First of all, my post yesterday was supposed to publish today, I must have done something wrong when I scheduled the post, I decided not to pull it and didn’t mention it hoping no one noticed the discrepancy. It is actually one year ago today that my Nando passed. Thank you all for your kind words and support!
August 1 is the day that the harvest is celebrated, it is nearing the end of the summer and fruits and vegetables are ripe and ready for harvest. We are also inching closer to the Fall (my favorite season) looking forward to cooler temperatures, apples, pumpkins, sweaters, leaves turning a beautiful color, Halloween. Well, I guess you can tell how much I love the Autumn. To celebrate a plentiful and abundant harvest I made some bread. This bread has been posted on this blog numerous times, it’s a recipe I use over and over each time with stellar results. The recipe is from my friend Cynthia @The Solitary Cook. She is a professional chef, baker, caterer, restauranteur, she is amazing. The bread always turns out good. The recipe makes a lot of bread. I made a large boule, 8 rolls and still have bread dough resting in the fridge that I will make tomorrow, it gets even better with a good long rest to develop. The grilled cheese sandwich was inspired by my dear friend Cheryl (cheffie cooks Wiser, aka super woman who successfully runs 9 blogs, I have mentioned her before. She made this wonderful grilled cheese sandwich and although I cannot find it on her site, I wanted to give a shout out to Cheryl who inspires me all the time.
I made the bread yesterday and it was dinner with a salad made from tomatoes from my garden and from the farmers market and some tomato balsamic jam and olive oil to dip that bread in.
This is an abbreviated version of the bread recipe without the wonderful tutorial from Cynthia, follow the link to her blog for expert directions.
Rustic Italian Bread
Makes 3 loaves, or 2 loaves and 8 rolls (You decide)
12 ounces warm water
1 tsp active dry yeast or 1/2 tsp instant yeast (I used 1 tsp instant yeast)
2 cups bread flour
Mix everything together, cover with plastic wrap and a tea towel and let rise until double in bulk. Then refrigerate overnight.
The Bread Dough
16 oz warm water
2 tsp active dry yeast or 1 tsp instant yeast ( I used 1 1/2 tsp instant yeast)
1/4 cup warm milk
approx 1 heaping tbs of honey
2 tsp salt
4 cups bread flour
2 cups all purpose flour
Note: If using active dry yeast add the water and yeast and whisk to combine. If using instant you don’t have to do that you can add everything together.
Add all ingredients to the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Mix until it is completely combined there should be no streaks of flour. Turn off the mixer, you will let the dough rest it’s called autolyse. Cover the bowl with plastic and let sit for 20-30 minutes. When you see the dough after you have let it rest it will come together nicely when kneaded. Turn the mixer on and knead for at least 5 minutes, if the dough is too wet add a little more bread flour so it’s cohesive. You will know when the dough is ready by doing the windowpane test, grab a walnut size piece of dough and stretch gently with your fingers, if it doesn’t break it’s read, if it does break knead a little longer to develop the gluten.
Oil a very large bowl or 2 large bowls, plop the dough in, turn over so it’s oiled on top. Cover with plastic wrap and a tea towel and let rise until doubled. Once it’s risen you can take as much of the dough as you want and make some bread, put the other dough in the refrigerator to rest for up to 2 days.
Once risen, form your bread onto a parchment lined baking sheet, dust with flour and cover with a tea towel and let it rise for about an hour. To know if it’s ready it should have almost doubled in bulk and when you gently press your finger onto the dough the indent should stay not pop back.
While your bread is rising pre heat the oven to 450 degree’s. Slash the top of the bread approximately 1/2 inch deep, dust with flour and place in the oven, throw in some ice cubes and reduce the heat to 425 degree’s. Turn the pan around after 15 minutes and bake approximately 35-40 minutes depending on the size of the loaf or rolls. The bread should sound hollow when tapped and be a nice golden brown. Let cool completely before slicing.
Grilled Cheese Sandwich – No recipe required
sauteed shallot or onion
tomato or tomato jam
cheese (I used taleggio)
Grill the zucchini and saute the shallot until nicely browned season with a little salt. Put it all together and grill in olive oil and butter until crispy golden brown and cheese is melty and gooey.