(sometimes withershins, widershins or widderschynnes) means to take a course opposite that of the sun, going counterclock-wise, lefthandwise, or to circle an object, by always keeping it on the left. It also means "in a direction opposite to the usual," which is how I choose to take it in using it as the title of this blog. We're all in the same world finding our own way.
Monday, March 21, 2011
Sunday, March 20, 2011
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Saturday, March 12, 2011
There's something impressive about making a staple like bread from scratch that a lot of people really appreciate. It's tasty, it's useful, why not know how to make it?
The recipe I give below is inexact at best, but that's generally my philosophy with cooking. You improvise with what's available and play around with tastes depending on what you like. Even if it doesn't turn out perfectly, you know better for next time, which for someone not formally trained in the kitchen is the most rewarding way through the learning curve.
If you want spiced bread you can add things like rosemary or sage directly to the dough. Or I've successfully added whole cloves of garlic right before rolling the halves into tubes to make this into garlic bread.
I'll edit this post after finals to add some pictures of my handiwork (like a true culinary blogger!)
In all honesty, I'm just using this recipe http://allrecipes.com/recipe/french-bread/Detail.aspx following some of the suggestions from the comments and using what I've learned from friends. And even then I don't actually measure exactly most of the time anyways. A tablespoon is usually pretty close to a generous sprinkling straight from the can or a small palmful.
So reduce the initial flour to 5 cups, though have a 6th cup ready if it's too sticky as you try to knead and as you're rolling it out.
2 packages of yeast or about 1 1/2 tablespoons
~2 teaspoons salt
~tablespoon butter or suitable vegan substitute (mostly for flavor)
2 cups warm water (hot from the tap is good enough)
1 tablespoon cornmeal
a couple tablespoons sugar
Remove rings and bracelets unless you don't mind them covered in flour/dough!
Mix the yeast with the sugar and water and let sit for about ten minutes until it looks naturally frothy.
In a large bowl mix the salt, butter and flour together, stir in the water until it resembles dough.
If the dough is super sticky add a little bit of that extra flour. you want it to be moist and malleable, but not super tough to work with. I think a good rule of thumb is you want it to stick to itself, but not to you.
Once you have a dough that you can sort of form into a ball, dump onto a lightly floured surface.
Knead for about 8-10 minutes though I generally just knead for about three kickass songs. You want this to be "smooth and elastic."
Place the dough in a bowl lightly greased with olive oil, cover and let rise somewhere warm until about doubled. About an hour or two (watch a movie maybe?)
Punch the dough down and split in two. I never actually let the dough rest for 10 minutes after, but it probably wouldn't hurt if you do.
With a lightly floured rolling pin or something similar on a lightly floured surface, roll out each half of the dough into a large rectangle. The long (or short, I guess it doesn't matter) side should be just a little shorter than your baking sheet. Roll the flat from this side. Seal the outer edge with water and kind of squeeze the ends into a bread-like taper. These should be about as big around as a roll of wrapping paper or something similar.
At this step I usually also add a second kneading to the dough, rolling it out halfway then tri-folding (like you would a pamphlet) the flats and re-rolling out the rest of the way
Sprinkle the cornmeal on your baking sheet and place your two loaves seam side down. This prevents the bread from sticking.
With a sharp knife, make four diagonal slashes on each loaf. Cover with a damp cloth/paper towel and let rise until doubled (depending on how warm it is, half an hour to an hour)
Preheat the oven to 375*F placing a small/medium bake-proof bowl filled with water on the lowest rack (The steam from this makes the crust chewy and great without having to deal with brushing the loaves).
Bake the loaves for 35-40 minutes or until crust is golden brown.
Cool and enjoy!