...reading a good book and baking a good bread, both in the same afternoon.
The book in question is the latest installment of the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series by Alexander McCall Smith. There are times when you are just not in the mood for hi-falutin' writing, literary flourishes or subjects that give you sleepless nights; when all you want is to hear a good story and close the book with a feeling that all is well with the world. This series is for those times. I adore the "traditionally built" Mma Ramotswe and her little white van and her wise and kind heart, and it is a pleasure to see her at work in her detective agency in Botswana. I read this book while waiting for the bread to rise and proof.
The bread in question is Light Wheat Bread that I bookmarked ages ago from Smitten Kitchen. I've been looking for a nice sandwich loaf, and this recipe looked just right, meaning that I usually have all these ingredients on hand.
The recipe calls for 4 cups flour in all, and I used the following proportions:
1½ cup bread flour +
1½ cup white whole wheat flour +
1 cup whole wheat flour
So while the bread contained enough bread flour to make it airy and soft, it also contains more than 50% whole wheat flour to make it tasty and nutritious.
I followed the recipe closely. One important thing I learned while making this bread was the windowpane test used to determine if the bread has been kneaded long enough. Now I realize that I have not been kneading bread very well all my life. Hmm. You live and you learn, right?
The instant yeast worked its magic in the damp heat of my kitchen and the bread rose quite dramatically in much less time than was specified in the recipe. It took only 20 minutes to get from this...
Here's the loaf, chubby as can be.
Look, I made sandwich bread!
The results were terrific- the bread was soft and tender with a nice crust, just like you want sandwich bread to be. I'll be making this again and again. We made brie, tomato and arugula sandwiches with freshly baked bread for a light summer supper.
I'm sending this post to Madhuram's Whole Grain (Eggless) Baking Event. The theme this month is Whole Wheat.
I signed up for Taste and Create this month, the event in which participants are paired up and try a recipe from each other's blogs. I was paired with Katie of One Little Corner of the World. Katie lives near St. Louis and her blog has many references to restaurants in this area; I found some new restaurants that I would like to try.
It was a little bit challenging to find a meatless recipe on Katie's blog, but I zoned in on her Father's Day meal and the chimichurri sauce - I've always wanted to try making this. This sauce of fresh herbs is perfect for summer dining.
I started off following Katie's recipe exactly but ran into a little snag. It turned out that the amount of herbs etc. was too small for my large food processor bowl, and my sauce wouldn't really come together. So I added a handful of walnuts to help the sauce along, and in the process, invented this chimichurri pesto of sorts (now I'm annoying people on two continents with this unholy fusion, I'm sure). But it tasted great!
I made some vegetable-kidney bean-cheese empanadas to go with the sauce. The empanadas were tasty but I definitely need to tweak the recipe some more, so I'll post it at some later time.
see you in a few!