Saturday, January 16, 2010

French Bread Version 1.0

Cooking started early this Saturday with a cake in the oven by 9AM. Alex and I were planning to go see my grandparents for lunch and wanted to bring along something sweet so I made Moosewood Kitchen's Orange Cake.

Orange Cake
1 1/2 cups butter, softenened
1 3/4 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp grated orange rind
1 tsp vanilla
3 cups flour
1 tbsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup orange juice

Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Added eggs one at a time, beating well. Stirred in orange rind and vanilla. Combined dry ingredients in one bowl and sour cream and OJ in another. Added these mixes alternately to butter mix, starting and ending with dry mix. Poured into greased bundt pan and baked at 350F for 1 hour. Cooled in pan for 15 min then completely on wire rack.

While cake was cooling, I made the following glaze:
Orange Glaze
1/2 cup orange juice
1-2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp lemon juice

Combined ingredients in a small saucepan and brought to a boil. Lowered heat and simmered uncovered for ~3 minutes. Poured hot glaze on cooled cake.

Another project I undertook early on Saturday morning was a more ambitious first attempt at baking French bread. I made the dough using my food processor and I can't begin to explain how ridiculously easy this appliance makes this process. Simply place 3 cups of flour, 1 tsp salt and 1 packet of instant yeast in the bowl. While running add 1 cup of water. Process until dough forms a ball, adding more water if needed. The dough was ready in a minute! Then I put it in a bowl and let it rise for several hours while I went to hang with the grandparents.

When I got home, I shaped the dough into a loaf and let it rise for another hour, cutting slashes on the top. I preheated the oven at 400F and then reduced heat to 375F before putting the bread in to bake. I baked it for ~45 minutes until the center temperature was 210F.

For my first try, I think the bread turned out ok. The bottom was a little overdone and the top could have been browner, but the inside was perfect in taste and texture. I think that one key part of making great bread is having humidity in the oven, so I will try that next time. It really wasn't much work to make my own bread and I hope to get better with practice.

With the bread, we had a cauliflower and potato gratin. Again, my food processor came in handy for slicing a couple pounds of potatoes. I parboiled half of a large head of cauliflower and combined in a 9x13 pan with the sliced potatoes. I covered these with a roux made from 2 tbsp butter, 3 tbsp flour and 2 1/2 cups milk with ~1 cup of mixed gruyere and parmesan stirred in. I then sprinkled the top with ~1/4 cup more cheese and baked at 375F for 45 minutes.

1 comment:

  1. There is really nothing like homemade bread! And I love the way it makes the house smell, even when it's just rising. The gratin looks good, too. Mmmm...