
    • Roll into log and slice with serrated knife into 8 equal pieces
    • Place in pan, sprinkle with extra cinnamon to taste
    • Let sit (rise) at room teperature for 20 minutes
    • Bake at 450 for 40 minutes
    • Scrape sides with knive to loosen, then invert on plate while still hot
    • Serve warm!
    Vary to taste. Our personal preference:  fewer pecans and more butter/sugar topping.  I used a pie plate with handles, which worked very well in inverting onto plate: placed dinner plate on top, held firmly against handles and tipped upside down.  Voila! 

    I usually make the two big loaves at once as...well...everyone loves it, but last week I saved half the dough for fresh, hot bread another night that same week.  Worked fabulous...but, use a bigger bowl than I did when I stored the half for later or you'll wind up with this


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