Saturday, March 13, 2010

Rustic Round Loaf, etc

I have, for the last twenty minutes, tried to come up with an amusing description of my day, a few charming stories of the goings on at the Unfarm today, and a clever segue into my bread recipe, but I've come up empty handed. I am, apparently, all out of good ideas for today. I blame my 9am two hour accounting final. Well, whatever the reason, the words aren't coming to me and I will have to content myself with a less than spectacular blog. Here goes nothing.

My day, except for the accounting final and my late afternoon ennui, was not very noteworthy. I have no idea how I did on my final, I can only hope that I passed it so that I never have to deal with accounting again. I also have no idea what triggered the case of ennui, but the result was that for a couple of hours I was completely unmotivated to do anything other than lie on the couch and stare at pictures of me as a five year old. I eventually forced myself off the couch and went out to put the chickens away, bring the ducks in, and (in a burst of motivation) take the dogs out for a walk. Somewhere in between the final and the ennui I decided to finally try out a bread recipe I've had for a few weeks. It's surprisingly simple to make, turned out well and looks like one of those fancy rustic style loaves of bread you see in gourmet bakeries. But you don't have to take my word for it... (notice the Reading Rainbow reference??)

Rustic Round Loaf
*you'll need a 6-8 quart cast iron pot with a lid

3 cups bread flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast (or 1 packet)
1 1/2 cups water (between 120 and 130 degrees F)
olive oil as needed

Mix the flour, salt, and yeast in a large bowl, and then add the water and stir with a wooden spoon until it's blended. The dough will be "shaggy." Let it rest in the bowl in a warm room (70 degrees F) for 4 hours. Spray some olive oil onto a work surface (I just used a metal cookie sheet - I figured the bread board would be too sticky) and knead the dough a couple times. Cover the dough loosely with plastic wrap and let it rest another 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 450 F, placing the pot in the oven as it heats. When the dough is ready, take the pot out, put the dough into it, put the lid on, and bake it for 30 minutes. Then remove the lid and bake for another 15 to 30 minutes until it is golden brown. Remove the bread and let it cool on a rack. Voila.

Things on the Unfarm have been quiet today, for the most part, with the exception of the rabbits, who are conspiring against me to get in as much trouble as possible. They are spending the evening launching a coordinated attack against the cardboard box that holds the fire escape ladder. I'll chase one of them away only to turn around and discover that the other one has taken advantage of the opportunity to sneak in behind me and start tearing at the cardboard again. Cardboard, it would seem, is one of the four food groups of rabbits. Occasionally the bunnies will leave the cardboard alone and move on to chewing the wood trim around the closet. This is why I do not generally let the rabbits have their free time when I can't be there to supervise. It always results in property damage. The only thing that could cause more damage would be to turn a beaver loose in here. Which, the way I tend to attract animals, is not an altogether impossible situation...

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