We had a beautiful Christmas. Lennis lined luminaries around our home. A Christmas Eve tradition with our family. The paper lanterns flickered through the night into the early morning hours. The glowing candle lanterns warmed my soul and my heart as I glanced through our frosty windows throughout the night. I love the story connected with luminaries. I've touched on the history in a past post. The arctic blast of Canadian air that blew in a couple of days ago didn't seem so bad. No worries. The cold reminds me of the Midwest winters we had when I was growing up. I refer to them ice skating winters. The consecutive number of really frigid days required to freeze the lakes and ponds enough for safe skating. Two words, EXTRA LAYERS!
The bread... I have this thing for round loafs of bread. In fact I have this thing for the shape of round. Tables, cookies, ever wonder why a cookie is round? I've touched on this topic before. Round versus square tables. H'm, some folks feel quite strongly just as I do about their table preference shape. Chatting about table shapes could be a great ROUND table conversation, I believe! You may want to fastidiously choose whom you strike up the discussion with. Otherwise the lend me an ear topic may bore the recipient.
All round versus square chit-chat kidding aside, back to the topic of homemade bread.
I use several recipes when making round loafs of bread. Two of the receipts are my favorite though.
The first recipe:
Rosemary Olive Oil Bread
1 cup warm water (100-110 F)
1 Tbsp. organic cane sugar
2 tsp. active dry yeast
1 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. fresh rosemary, chopped (or 2 tsp. dried)
1/4 tsp. Italian seasoning (or pinch of each ground garlic, dried oregano, and dried basil)
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
1/2 cup bread flour + extra for kneading
1 egg, whisked + 1 Tbsp. water, for egg wash
dried rosemary, for sprinkling
1. In a large bowl, combine the warm water, sugar, and yeast. Let sit 10 minutes to proof.
2. Stir in the salt, rosemary, seasonings, olive oil, and whole wheat flour. Add the bread flour and stir until the dough forms a ball. Knead on a lightly floured surface for about 5 minutes, adding more flour as necessary to prevent sticking, until smooth.
3. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl; cover; and let rise until doubled in size, about1 hour.
4. Punch down the dough and form it into a round loaf. Place in a round pie pan or dutch oven cornmeal dusted; cover; and let rise until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.
5. Meanwhile, preheat oven (and pizza stone) to 400 F. Once the dough has risen, gently brush the top with egg wash and sprinkle with dried rosemary.
6. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the top is golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped.
Makes 1 round loaf.
(full recipe: makes 2, 8-in pans: 8-12 servings)
3/4 c. pineapple juice
2 1/4 tsp yeast
3 c. flour
1/2 c. milk, warmed
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 c. granulated sugar
4 Tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 tsp salt
Place pineapple juice into a small bowl and microwave until warm (about 100 degrees). Add yeast, stir and let sit for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, warm the milk and melt the butter in the microwave. Combine, and add sugar. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, pour juice and yeast mixture. Add 1 cup of flour and stir to combine. Add warm milk, eggs, sugar, melted butter and salt and stir to combine. Add the remaining 2 cups of flour and stir to combine. Dough will be very soft and sticky. Beat on medium-low speed for 2 minutes.
Scrape down the sides of the bowl and lightly spray with cooking spray. Cover with plastic wrap and let raise in a warm place for 1 hour.
Spray two 8-inch round cake pans with cooking spray and dust with a little flour. Pour dough into pan, cover and let raise for 45 minutes (or until doubled in size). With about 15 minutes left, preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes until golden brown. Best if eaten warm from the oven!
NOTE: If you have some of this bread left over, which by the way, you probably won't, it makes the BEST FRENCH TOAST ever! Since it's a somewhat sweet bread it the perfect bread for dipping in egg. Make sure you top it with real maple syrup. Can you say YUM! YUM! YUM!
This time of year I always begin to ponder thoughts of new bittersweets. This season is no exception. Plans are spinning and lists are in the works for new soap flavors. Soap names like, Wild Poppy and Rosy Sandalwood come to mind. Oh and by the way... Patchouli soap will be back just in time for Valentine's Day!
Hoping you had a glorious Christmas! The small blessings are sometimes the most rewarding of all, aren't they?
Happy after Christmas day!