Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Une Baguette Pour Vous, et Des Petit Biscuits

Miracle of miracles! Today I got the afternoon off of work. It was pretty awesome.

So what did I do? I went to Border's. (Yes, I think you CAN see where this is going :-) )
And on the drive there I remembered Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes A Day, which I had been thinking about buying, but waiting for the right sale and time and, well you know... A little distance from my other recent baking book purchases.
And it turns out I got a coupon e-mailed from Border's this morning for 33% off any book of my choice! And in typical Jessica fashion- I immediately had to bake from it when I got home. :-)
Since I've been in kind of a bread-y mood, I decided that the perfect recipe to christen the new addition to my library, a French Baguette. Mmm-yum!

Also, in my efforts to actually get something NEW done here, I whipped up some super quick shortbread and a Mushroom, Asparagus and Green and Yellow Bean Saute in a white wine reduction. (Yes, it sounds a lot fancier than it is!) So here are some recipes I hope you'll try out:

Five-Minute Artisan Bread
(from Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes A Day, by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois)
  • 1 ½ cups lukewarm water
  • 1 ¼ tablespoons (1 packet) granulated yeast
  • 11.5 ml salt
  • 3 ¼ cups unbleached flour, plus extra for dusting dough
  1. In a large stand mixer, mix yeast and salt into 1.5 cups lukewarm (about 100 degrees) water. Using dough hook attachment, stir in flour, mixing until mixture is uniformly moist with no dry patches. Do not knead. Dough will be wet and loose enough to conform to shape of container. Cover with a linen cloth.
  2. Let dough rise at room temperature, until dough begins to flatten on top or collapse, at least 2 hours and up to 5 hours.

*At this point, dough can be refrigerated up to 2 weeks. Since refrigerated dough is easier to work with than room-temperature dough, the authors recommend that first-time bakers refrigerate dough overnight or at least 3 hours.*

French Baguettes

- Artisan Bread dough
- whole wheat flour

1. Start with a 1 lb ball of Artisan Bread dough. (About half of dough you just made) With floured hands, grab a peach-sized glob of dough, and quickly form into a ball by tucking the ends under each quarter turn (about 30 seconds), using a bit more flour if needed.

2. Pull the dough gently and roll it into a baguette shape- it should be about 2 inches in diameter. If this size is too long for your oven- cut it in half so you have 2 smaller baguettes.
Let the dough rest for 20 minutes, while you preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
*Remember to put the sheet you plan on using to bake the bread in the oven to preheat too- so that the bottom of the dough heats at the same time too.*

3. After the baguettes have risen, using a pastry brush, lightly paint the loaf with water. Now, using a sharp knife, make several diagonal slashed in the bread (about 4-5 for a full-sized baguette.)

4. Quickly take out the baking sheet from the oven and place the baguette on the pre-heated pan before returning it to the oven.
*Remember to add 1 cup of water to an oven-safe bowl/ramequin and place on a lower rack where it will not interfere with the bread’s rising, to keep the dough nice and moist.*

5. Bake the baguette at 450 degrees F for 23-25 minutes, or until golden brown and hollow-sounding. (Each oven is different, so make sure you keep an eye on your baguette after the 20-minute mark!) Remove from oven and let cool completely, about 1 hour.

Healthier Shortbread
(from Cooking Light, November 2008)

  • 4.5 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1 cup)
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 5 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • Cooking spray

1. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour, cornstarch, lemon rind, and salt in a small bowl; stir with a whisk.

2. Place sugar, butter, and oil in a medium bowl; mix with hands until combined. Add flour mixture, and mix with hands until combined; knead dough lightly 4 times or just until smooth. Wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate 30 minutes.

3. Preheat oven to 325°.

4. Place dough on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray; press dough into an 8 x 5–inch rectangle about 3/8-inch thick. Pierce entire surface liberally with a fork. Bake at 325° for 30 minutes or just until set and edges are golden. Cut shortbread into 24 pieces. Cool completely.

Happy Baking!

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