Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Baking My Own Bread
This weekend, I embraced my inner baker and made several loaves of homemade bread in the spirit of Bake Your Own Bread (BYOB), hosted by At the Baker's Bench. Making use of the best cookbook I have ever bought, I turned out two delicious batches of bread. If you haven't checked out Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois, you really, really must. Their bread is super easy, super tasty, and nigh impossible to mess up.
The first of this weekend's loaves was to complement some baked tilapia that the Best Husband Ever made. After enjoying his fabulous Valentine's Day tilapia, we still had three fillets left to use from our Costco fish purchase. We decided to share it with the Best In-laws Ever and invited them over for dinner, along with our niece, whom they were babysitting. This time around the hubby put together a Dijon mustard-based marinade, and I sauteed some garlic and lemon broccoli. We also served garlic hummus -- my favorite -- with baby carrots, but the meal lacked grains. That's where the bread came in. I made a 1 lb. loaf of the Artisan Bread in Five's peasant bread, which incorporates white, whole wheat, and rye flours.
I served this bread up as plain wedges, without the aide of any butter or jam. And let me tell you -- no one missed the spreads. This loaf of bread stands alone strongly, and it received lovely reviews from my even lovelier parents-in-law. My father-in-law even requested the recipe for the women of the house to play with, and for him to eat the results of! I can't think of a better compliment. The crust was just a tad too crispy for my liking, but the interior texture was perfection. The taste was, as always, just right. I'd call this first loaf a success!
The second loaf I made from the same batch of dough was equally delicious. This time, however, I did not serve the bread plain but instead used it in sandwiches for yesterday's lunch and dinner. This bread sits fairly heavily on my stomach, so when I use it for a sandwich I tend to fill it with pretty light items, especially lots of produce. These sandwiches were no exception. Both were paired with a side of baked spicy butternut squash fries doused in ketchup, and both meals tasted fantastic. I just can't get over how versatile, easy to prepare, and nutritious this bread is!
Yesterday's lunch sandwich was rather ooey and gooey, but that's the way I like it! I spread two thick wedges of bread with 2 Tablespoons of garlic hummus, a big spoonful of pureed pumpkin, cucumber and apple slices, and pickled beets. I also snuck in some jalapenos, Dijon mustard, and a little cumin. It tasted yummy, and definitely hit the spot. There's nothing like filling the apartment with the smell of freshly baked bread, and then immediately using some of that bread while its still warm. Can you say satisfaction?
Dinner's sandwich was, if possible, even better than my lunch. This time, fresh cucumber and apple again found their way in between my bread, as did some more of that garlic hummus. I also added some cider vinegar, apple butter, and romaine. I guess it was an apple-themed sandwich! And quite the delicious one at that.