Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Living off the Grid: Part 1

Living off the grid, ha, yeah right! My dad is pushing Tyler and me to turn our entire football field sized back yard into a sustainable vegetable garden so when the economy failes we can live off of the land for a little while. Sorry Dad, not going to happen but I am getting closer to living like the Amish.

Our vegetable garden may be struggling (I blame the cold) but I have succeeded in making a few DIY dinnertime staples. Remember when I made cheese? Well I have added a few things to my arsenal!

A French Boule Loaf is so darn easy to make, it's considered a peasant bread because of it's lack of expensive ingredients and free form. PLEASE TRY IT, YOU CAN DO IT! It really is freakishly easy to do so jump on the granola band wagon and make some DIY bread!

Boule Loaf
Recipe adapted from Girl Versus Dough

Makes two 1-pound loaves.
1.5 cups lukewarm water
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
2 1/4 tsp coarse salt
3 1/4 cups unsifted, unbleached, all-purpose white flour

In the bowl of a stand mixer, pour lukewarm water (should be about 100 degrees F) and add yeast and salt to the water. Allow to proof for about 5 minutes. Add all of the flour at once and mix with the dough hook (kneading is unnecessary — just mix until ingredients are incorporated).

Once the dough is moist and consistent, pour dough into a clean, greased large bowl, cover, and let rise until doubled in size, about 2 hours.

After dough has risen, sprinkle the surface of the dough with a dusting of flour and divide dough in half. With lightly-floured hands, gently stretch the surface of each dough piece around the bottom of all four sides, rotating the ball a quarter-turn as you go. Shape until a smooth and cohesive ball and place on a lined baking sheet or baking stone. Allow each dough ball to rest about 40 minutes.

Twenty minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Place an empty broiler tray or any other lipped tray (no glass)  for holding water on any other shelf that doesn’t interfere with the bread.

Dust the tops of each loaf with flour and slash several 1/4-inch deep cuts for a “scallop” look.You can also make a tic-tac-toe pattern or a giant plus sign across the top of the bread.

After a twenty-minute preheat, you can put the loaves in the oven, even if it isn’t up to full temperature. Quickly and carefully pour 1 cup of hot water in the broiler tray and close the door immediately. The steam gives it it's nice crust!

Bake for about 30 minutes until a lightly-brown crust develops. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely on a wire rack before slicing and serving.

Next time I'll tell you all about my yummy and easy home made mustard!!

Oh one more thing: I have started taking my own pictures for the blog so please have mercy, they will get worse before they get better!

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