Monday, June 17, 2013

Behold, solid beer

My culinary skills are suspect, even at my best I am capable of burning water. A few months ago, we bought this cast iron skillet combo and rarely use it.

Why? Read the reviews, they are all correct. It's a very good piece of equipment.

A couple of weeks ago, I made burgers in it. Bad idea doing it in the house. The kitchen filled up with smoke rather quickly. Windows had to be opened. The smell lingered for a few days. The burgers however, were delicious.

I've toyed in my mind for a long time to make bread. Never had a breadmaker and I'm certainly not the type to spend hours flinging dough around. I am a lazy cook, on a good day.

So I was researching recipes on line and came across a few, what appeared to be simple ways to bake bread in a Dutch Oven.

Last night I assembled the ingredients, mixed them up, covered the bowl in plastic and waited. Pro-tip, do not mix with a whisk.

The mixture began to bubble and expand, for a moment I wondered if the bowl would be too small and the kitchen would fill up with a massive amount of fermenting dough. Then my wife reminded me that it would bubble then fall back which was when I remembered this process from my homebrewing days. I was not a good brewer either.

This morning the glop of dough was ready to be pressed into shape and put into the oven. I'm not sure it got into quite the shape I wanted, but it was on its way.

Did a variant on the recipe I posted and added parchment paper to the mix.

The process called for covering with the top of the skillet, then waiting half an hour to remove the top. Remember, iron gets really, really hot. No, I was not burned. I was prepared.

Bread smells came out of the oven. It seemed to be working out. Had to wait another half hour for it to be done. Would it be? Would it look right at least?

It looked alright to me. Thought it would rise higher but that might be because I did not shape it enough. The crust was hard and substantial. Yay!

Now the moment of real Truth. How would it taste?

Have to say, pretty darn good! Seems a bit salty but it's chewy, has a great crust and I can't wait to get out the olive oil and have a pleasant lunch later.

So there's my first loaf of bread, and yes, I had to blog about it. Posted pictures to Facebook too, it was my John Lennon in 1978 Polaroid moment.

Twenty four hours ago, this did not exist. I am amazed what can be done with four simple ingredients.

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