Yesterday, for some reason, half my produce decided to go off. I have this weird habit of not wanting to waste anything, probably due to my mother being able to make absolutely ANYTHING into a delectable treat. So I had planned on cooking beets I had bought at the Plimoth Plantation farmers market, and putting some up in mason jars for friends. I ended up also pickling some thai bird chilies as well as make a parsley chimmichurri sauce. Oh yeah, and I decided since I was going mock ten crazy, that I would make some homemade bread. Free form.
So I’m going to focus on the bread, chili’s and parsley….and tell you more about the beets later (since beets seem to be an obsession of the Mell-Taylor households and I am confident that I will make them again soon….or tomorrow, whatever.)
So first the bread. I came across this recipe on Pinterest, but since every recipe I have ever made has ended with a smoky house or a flaming oven, I cross referenced this recipe with several others, and then gave it a toddler spin (and tried to make it as simplistic as possible). So while this bread is easy and doesn’t take a lot of time, it’s one of the most fun things I have done with Zara in the kitchen to-date. You have to try it. Fun for adults and children alike.
Italian-style, free form bread
What you need;
1 package of dry active yeast
2 tea sugar
1.5 cups of lukewarm water
3 1/4 cups of flour (I think next time I would add some baking powder, maybe a tblsp?)
2 tea salt
okay, now prepare your kid for a science experiment. In a smallish bowl, all water, yeast and sugar. Give it a quick stir. In 3-5 minutes the mixture will start to foam, this is the yeast activating. Zara thought this was amazing! In another bowl, add flour and salt. Z loves playing with flour, so she poured the flour into the bowl while I added the salt, and then she mixed it all together. Next, add the activated yeast mixture in quarters. You can mix together with a wooden spoon, BUT, I feel that you really can tell if everything is mixed together well if you use your hands (and its more fun, what kid doesn’t love to get messy…for a second?) Tip; before you start mixing with hands, give you and your kid a quick dab of olive oil to keep the mixture from sticking to your hands.
Okay! Dough is ready! Almost. Take dough out of bowl and form into two roughly shaped baguettes. Place on a greased cookie sheet, or one lined with parchment paper (my preference). Cover your loaves for 30 minutes to let them rise. While they are rising, preheat your oven to 450 and get out a half tbsp of butter, this needs to be softened. In 30 minutes your loaves should have risen (mine really didn’t, that either means bad yeast or the need for baking powder). place in the oven for 8 minutes. At the 8 minute mark, brush with butter and bake for a remaining 7 minutes. Voila! Bread! It tasted delicious! But what’s even better than plain, delicious homemade bread? Things to spread on that bread. And I wanted savory.
As I mentioned, I had some parsley that was about to go off, which I wanted to use, so I rehydrated some chili flakes (put them in olive oil for about an hour) and roughly chopped up the parsley. Then Zara added everything to our mini cuisinart thing, I added a touch of salt and pepper a little more olive oil, and then she went to town on the buttons chopping up the parsley. I gave it a quick stir, a taste, and then popped it in a medium sized mason jar to use later.
Next, I had an entire container to thai bird chili’s that I had forgotten about. I thought they would make a great hostess gift for our friend Colleen if I dressed them up a bit. So, I washed all chili’s and popped them in a medium sized mason jar. I then added white, red and rice vinegar until the jar was half full. I then added 2 whole cloves of garlic, 8 red peppercorns, some dill and topped off with white vinegar until jar was brimming. I then closed. Wouldn’t this be great diced on some bread? (If you like spicy…)