November 28, 2012

A table and some bread

We love having people at our house. 
We love food.
And we love cooking food for people! 
Our current dining room table can seat 6-7 people but we wanted to have a place to fit more of our friends. Michael decided he wanted to build a huge table for the deck. 
He had to build it on the deck because there is no way we could get a 10 foot table up there. 
This is before we stained the benches. I love the lights! 
We can now seat 14 people around the table!

Here is the first big group of people enjoying the table. 
Our one regret is making the table right before winter! It is a little too cold to enjoy now but come spring, we will be out here all the time!

Another recent project for me is bread making. 
I, by no means, have a clue what I am doing. I have friends who are becoming experts in the bread making world. They know all the tricks and secrets. They can make bread that is gluten free, sugar free, dairy free, vegetarian, pescatarian...(Ok, a little sarcasm ;) I am not one of them, maybe one day. I just wanted to see if I could make a simple loaf in the oven. So here is what I did:
- Package of Yeast
- 1.5 Tablespoons of salt
- 3 cups of water
- 6.5 cups of flour (I used all purpose, but I have also blended this recipe with whole wheat and bread flour)
1. Mix all the ingredients together. I mixed it all in a big pot because I needed something with a lid and big enough for the dough to rise. 
It will look something like this...

2. Place the lid on the pot/container but make sure you have a little gap to let air out or a lid with a hole in it.
3. Let it sit at room temperature for 2 hours.

(This is in the refrigerator. After I let it sit out for 2 hours I refrigerated the extra dough - just showing you how I loosely placed the lid)
This was the texture of the dough after sitting for a few hours. If you use different types of flour it won't  look like this!
4. Ok, some websites say use scissors and cut a big piece of the dough. I found it easier to use my hands. Pull/Cut off about 1 pound of dough

5. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
6. While it is preheating, spray a pan and place the dough on the pan. It is suggested to let the dough sit on the pan for 40 ish minutes before cooking.
7. You can cut knotches on the top if you like.

8. I placed the pan on the top rack and then put a brownie pan full of water on the bottom rack. 
8. Cook for 30-35 minutes
Ta-da! Some tasty bread. 
Here is my first whole wheat loaf. I used a loaf pan for this dough. I also added honey to make a honey wheat loaf. It was not as 'slimy' as the all-purpose dough so it as a lot easier to cut the notches at the top. You could also brush egg whites on the top before backing. Or dust some flour on top. 
So now it is time to experiment with honey, wheat flour, all-purpose, bakers flour, rosemary, etc. 
It is amazing that all you need is flour, yeast and water to make bread. 
We'll see if I can perfect it.
It is so simple. 
Go make a loaf and your house will smell delicious! 

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