Tuesday, February 17, 2009

guest blogger camille:homemade bread

Growing up I loved to go to my grandmother’s house when she was pulling out the loaves of fresh homemade bread. A sandwich on her bread was always a special treat. My dad grew up always having sandwiches on that same bread but all he wanted was the store bought white bread like all of the other kids. To have homemade bread then was a sign of poverty – the perfectly white sliced bread came from the store. Today I think it is quite the opposite. Homemade bread is a luxury. When one can buy anything from the airy white slices to gourmet bread from the bakery on the way home from work, why would one take the time to make bread from scratch?

If for no other reason, it is worth making homemade bread for the smell alone. There is nothing like the smell of fresh bread rising and baking filling your home. The smell of the local bakery transported into your kitchen. A lot of people seem to be afraid of making bread – yeast and kneading are very daunting words. While I am certainly not an expert bread maker (far, far from it) I have the recipe for all of you to try. It will fill your home (or apartment or studio or dorm room) with the smell of bread; plus, it is delicious, and it is easy. The hands-on time is very minimal. You have to have a block of time where you can be at your house but it does not need tending.
Here is the recipe:

1 package dry yeast (or 1TB)
2 cups warm water
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons salt
4 cups flour
corn meal
melted butter
garlic salt
Place yeast, water, sugar and salt in warm bowl and stir
until dissolved. Add flour and stir until blended. Do not knead.
Cover and let rise one hour or until doubled in size. Flour hands,
remove dough from the bowl and place in 2 rounds on an oiled
cookie sheet sprinkled with corn meal. Let rise an additional hour.
Brush the top with melted butter and sprinkle garlic salt over the top.
Bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to
375 degrees and cook an additional 15 minutes. Remove from oven. You can brush with butter again if desired. Serve warm.

I have a kitchen aid but I do not use it for this recipe. I just pull out a big bowl and mix the first 4 ingredients. Add the flour and stir again. Leave it for an hour. Then I come back and put it on a greased cookie sheet with corn meal sprinkled over the pan. I don’t put it in two rounds anymore; I just pull on it gently to make one big square. Leave it another hour and bake. It is that easy. And this bread is good. It is delicious with any dinner or dip it in balsamic vinegar and olive oil. While this is not your typical sandwich bread, I have started to cut it in half and make a turkey, cheese and apple sandwich on it. It is so, so good.

Transport yourself back to the time when all bread was homemade. This bread is easy and delicious and you will not regret the little effort it takes to make it. I promise.

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