Friday, August 26, 2016

This is the I just need bread with dinner, italian loaf

This is cheap, fast (in bread terms), easy and you can eat it in a couple of hours.  This is old school, no bells, whistles, just good, real, bread.

I use the kitchen aid, but you can do it by hand



4 cups a/p flour
1 1/2 tsp yeast
2 cups VERY warm water with 2 tsp of salt dissolved in.


Mix all ingredients to a wet but smooth dough.
Transfer to an oiled bucket with a lid.
Leave to rise till at least doubled.
Gently tip onto a heavily floured cloth, use the cloth to roll the dough into a rough log.
Transfer loaf to a parchment lined sheetpan, cover with a floured cloth, let rest
Leave to rise while oven preheats to 500 with a large container of hot water on the bottom shelf.
When the oven is hot an the loaf poofy (technical term)  put it in the hot, steamy oven and set the timer for 10 minutes.
After 10 minutes, turn the oven down to 400 and cook till it's done, maybe another 20?  It should sound hollow on the bottom when you knock on it.
Transfer to a rack to cool till you can't stand it any more.


Drop the flour and yeast in a bowl, mix it up, add the salt water.  With dough hook set on 4 or so, let it go.....

nope, nope, nope, not yet, nope 

YES! Smooth.  It took 7 minutes. Transfer into a lidded bucket.  Yes, I put it in the small one by mistake and transferred it to my 4qt :) Pop the lid on and leave it till it doubles.  I'll take a pic at 30 and 60, if it takes that long.

Ok, this is at 30 and 50 mins...that's doubled so tip it out onto a floured cloth.  This is my linen bakers cloth, I make them, I sell them, I love them

Tip the dough out, look how alive it is!  Fantastic!  Dust lightly with flour and fold the bottom up, the top down, stretching a bit, gently.

Pull the sides up and over. This is hard with one hand! so I could take pictures.  Start to roll and pinch out the biggest bubbles on the rolled edge.

Ok, now roll it into a loaf

Ah, preheat the oven to 500 with a pan of water in there.  When the oven is hot and the loaf has poofed up (technical cooking term!) then transfer the loaf to a parchment lined baking sheet and get it into the oven,

Here's the final shots.  Oh, poofy!  I rolled it gently on the sheet pan and into the oven.  500 degrees for 10 minutes, rotate the pan and reduce the temp to 450 for another 18.  I cooked it in the top third with a huge pan of water under neath it.

and so here we are...  giant and cooked and crusty and crunchy... it's snap crackling and popping as it cools.  This is the worst time for me - the wait - oh the horror - I want to rip it open and eat it like a caveman!!! 

I'll publish this now because there's people waiting BUT I'll add pics when I cut into it. 

This is a really good, solid, classic, old school, flavorful, REAL, bread.  Make it, enjoy it and make it again. 

I cut in...  joyful 


I have to go eat it now, all of it :)


DRIVE BY udon soup for one for lunch, better than instant and if you have broth from a pressure cooked chicken, you're even healthier... so delicious too!

I haven't been the happiest lately.  I'm feeling pretty lonely and thinking about what I need to do to change all that.  Well, I know what to do but it's actually doing it.  That being said, I needed to find something comforting to eat.  I had the broth from a chicken I pressure cooked so that's a good start.  I searched in the pantry and found some 'fresh' udon noodles I'd bought as an experiment.  .50/each can't go wrong there! This is the package.  They're soft and mostly vacuum packed.  The instructions say boil 3 minutes, how hard can that be?  But, I thought, I can do better that.

**IF you don't have these fresh udon noodles, use leftover spaghetti if you have it, 
cook some udon noodles and use those, use dry rice noodles, there's a million options.
don't NOT make this for want of this one packet of udon noodles 

I decided that a big hot steaming rich bowl of udon soup is exactly what I needed to make me feel the love.



1 packet udon noodles, check out the ones that I buy now, they'e .50/each and easily enough for two for lunch
1 spring/green onion, chopped and split into whites and greens
2-3 inches of the tops of celery stalk
Small handful of greens or shredded cabbage or slaw, whatever you have in the fridge
1 tsp grated ginger
2 1/2 cups stock or water or combination
plain oil
light soy sauce
oyster sauce
sesame oil
hot chili oil (optional)


 In a saucepan, over medium high heat, add some oil to heat up, add the grated ginger and white part of the spring onion, add a small handful of greens or slaw and shush around a bit.  The veggies will look a little softer but not limp, no one wants limp vegetables.  Total time so far? about a minute.

Add the packet of fresh udon.  I dump them in and stir them around in the hot oil and veggies for just a moment.  When they're all combined in the veggies, add the chicken stock, about 2+ cups.  This is my 'jelly' stock from the pressure cooked chicken.  So rich, man I love this stuff.  You can use stock from a can or a bottle or jar.  

Stir the noodles into the broth, add about a tablespoon of oyster sauce and a little bit of light soy. Bring to a boil pretty quickly, I set a mental timer for 3 minutes. After about 3 minutes, take it off the heat and add the onion greens and a few DROPS of sesame oil.

Stir, oh look at this saucepan of love.  I scoop out some noodles to each bowl (or just into mine!) and then pour the soup over.  You can eat the noodles with chopsticks or a fork or use a spoon for both. Oh and slurp, you must slurp loudly.

NOW, in the spirit of full disclosure, I do have a ice cream sundae glass that I keep filled with hot chili oil.  I take some Sambal (or garlic chili paste) and put it in the bottom, I then cover with plain oil and stir, every day or so or every time I walk by, I stir it and then, in a day or so you get this brilliant, neon red oil that packs a loving punch of chili without the tear causing sambal straight from the jar.  So, I added a drizzle, oh look at those little neon oil floaters of delight.   
I'd love to wax poetic but I'm going to sit and eat this now, all of it. x