Saturday, January 8, 2011

artisan bread

I've tried to make artisan bread too many times to count. I've tried the sourdough starter thing...keeping a jar of it in the refrigerator at the cabin until one of our kids called with horror "what is that jar of moldy gray stuff in the frig???" OK. I guess trying to keep sourdough alive and well at a cabin is not possible... However, when I tried a recipe from "Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day" I got re-inspired!! This is easy! No sour mixtures sitting in the frig! No kneading required! And as an added bonus, it tastes wonderful!

The recipe I tried was European Peasant Bread. There is a small amount of whole wheat flour, which of course, made me feel like I could eat the whole loaf and not feel a bit guilty. Whole wheat is good right? Never mind that it is only 1/2 cup whole wheat to 5 1/2 cup all purpose....

European Peasant Bread
from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day

3 cups lukewarm water
1 1/2 tablespoons granulated yeast
1 1/2 tablespoons salt
1/2 cup rye flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
5 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

Mix the yeast, salt and water.

Mix in the remaining dry ingredients without kneading. You can use the dough hook on a mixer or just a wooden spoon.

Cover and allow to rest at room temperature until the dough rises and collapses, flattening on top. This should take about 2 hours.

The dough can be used immediately, although it is easier to use if it is cold. Now (this is the best part) it can be stored in the refrigerator for 14 days!! Just make sure it is in a lidded but not airtight container.

On baking day..."dust the surface of the refrigerated dough with flour and cut off a grapefruit-size piece. Dust with more flour and quickly shape it into a ball by stretching the surface of the dough around to the bottom on all four sides, rotating the ball a quarter turn as you go. Allow to rest and rise on a cornmeal-covered pizza peel for 40 minutes." After 20 minutes, liberally sprinkle top of dough with flour and slash with a serrated bread knife. You can slash whatever design you want...a cross, 3-4 parallel lines, or tic-tac-toe!!

Here are the options for baking:

...outside in woodburning oven. The oven should be about 550 degrees without a flame. Bake about 30 minutes until browned. You can see it gets pretty dark in the wood burning oven. If it gets too dark, just throw handy-dandy tin foil over...

...conventional oven on a pizza stone. Preheat the stone in a 450 degree oven. Place a broiler pan on any shelf in the oven that won't interfere with the bread rising. Slide loaf onto hot stone, immediately pour 1 cup hot water into the broiler pan, and quickly close the oven door. Bake approximately 35 minutes until top crust is deeply browned and very firm.

...conventional oven in a dutch oven casserole. I think this is the easiest. Make sure the knob on your casserole will withstand 500 degrees. Evidently the plastic knobs will start smoking at 450 degrees! Not a pleasant odor for your fresh bread to absorb...

1) Shape the boule, and let it rest on parchment paper for about 40 minutes.
2) Preheat the pot with the lid on for about 20 minutes at 500 degrees.
3) Slash the dough about 1/4 inches deep.
4) lift the dough and drop it carefully, paper and all, into the preheated pot. Replace the lid and slip it back into the oven.
5) After 15 minutes, remove the lid, turn the heat down to 450 degrees and bake another 15-20 minutes. The lid initially enabled the dough to bake in the steam and now without the lid, the dough will develop its wonderful caramel color!
6) I would try using an instant read thermometer to determine if the bread is done. From what I have read, the bread should be 205-210 degrees. I think this loaf was not quite done...but I did not have a thermometer to check it...

The directions I used for this method came from the following site: (Baking Bread in a Dutch Oven)
It has thorough directions...and better pictures! (: Also, I would recommend the book!

Fun.....delicious....and easy enough for fresh crusty bread every night!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Herb-roasted turkey breast

Our son used the cabin last week with friends from his days at St Olaf college. While he was there, neighbor and ovenbuilder Greg called the cabin and said the oven was going to be stoked for the New Years weekend. Needing something healthy that was compatible with getting rid of the 5 lbs accumulated over Christmas, I searched Ina Garten's new cookbook! Herb roasted turkey breast caught my eye. It sounded really fresh tasting with all the herbs....and it was!!

The turkey breast I used was half the size that the recipe called for...but I made the same amount of marinade, rubbed most of it over the breast, and tried to smear some of it under the skin.

Herb-roasted turkey breast
from Barefoot Contessa

1 whole bone-in turkey breast (approximately 7 pounds)
2 tablespoons good olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 teaspoons dry mustard
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage leaves
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 tsp greshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup dry white wine

We prepped the oven to roasting temperature...approximately 450-500 degrees, and kept a small flame burning. After rubbing the marinade over the turkey breast, and pouring the wine in the bottom of the roasting pan, we roasted it approximately an hour until the thermometer registered 165 degrees. We covered it with tin foil when it started to brown too much, and rotated it a few times for even cooking. Letting it rest for 10 minutes after cooking was the hardest part....we wanted to dive right in! Roasted yukon gold potatoes and brussel spouts completed the meal!

Wood-Roasted Shrimp

What a beautiful snowy December we had here in Minnesota!! We decided to fire up the wood burning oven for Christmas...but with something less stressful than a turkey! Roasting shrimp takes only 6 minutes! Standing in the snow at 10 degrees, one can only handle about 6 minutes!

Wood-Roasted Shrimp
from Mugnaini's At of Wood-Fired Cooking

2 pounds shelled raw shrimp
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon lemon zest
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil

Prepare the oven for a roasting environment, which means it has been prepped to reach pizza oven temperatures, then allowed to drop in temperature. There should be a medium sized bed of coals and a small flame. The hearth temperature should be about 550 degrees, and no less than 450 degrees.

Place shrimp in medium bowl and add the remaining ingredients. Place onto a sheet pan (we used a paella pan), set in oven and roast for 6 minutes until pink and firm to the touch.

from Barefoot Contessa

1/2 cup Heinz chili sauce
1/2 cup Heinz ketchup
3 tablespoons prepared horseradish
2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon Tabasco sauce

Mix together, and serve with the shrimp.

Easy and delicious!!