Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Cloud Bread

I forgot thank all of my friends/family who prayed/called/texted/emailed/sent messenger pigeons to make sure that I was okay. I don't know how to sincerely express just how much it meant that you all cared so much. It really helped carry me through last week, and I keep it in my heart now as I try to move on. I am so blessed to have you in my life.

 Poor baby fell asleep while we were shopping.

Ok. Remember this post? Well, I baked the hell out of that bread. It was therapeutic, but more importantly, it was DELICIOUS. I didn't get the crust (gross word?) perfectly, but it was still very good. The inside was soft, chewy, and flavorful--like eating a slightly buttery cloud. It went well dipped in the stew, but I enjoyed it even more by itself when it was still a little warm from the oven. I'm including the recipe below...I found it on allrecipes but I've re-named the recipe to suit my needs (b/c it's all about me).

"Oh you feel terrible? Would you like to eat a cloud?" bread
(With adaptations.) Original recipe here.

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 package instant yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup warm water
1 tablespoon cornmeal (I didn't have any on hand, but this might have helped)
1 egg white
1 tablespoon water
  1. Mix 2 c. flour, yeast, and salt in a bowl. 
  2. Melt the butter and add it to dry ingredients when it is warm, NOT hot (too much heat will kill the yeast).Next, add the warm water. 
  3. Stir it until blended. The dough will look wet, and not dough-like at all. That is ok. We're going to add more flour while we knead it. 
  4. On a well floured surface, plop that jank out. Get ready to knead.
  5. Add 1/4 c. of flour at a time while you knead until the dough is smooth and elastic. (If you can poke two fingers into the dough, and it springs back, then the dough is ready.)
  6. Form the dough into a ball, place it in a well oiled bowl, and turn the ball around a little so it gets coated with oil. (I usually use the same bowl that I mixed it in even if it's got little bits of dough stuck inside. I hate washing dishes!)
  7. Cover, and let rise in a warm place. Approx. 1 hour.
  8. Check out the size of that dough! It should be doubled in size. If not, then make sure your spot is warm, and then let rise some more.
  9. At this point, the original recipes says to do this: "Punch dough down, and divide in half. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Cover, and let rest for 10 minutes. Roll each half into large rectangle. Roll up, starting from a long side. Moisten edge with water and seal. Taper ends."
  10. This is what I did instead: Punch dough down, divide it in half, and then immediately try to roll each half into a log. If the ends are oddly shaped, just fold them onto the bottom, and hope that it will bake into the right shape. (which one you choose will depend on your experience level, and ability to follow directions).
  11. Grease a baking sheet, and place your loaves onto it. Brush the egg white with 1 tbs. water, and then brush it on the loaves. Cover, and then let it rise again for 30-45 min.
  12. Preheat oven to 375 F while the dough is rising. After the dough has nearly doubled again (or in my case, risen to the point that each individual loaf has crowded on each other), make 4 diagonal cuts in the loaves with a very sharp knife (about 1/4 in. deep).
  13. Bake for 20 min. Brush with more egg white, and then bake again for 15 min or until bread is done. 
I wish that I had taken pictures of this bread for two reasons:
  1. So you could see its odd shape.
  2. So you could see how amazing it looked regardless.
 It was the best bread recipe I've found so far. Please try it for yourself (or convince someone else to bake it for you, b/c that was a lot of steps, y'all). 

This isn't the bread that I baked that day...it just didn't feel right to have such a wordy post with out a lot of photos!

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