Monday, January 22, 2007

The bread recipe - A great loaf of Bread

I promised this recipe last week, and never got around to pulling it up again and transferring it to the blog. We are still enjoying the first loaf of this bread, eating the last of it as toast. The crust is still chewy and wonderful, and the crumb very moist. The title above is a link to other sites showing the bread, remember to click your back button to get back here.

Recipe: No-Knead Bread

Published: November 8, 2006
Adapted from Jim Lahey, Sullivan Street Bakery
Time: About 1½ hours plus 14 to 20 hours’ rising

3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting
¼ teaspoon instant yeast
1¼ teaspoons salt
Cornmeal or wheat bran as needed.

1. In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add 1 5/8 cups water, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.

2. Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.

3. Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.

4. At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up; it may look like a mess, but that is O.K. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.

Yield: One 1½-pound loaf.

And if you want a visual - here it is!

Click the button on the slidder to watch.

And Here are excellent step by step pictures of the whole process.

And here are more tips for this process. Click on "Fine Tune Your Bread".
Fine Tune Your Bread
I think I am on my way to make another loaf!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007


The Bread Click on the words, The Bread, and you will be taken to a slide show of this fantastic bread. Yes, it is good enough to eat!

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Sunday Surprise

Yeterday's field trip was a great experience; we had a pleasant bus trip, a delicious meal, and absolutly wonderful weather, in the high 60's. As I wore several layers, being unsure if the bus would be heated if it were chilly, I was totally comfortable all day. Even went without jacket and sweater at times! It was a spectacular day in all ways. One of the things I had forgotten about Chippokes Plantation is that it has the honor of being one of the oldest continuously farmed properties in the US. It has been operating since 1619. It is bounded by 2 other plantations, two creeks, and the James River, so it's size, 1403 acres, is unchanged since 1646 when the original 550 acre grant was expanded. This feature of being unchanged also makes it unique. This is the view, towards the James River, taken from the front door.

During our tour of the museusm and the mansion, we were told to look upstairs at the fossils of Chesapecten jeffersonius. The docent told us, if we visited the river beach, and if we looked, we could hunt for and possibly find specimens of this fossil, and could take ONE. Well, you know me, beaches and shells! That was almost a challenge.

Meet Virginia's state fossil, the scallop Chesapecten jeffersonius! It fittingly honors one of the state's most illustrious citizens -- Thomas Jefferson. This mollusc lived in the shallow waters of the continental shelf during the Late Miocene and Early Pliocene Epochs, some 4 - 5 million years ago. I am amazed at the size of the one I found, and that it is intact, both shells still connected. Many found halves, broken, or a few smaller ones, melded together. I was the only one to find one that looked as nice as the one in the mansion on display. To say the least, I was thrilled.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Long Overdue

It has been ages since I posted. So what excitement can I report?

The most important news on the home front is that the gutters are finally back on the house, so repairs to the roof after the big "tree" falling are finally complete. It only took four months and four days to get it back together again. Who would have ever though it would take so long? Eric was infinitely patient with them, but they still took their time.

Out weather has been like a ping pong tournament. One week warm, next week cold. We have set records for warmth, and unseasonable temperatures. The men that know (???do they really know??) say that next week we will be normal. Whatever that is? I see banners outside houses proclaiming "Let it Snow", but really do not know if we will have any this year or not. I know the plants are very confused, I still have petunias on the front porch that are alive.

This weekend, on Saturday, I am going on an Appreciation Day field trip with other volunteers from Meadow Farm. We are going to Chippokes Plantation. This is the same place Eric and I visited 2 winters ago for their Christmas Outdoor Sale. The Plantation has a very large museum, so this will be part of out itinerary for the day. Lunch is going to be in Surry. It should be a great time, and the weather is supposed to be "mild" according to the guys in the know.