Want to get into bread baking during this quarantine but don’t know where to start? Here are two ideas:
Navajo Flatbread: Simple and fast, minimum ingredients, no yeast needed. Most cultures have something like this. Think naan, pita, frybread, etc. H/t to Ilya Radchenko for sharing this link!
No-knead bread – Simplest regular loaf-style bread I know about. From Jim Lahey at Sullivan Street Bakery. Needs yeast and a dutch oven to bake. I use this same recipe but sub in sourdough starter for the yeast and give it a long fermentation in the fridge before baking. H/t to Tyler Machovina for sharing this recipe with me 4 years ago, and for sharing the sourdough starter with me!
Due to the cold rainy weather last weekend, I decided to dig my Pizza Steel out and bake some bread! This marks the first time I tried making bread from the Baking with Steel cookbook.
The recipe calls for the dough to be made at least 24 hours prior to baking, so you need to plan ahead. I started with good bread flour, I chose “King Arthur Flour” and Platinum Superior Baking Yeast by Red Star. I figured if I start with quality ingredients, I cannot blame failure on the materials!
Ingredients: Bread flour, salt, dry active yeast, warm water. (CAG’s note: I don’t publish the entire recipe unless the author has posted it somewhere else online. I don’t want to rip off their work. I’d prefer you buy their books.)
Following the recipe, I measured the flour by weight.
I used my stand mixer equipped with a dough hook. 3 to 4 minutes did the job, just needed to get all the dry clumps out.
My dough was sticky and bubbly, I needed plenty of flour on my board. The recipe says to place the ball seam side up in a floured breadbasket to rest for 2 more hours.. I don’t own one so I placed it on a floured plate.
I coated my pizza peel with semolina and scored the top of the loaf with a razor, launched onto my Dough Joe, then baked for 25 minutes.
It turned out great! It was delicious and lasted in a plastic bag for about a week. I’d definitely make it again.
If you want to join me in the Cooking the Books challenge, send your posts to firstname.lastname@example.org! I’ll guest post them here on Cook Like Chuck. Here are some guidelines:
Send me a decent photo of the book to use as the featured image
Send me photos of the meal you cooked
Write a little bit about the book, why you chose it, and how the meal turned out
Send me a photo of the recipe
Let’s dust off those cookbooks and put them to use this year.
We take sandwiches very seriously in the Grimmett household. We are picky about the ingredients and the way they are arranged. Admittedly, sometimes we take things a little too far, but as our friend Thomas says, “If it is worth doing, it is worth overdoing.” We agree.
BLTs (I’m referring to bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwiches, not one of the other 105 possible meanings of that acronym) are really good. If you are just starting to learn how to cook, start with something simple and delicious like the BLT. It will taste great, ease you into cooking for yourself and others, and be a solid option you can experiment with and make variations of for the rest of your life. Here is my version.
The most important part of a BLT is the bacon, so don’t skimp here. Go buy some quality bacon (if you need help, consult this book), then take a moment to consider how you are going to prepare it to maximize its value on the sandwich. Here is what I recommend:
Cut the bacon to slightly larger than the size of the bread you are using. It will shrink a little while cooking, so the finished product should be the same size as your bread. Edge-to-edge porky, smokey goodness. In this sandwich I used a half-pound, but if you aren’t feeling quite as hungry you can use less.
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees
Lay your bacon on a foil-lined pan, making sure it overlaps. This is crucial because you want to be able to move your slab of cooked bacon to the bread in one easy step.
Cook it for 20-30 minutes depending on how thick the bacon is and how crispy you like it. Turn on the broiler for the last 5 to ensure it gets crispy.
Our bacon stared out like this:
And ended up like this:
What’s next? Condiments. Most people use mayo, but if you have a ripe avocado around, mash it up with two tablespoons of sour cream until it turns into a creamy paste like so:
Wash your lettuce, slice the tomatoes, and slice off a piece of red onion, then you are ready to assemble the great sandwich that awaits you.
Take a thick piece of toast, spread on some of the avocado cream, and push a few pieces of red onion down into it.
Then carefully lay the bacon on top such that it covers the whole piece of toast. The goal is to have is bacon in every bite.
Layer on the tomatoes and crisp lettuce.
Top it all off with another piece of thick toast.
Flip it over, cut it in half, then get your phone ready to snap a pic for Instagram. (If you actually do post it to instagram, use the hashtag #cooklikechuck !)