I heard it again this weekend. It was at a gathering of amazing, creative, talented, and fearless women. In this case, however, there was a touch of fear. You could see it in their eyes, the way their voices cracked with a sudden lack of confidence.
The topic was baking with yeast.
You'll hear it all of the time in cooking circles, "Oh, you know, I just can't make anything with yeast in it, it never turns out". I know, I used to be one of those cooks.
Now, I can't get enough. Are my baked goods perfect? Not at all. Do they taste fantastic? Why yes, they do. Oh, and apparently Gordie the Pug loves it as well.
Truth be told, my first loaf of bread came only last year during #Charcutepalooza. I wanted a pumpernickel or rye to go alongside my Cider-Braised Corned Beef. So, I took a deep breath, read the instructions, and low and behold, later that day, I had amazing bread. I was emboldened by such a move, so then I tackled Italian Bread. That recipe has become my go-to for a nice side to any pasta dish, the key is the olive oil, I swear it.
Now, I'll be honest here. Do I make my own bread every week? No. Should I? Yes. This could be that bread. It's simple, with little work or clean-up involved. This could be that perfect bread. It's easily adaptable to whatever you want. It's brought to us by the talented Abby Dodge and a little group we call #baketogether (yes, people, the hashtag is connected to Twitter, and yes, you should try it out, my feed is full of amazing food and people).
"Bake Together" is a group of bloggers, cooks, people, that simply love the art of the baked good. Abby puts a recipe out there every month, and we all re-create it and post our creations. Anyone can join, and after Charcutepalooza, I needed some group baking or cooking love. This is perfect, and frankly, even more up my alley than the meat adventures. Confession here, I actually eat little meat, maybe once or twice a week.
You can throw this bread together in a few hours on a weekend, or in a morning. I'm in love with it, so please go and make it. Oh, and I promise you'll fall in love once you start baking bread. The smell of your kitchen will be irresistible, and you'll come back to it all, again and again.
Cheddar Peasant Boule
Yield: 8-10 slices
Source: Abby Dodge
I have added the cheddar to the recipe, but feel free to omit, or add whatever you what. That's what's great about this recipe, it's so adaptable!
- 3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour (15 ounces)
- 1 packet instant yeast (1/4 ounce)
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons table salt
- 1 1/3 cups warm water (125 degrees)
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese (I used Cabot's 50% reduced cheddar this time around)
- In the bowl of a standing mixer, whisk together flour, yeast, sugar, baking powder and salt.
- Connect bowl to mixer fitted with a dough hook, and take your water (making sure it's 120-125 degrees) and slowly add to the dry mixture with your mixer set at medium-low speed.
- Once the water is well-incorporated, push speed up to medium, and allow the machine to knead the dough until it is smooth, pulls away from the sides and the bottom. According to Abby, this takes about 6 minutes or so.
- Now, take your melted butter and grease up a mixing bowl. Gather the kneaded dough into a ball and place in greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap tightly and place in a draft-free, warm area, and allow to rise about 45 minutes, or until doubled in size.
- While the dough is rising, butter a 8-inch cake pan (I realized I had only 9-inch, so I improvised), and set aside.
- Once dough has doubled in size, turn out onto a clean work surface. Deflate the dough with your hand, and at this point, shape into a little, fat rectangle, sprinkle cheese across the surface, roll up, and then shape into a 7-inch little rounded loaf.
- Place the dough into your prepared cake pan and place in a warm spot to again double. This time it should only take about 25 minutes.
- While the dough is rising again, make sure your oven baking rack is in the middle, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Once the dough has doubled (filled up the pan), place the pan into the oven.
- Bake for 40 minutes or until the loaf has risen about 2 inches above the pan and when you knock on the middle, it sounds hollow.
- Tip the bread out onto a baking rack and place right side up to cool. Slice, enjoy!