Have you ever seen the movie Hundred Foot Journey? It is definitely a foodie film encompassing fresh ingredients, cooking skills, Michelin Stars, embracing cultural differences, and of course a little love. If you have a passion for food and want to be left feeling inspired to do a handful of things all at once then I recommend you partake in a movie night very soon! May I also recommend popping extra popcorn so your stomach isn’t growling at the end like mine was!
For me, I was left wanting to fix up my bike and attach a basket to the front so I could ride it down the street to Publix instead of always using my car. Helen, in the movie, had a good bottle of champagne she had saved for 30 years. I usually have either Asti or Prosecco in my fridge for surprise moments that call for a little bubbly but I like the idea of tucking away a special bottle for life’s extra special moments. Lastly, the movie reminded me that you can bravely lose something familiar to gain new experiences out of your comfort zone.
I woke up today with picturesque views of France still stuck in my head and the feeling of inspiration lingering … I knew what I was going to make …. BREAD.
I’ve never made it from scratch nor have I even come close to attempting it because bread just seems intimidating, complex and labor intensive doesn’t it?!?
WRONG … In fact it’s easier than ever and takes just 5 ingredients!
First you want to proof the yeast by mixing it with warm water. A necessary hydration step if you are using active dry yeast. It let’s you check to see if your yeast is still fresh and active. After about 10 minutes it should have tiny bubbles, appear foamy and you should be able to smell the yeast. If none of the above happened, you may need to buy new yeast since it only has a refrigerated shelf life of about 6 months once opened.
Using the dough hook attached to your stand mixer slowly add the flour. Let the machine kneed the dough for a few minutes to incorporate all of it. The dough will start out sticky but will quickly come together. Transfer the dough, with floured hands, to the counter and kneed until smooth but no more than five minutes. Place ball of dough in a greased bowl covered with a damp kitchen towel for 30 minutes.
Like magic it nearly doubled in size! Gently remove the dough without pressing it down and lightly flour all sides. Place in bottom of preheated dutch oven, cut slits on top to give it the artisan look, and place covered in a 400° oven for 30 minutes.
I have to say it is tricky to flour the dough and place it in the bottom of the dutch oven without getting finger marks or stretching it out of shape slightly. Don’t worry, if it happens, the dough will round itself out while baking.
You will then want to remove the lid and bake for 7-10 minutes further to allow the top of bread to nicely brown. Remove from the dutch oven to cool on a cooling rack and allow it to completely cool before cutting into it.
See not bad at all! In a few hours and little effort you can have fresh homemade bread … A lot better than the store bought version! I don’t know about you but I can’t wait to experiment with fresh herbs and see what other flavors I can incorporate into this dough!
Wherever you find inspiration, one thing is for sure, food always brings people together. Have fun this new year breaking bread with friends and family over a delicious meal and stepping outside your comfort zone!
- 4 1/2 cups bread flour
- 2 tablespoons active dry yeast
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 cups warm water
- 1 tablespoon salt
- Proof yeast by adding yeast and sugar to bowl of stand mixer. Pour warm water on top. Gently whisk by hand. Let stand 10 minutes until you see tiny bubbles and has become foamy.
- In a medium size bowl mix 3 cups of flour and salt together.
- While using the dough hook attached to stand mixer add flour, one cup at a time, to the yeast mixture. The dough will still appear sticky. Add the rest of the flour 1/2 cup at a time. Continue to mix until dough forms a ball.
- Remove dough from mixing bowl and kneed by hand on counter until smooth, no more than 5 minutes. Lightly flour counter and hands to reduce stickiness.
- Place dough in a greased bowl and cover the top with a damp kitchen towel. Let rise for 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 400° oven. Place uncovered dutch oven in oven while preheating.
- Remove risen ball of dough, flour all sides, and place in bottom of preheated dutch oven.
- Cut three slits on top of dough to give artisan appearance.
- Cook covered for 30 minutes. Remove lid and continue cooking for 7-10 minutes or until top is golden.
- Remove from dutch oven and allow to cool.
- Slice and enjoy.