Welcome to our 1864 farmhouse…life is good!

Wednesday, April 15

bread recipes to share...

Happy Wednesday friends...this is an unusual spring for us all, and while I know we're all thinking of reunions with family & friends, that time isn't here just yet. Your daily commitment to stay safe, care for your family, and help others where you can are enormous blessings to all those around you. 

Moms...author/artist Susan Branch (find her delightful site here) has some inspiring thoughts for us (I'm recalling this from memory, so I apologize if I'm not spot on)

"You need to know that you are the fairies
that run ahead and make everything magical,
because you know that even the smallest of things can be special.
And you need to know that what you do is nothing short of heroic.

You are heroes without medals, 
and what you do matters more than anything."


Here's the thing...I know we're all trying to make everyday days special, and special days nothing short of extraordinary. There are birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays during this pandemic...and what matters most?  That we're giving our families warmth, a sense of wonder, dreams and the courage to believe in them, faith, and showing them what love really is.

Our family is together here on the farm, and like most families, both kids are taking their classes on-line and hubby is working from home. Me, well, I'm always working from home, so the routine is about the same...other than somehow each day feels like summer...there's no pre-dawn 4:30 alarm, no packing lunches, no running to & fro after school.
I've discovered that this new set-up does call for a little creativity and more food...yes, lots of cooking and eating going on here...not good for my waistline! 

Anyway, I know that so many of you are making your own bread now, I thought I'd repeat a few tried & true recipes...there's nothing like homemade bread, and paired with your favorite pasta, soup, or salad, you've got a terrific family meal.

Sending blessings to all of you...

Artisanal No-Knead Sourdough Bread 

Absolutely wonderful! Crispy, golden crust...soft and chewy inside, just what I wanted!
Warm out of the oven we topped it with butter and smiled...mmmm. 

So here's the recipe...and really, don't let the time to make it worry you. Just toss it together before bedtime, then finish it up after doing the breakfast dishes. It's perfect pairing with with a bowl of of warm-you-to-your-toes soup!

3-1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1/4 t. active dry yeast
1-3/4 t. salt
2/3 c. sourdough starter
1-1/2 c. water
1-1/2 T. cornmeal...for dusting

Whisk together flour, yeast, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Combine starter and water; add to flour mixture. Blend with a rubber spatula until thoroughly combined...mixture will be very sticky and wet.

Cover bowl with plastic wrap; set aside at room temperature for 12 to 18 hours. After at least 12 hours, dough should be dotted with bubbles and have doubled in size.

Turn out dough onto a surface lightly dusted with flour. Dust top of dough lightly with flour, cover with a cotton or linen tea towel, and set aside one to 2 hours.

About 30 minutes before the second rise is complete, place a round or oval 3-1/2 quart cast iron Dutch oven on the middle rack of oven; heat oven to 450 degrees. Once oven has reached desired temperature, carefully remove Dutch oven and sprinkle bottom with one tablespoon cornmeal.

Uncover dough and use a rubber spatula or two plastic dough scrapers, and fold dough over onto itself a few times; shape into a ball. Lift dough and drop into heated Dutch oven; dust lightly with remaining cornmeal. Bake bread, covered, for 35 minutes. Remove lid, rotate Dutch oven, and continue baking an additional 15 minutes, or until bread is golden.

Remove from oven, loosen loaf from Dutch oven and cool on a rack. Makes one loaf.

Farmhouse French Bread

2 c. warm water (110 to 115 degrees)
2 T. sugar
2 T. dry yeast
1 T. salt
2 T. oil
6 c. flour, divided
1 egg, beaten

Combine water, sugar, and yeast in a bowl; set aside 5 minutes, or until foamy. Pour mixture into the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer fitted with a dough hook. With mixer on lowest setting, add salt, oil, and 3 cups of flour; mix thoroughly. Add remaining flour; mix well. Let dough stand 10 minutes; mix again. Repeat this process, letting the dough stand 10 minutes, then mixing, 5 times.

Place dough on a lightly floured surface. Add only enough flour so that dough is easily handled; divide in half. Roll one half of dough into a 9"x12" rectangle. Beginning with the long side, roll up jelly roll-style. Moisten seam with a little water and pinch to seal. Repeat with remaining dough. Place loaves, seam-side down, on a well-oiled baking sheet; cover with a tea towel for
45 minutes.

Glaze loaves with beaten egg, then use a sharp knife to make 3 slashes across the top of each loaf. Bake at 375 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes. Makes 2 loaves.

Aggie's Homemade Bread

This recipe has become one of my all-time favorites. It's an easy, fuss-free way to have homemade bread in almost no time at all. The kids had a scheduled late start at school this morning, so I baked a loaf for breakfast. We all agree there's nothing like bread, warm from the oven, drizzled with butter and honey. Mmmm...

4-1/2 c. all-purpose flour, divided
1/4 c. sugar
1 T. salt
2, 1/4-oz. pkgs. dry yeast
1 c. water
1 c. milk
1/4 c. oil
1 egg, beaten

Sift together 2 cups flour, sugar, salt and yeast; set aside. Combine water, milk and oil in a saucepan over medium heat until mixture is 120 to 130 degrees. Using a heavy-duty mixer, combine flour mixture with warm water mixture; add egg. Blend on medium speed 3 minutes, then stir in remaining flour. Cover and let rise 50 minutes, or until double in size. Stir down; dough will be sticky. Spoon into a greased 9"x6" loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes.

Dutch Oven Bread

I won't spend any more time telling you how easy this is to make, or how your family & friends will think you picked it up at an artisan bakery, or how you will BEAM with pride when you serve it. What are you waiting for? Let's get going!


3 c. all-purpose flour
2 t. salt
1 t. active dry yeast
1-1/2 c. water (110 to 115 degrees)

Whisk together the first three ingredients; add water and stir until a shaggy dough forms. Cover bowl with plastic wrap; set aside 8 hours.

When ready to bake, heat oven to 450 degrees, place a 6-quart Dutch oven, covered, into oven and set timer for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, remove plastic wrap from dough, gently punch down and turn dough out onto a lightly floured sheet of parchment paper. Flour hands and shape dough into a ball; sprinkle top lightly with flour. Set aside while Dutch oven is heating...30 minutes.

Remove Dutch oven from oven, and using parchment, lift dough and place it, keeping parchment underneath, into the Dutch oven. Cover Dutch oven and bake 45 minutes; remove lid and bake an additional 10 to 15 minutes or until golden.  Remove from oven, lift loaf from Dutch oven and place on a rack to cool.

I'm not going to tell you to wait until it's cool to slice it...that would be silly. Wait until it's cool enough to carefully slice, then top with oodles of real butter. Yum! 

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