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a slow return

In recipes on 01/07/2010 at 12:23 pm

french baguette

The “undecking” of our halls has begun, and with it, a slow sliding into the familiar quiet rhythm of winter.  Having finally cleared our cupboards of the last of the holiday sugar stash, I’ve been pining for a plump, honey-colored, “I-know-what’s-in-it” loaf  of  bread from our oven. But once I was mixing and flouring, kneading and pounding, I realized that’s what I was really missing. There’s something about plunging my winter-worn fists into that supple warmth that’s quieting. I can’t quite explain it. But then perhaps, you already know…

one tsp active dry yeast
one tsp granulated sugar
one and one half cups of lukewarm water
four to four and one half cups unbleached all purpose flour
two tsps salt

In a large bowl, sprinkle yeast and sugar over the lukewarm water. Let sit about 5 minutes until foamy. Stir in 2 cups flour until combined. Then add salt and two more cups of flour. Stir until dough is stiff.

On a lightly floured surface, knead until smooth and stretchy (8 to 10 minutes), gradually adding additional half cup of flour as needed if it’s too sticky.

Lightly grease a large bowl, add dough, cover with plastic wrap and a towel. Allow dough to rise in a warm draft-free spot approx 90 minutes, until doubled.

Preheat oven to 400° F.

Remove dough, punch down, and shape into a long baguette. Place loaf diagonally on parchment paper covered baking sheet. Let rise an additional half hour in a warm, draft-free spot.

With a sharp knife, make a few diagonal slashes in the top of the loaf. Rub top of loaf with a small amount of water to moisten.

Bake on center rack 30 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with everything.

Rumor has it that Winter is making plans to visit us in all her glory later today. Should I disappear from this space tomorrow, rest assured we are without electricity, in our pajamas, with noses pressed to the windows.

p.s. The Poppies start today! Head on over to Poppytalk and nominate your favorites. Categories include:
favorite handmade housewares
favorite handmade recyclable, reusable, repurposed goods,
favorite crafter,
favorite photographer
favorite handmade jewelry,
and more.
Nominations end Tuesday, January 12th.

| days of doing one thing = 10 |

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  1. I was dreaming of this last night as I lay in bed. You’ve gotten me off the proverbial fence for sure.

    Glorious!

    Have you ever seen the Italian Baker? Fabulous book with lots of good things to read about bread in Italy.

  2. i,too, love the warmth of bread dough. i enjoy the motion of kneading, hypnotizing the body and mind while making such a basic food. i’ve come over to visit today from soule mama, poked around a bit, and am loving your style. perhaps i’ll have to come back for more!

  3. thanks for the very easy recipe.

  4. I haven’t baked bread since before Thanksgiving, and I miss it. I have a date with my oven next week, when life settles down and I’ll have some time to devote to it.

  5. Oh yes, I do love to bake me some bread. I think once you start, it becomes an addiction. Personally, I use the Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day method (which I posted about here), but reading this post, I am thinking that maybe I’m missing out on something with my “no-kneading” method. Yes, it’s fast and easy, but I can certainly see the appeal of spending some quality time with some warm, springy dough in my hands. I might just have to try your recipe and do a comparison! (Oh yes, a bread taste-test, that is right up my alley….) 🙂

  6. Will head over to Poppytalk…thanks for the heads up.
    Love these two photos and thanks for sharing the recipe.
    Have a great day.
    Char

  7. our christmas decorations are down, too…all except for the tree. kind of hard to let that one go. and i kind of like it bare with just the lights. it’s like a big houseplant.

    i hope you get your snow. we’ve been enjoying our cooler weather and scarves and jackets for a change.

  8. I am levitating…this is so homey and cozy. These images just ooze comfort.

  9. oh this recepie sounds great! too bad my oven is not working! looks delicious!
    I love your blog! all of your posts are so inspiring in one way or another!!!
    bless you!

  10. Just introduced to your site today via a link to your mail sorter project (love it) from my sister-in-law and had to read more. Loving it all, and glad to meet a kindred. Happy kneading, living and loving!

  11. Wow, that first photo is absolutely magical.

  12. Wow. Just found your blog. Love your photos! Hope to come back soon! Looks like you love baking!

  13. I was just reading and thought I would pop back up to the top and say hello.. Hello!

    ..and what a wonderful place. I look forward to coming back!

  14. That bread looks good. I’m going to have my husband make me some. (He’s the bread maker in our family.)

  15. Oh, too true! After fifteen hours of cross-country travel with three wee ones, we were welcomed home by the smell of dough rising and fresh bread baking (and a heavenly mother-in-law who thinks of such things). Incomparable. The only thing better will be getting my fists in some dough of my own.

    A very happy New Year to you (and that sweet warm babe!),
    Molly

  16. Hi, just came across your pages and had to let you know I’d been here, smiling at your life.

    Would you recommend this recipe for a complete beginner? I have only very recently started baking (or cooking at all really) and have never tried bread before.

    Thanks,

    Charlotte x

  17. looks wonderful….
    slow life here also

  18. Your baby has the same baby as my baby. 🙂

    Her name is “Sierra” and she’s been her favorite doll since she was a year old.

    Happy weekend,
    Amanda

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