French bread

This is my ‘backyard’.  It’s not really a yard and it’s not really mine, but it is the view from my bedroom.  I will take it!

I woke up to sunny snow.  I wish there could be a rainbow when it’s sunny and snowing… it would make life so much more perfect.  I stumbled downstairs to realize there weren’t any eggs in my house!!  If you know me, you’d know I NEED my eggs.  Someday, when I have my little farmhouse… I’ll have chickens.  Then when I don’t have eggs, I’ll just take the pup out for a walk and grab a few from the coop (while corralling the dog who is probably trying to eat the chickens).

Since I didn’t have eggs, I suffered with a bagel (blah).  Then I thought to myself that I wished I had some French toast… I haven’t had French toast in a while.  So after stomaching the bland bagel, I spent the morning making some French bread, then tomorrow morning I can have French toast!  But wait, I need eggs for that!  Guess I’ll be taking a snow walk to the general store to get some eggs later today.

That is something I LOVE about where I live… all the little towns (that is the towns at least 30 mins outside Burlington) have general stores with everything you could ever think of (even canned bamboo shoots and sea scallops!).  Currently, I live in a townhouse style apartment within walking distance of the general store, the liquor store, the Tavern (my favorite), and two other AMAZING restaurants.  I am 5 miles from skiing, a mile from hiking trails, minutes from walking trails, and moments from the local swimming hole.  Whenever I do get my home with a chicken coop, I hope to at least be within a few minutes drive or bike ride to one of these stores…

I found a recipe for French bread that did NOT utilize bread flour, as I did not have any (or egg whites) AND I got to play with the all-amazing food processor again.

Ingredients:
4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp distilled vinegar
2 tsp yeast (1- ¼ oz package)
1 2/3 cup warm water (around 110-115 degrees)
2 tsp olive oil

-In a food processor, pulse the flour, salt, and vinegar.  Add the yeast to 1/3 cup of the warm water and let foam for approximately 5 minutes.  Add to the remaining 1 1/3 cup warm water.

-Through the food processor tube, pour the yeast/water mixture.  Pulse for approximately 1 minute until a ball forms and the dough pulls away from the sides.  Cover the food processor tube and let rise for about an hour and a half.  You can let it rise for longer, no biggie!

-Pulse a few times to knock down the dough.  Remove from the food processor and cut dough into two chunks.  Press each chunk into a rectangle (maybe 8×10 inches) and fold in the two shorter sides.  Pinch those sides together.  Now, roll the dough out into a 12-15 inch long loaf.  Coat the loaf with olive oil and lay on a pizza stone dusted with corn meal.  Repeat with the other loaf.  Place the stone in a warm, draft-free place, and let rise an additional 30-60 minutes.  (I put them in my oven that was slightly warm but NOT ON!)

-Remove the dough if it is in the oven.  Place a shallow baking dish (like a pie plate) filled with water on the lowest rack of the oven and pre-heat to 450°F.

-Make a few shallow slits across the top of the loaf and bake for 25 minutes or until the top is browned.  Remove from the stone and place directly on the oven rack and bake it for an additional 5 minutes.

You can see here, I didn’t fold in the sides too well before rolling into a loaf… hence the slot in the middle of the loaf

But a slot in the loaf gives it a great receptacle for scooping up some spiced olive oil!  Oregano, garlic, crushed red pepper… mmm, delish!

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