When God gives you lemons, make lemonade, but when God gives you snow, make bread.
That’s my solution for beating cabin fever in the winter, anyway. There’s nothing quite like the smell of bread baking in the oven or the feel of the dough as you knead it and it watch it become shiny and elastic to the touch. Pushing that dough around is also a great way to meditate, or plan the plot of that next novel. I admit, I do get carried away sometimes, for a single person living alone. But my freezer is packed, my belly is full, and my house is scented.
I made two kinds of bread yesterday: whole wheat with three kinds of seeds and nuts; and French baguettes and boules. The recipe I have, given to me by my son-in-law is the easiest and best ever, besides being extremely versatile. With this one simple recipe, I have made pizza, calzone, focaccia, and my latest, which I can’t get enough of, Kraut Bierok. These are German or Polish rolls filled with a combination of meat, sauteed onion and garlic, sauerkraut or sauteed cabbage and spices. Delicious.
Here is the recipe for French Baguettes. No kneading required. The gluten develops in the refrigerator overnight.
For two baguettes:
1 and 1/2 cups of warm water
1and 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons dry yeast
3 and 1/4 cups of flour
Add the ingredients in the order mentioned above. Stir just enough to mix together (should be less than 1 min. Cover the container and let rise at room temperature for 2-3 hours. Put in the fridge overnight.
Next day, preheat oven at 450 or 425F. Put a low wall baking tray of water in the bottom of oven to raise humidity.
You may take all of the dough at this time, divide it in half and shape into two baguettes, or make just one and return remaining dough to the fridge. Just make sure it has a tight cover so it doesn’t dry out.
Let your dough rise for 20 min at room temperature. (It will not rise much at that time, so don’t expect it two.
Make 3 diagonal cuts about 1/4 inch deep on the loaf, spray with water, and bake for 20 – 25 minutes until golden brown. Enjoy.