I know many of you participate in 10 on Tuesday, but today it is just two – and a delicious two it is at that!
I have long been in search of the perfect bread recipe and, Gentle Reader; I have finally found it! The recipe comes from The Red Spoon – and it is incredibly simple.
**Makes 2 baguettes**
4 C bread flour (I used All-Purpose flour)
2 tsp. salt (I used kosher salt)
1 pkg active dry yeast – or 2 1/4 tsp yeast (If you buy yeast in a jar)
1 1/2 C room temperature water
1 egg white
1 Tbsp water
Place all the dry ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer. Make a well in the center and pour in the room temperature water (1 1/2 C). Using the bread hook, mix all ingredients together on low speed until the dough is soft and elastic, about 12 minutes. The dough will be in a ball on the dough hook, but it comes off easily. Clean out the bowl and give it a light coating of olive oil. Put your dough ball back in the bowl and gently turn it over a few times to coat it with the oil. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel, or loosely with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise in a warm place until the dough doubles in bulk, about 2 hours. (The Red Spoon recommends 75-85 degrees, however my house is nowhere near that temperature and I did not have any difficulty with rising times). A tip from The Red Spoon – you know your dough is ready after rising when using two floured fingers pressed into the dough; it stays dented without springing back.
When the dough has doubled in size, punch it down and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface – and I mean lightly floured. This dough is not tacky or sticky but rather soft and elastic. Knead the dough a few times and then divide it in half. I then kneaded each half a bit more, not too much, but a few turns – and then I got out my rolling pin and rolled it into a rectangle. Form each rectangle into a baguette by rolling, pressing outward with your hands, and gently tapering the dough towards the ends until you have a long, thin loaf. She had problems with the dough shrinking back; however, I believe that a few extra minutes of kneading each loaf individually alleviated that problem. Repeat the process with the second half of the dough and place them seam side down on a greased metal baking sheet.
Make sure you leave at least a loaf space between the loaves, if you have them on the same baking sheet. Cover the loaves with a floured clean cloth and let them rise in a warm place until they not quite doubled in size. I brushed them with a bit of olive oil before I covered them with a cloth. After they have finished rising, score deep diagonal slits in the tops of the loaves.
Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees, and place on the bottom rack a baking pan that you will fill with 1 cup of hot water. The water will create steam, and help the crust develop nicely on your loaves. Put your loaves on the center rack and bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350 degrees and continue baking for about 30 – 35 minutes longer. You want to bake your loaves until the crust is golden brown and the bottom sounds hollow when you tap it. In the last 5 minutes or so of baking, mix the egg white and water together and brush over the loaves.
Cool on a wire rack and enjoy!
Angel Hair Pasta with Caramelized Onions and Peas
…Or how to make something out of practically nothing!
2 Onions, thinly sliced
4-6 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
2-3 Tbsp. of unsalted butter
Salt and pepper
1 box of Angel Hair Pasta
Frozen peas – 1 bag
1 beaten egg yolk, if desired
Bring a large pot of generously salted water to boil.
While the water is coming to a boil, heat the oil and butter together over medium high heat. Put the sliced onions in and begin to sauté them, adding some salt and pepper while they cook. After they have sweat a bit, add the garlic and turn the heat down to medium. You do not want to burn the garlic; you just want it to cook, until it is nicely browned. Stir the onions and garlic a bit during this time.
Once the water is boiling, add the pasta, give it a quick stir, cover, and let cook a few minutes. You do not want to cook it the full cooking time, but about 3 minutes total. Reserve 1 1/2 to 2 cups of the pasta water, before you drain the pasta.
Place the cooked pasta into your caramelized onion/garlic mixture.
Add the peas – and you can put them in frozen, that is fine, along with some of the pasta water. Toss gently to mix. Temper the egg yolk with some of the pasta water, if you desire and add to the pasta.
Cover and cook over medium heat for a few minutes.
Just before serving, add a generous 1/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese and toss.
Serve with warm French bread and a nice glass of white wine.