Bread!

I started a dough the other afternoon:

~370 g whole wheat flour

~165 g a-p flour

1 1/2 c. cold water

1/4 c. oil (I used grapeseed)

1/4 t. yeast

1 1/2 t. salt (about 10 g)

I let the mixer do the work of combining the ingredients and initially mixing the dough.  I removed the (very dense) dough from the bowl, oiled the bowl (sprayed with additional grapeseed oil), turned the dough so that the oil coated the top of the dough, and then covered the bowl with plastic wrap.  After the dough doubled in bulk, I turned it out onto the stone counter and kneaded the air out of it.  I then resprayed the bowl and set the dough back in for an overnight rise.  The next day, I came back and turned the dough back out onto the stone counter.  I kneaded it again, adding about 200 g of each finely-cubed feta (surface-dried the cheese first so that it didn’t add extra moisture to the dough) and finely chopped pitted Kalamata olives.  I kneaded these additions into the dough thoroughly, and, as expected, my hands were an oily mess when I finally put the dough into a semolina-dusted loaf pan.  I set the oven to 350 deg. F. to preheat for about a half hour while the dough had its final rise, covered with a linen cloth, on the stovetop, where the exhaust from the oven kept it warm.  The loaf baked for about 40 minutes.  The lower baking temperature allowed a crust to form without becoming too hard, so that the resulting loaf has a soft crust and crumb, with the olives and feta evenly distributed throughout.  After removing the bread from the oven, I placed it on a cooling rack covered with the linen cloth.  I gave it one hour to finish the baking process (the interior of the loaf continues to bake after it’s removed from the oven for about an hour, so don’t slice freshly-baked bread that hasn’t sat out for at least an hour!).

So far, I’ve had a couple of slices and a heel.  Kat’s had about the center third of the loaf.  The remaining portion will likely be consumed before we depart this evening for the weekend.

This morning, I chopped about a cup of dried sour cherries and added them to shredded coconut.  I preheated the oven to 325 deg. F, then added about an 1/8 t. of salt, 3/4 c. of a-p flour, and 1 T granulated sugar to the cherry-coconut mixture, stirring thoroughly to evenly distribute the flour into the fruit.  I added a can of sweetened condensed milk and mixed the mass thoroughly until it had a consistent, not altogether “wet” consistency.  I used a 2T scoop (1/8 c.) to form individual macaroons onto silicone-lined baking sheets.  I ended up with 39 of them on two baking sheets.  I baked them for about 20 minutes, until they had a tinge of brown on their tops.

Incidentally, I decided to make use of the oven more fully and roasted some garlic as well (I used my enameled cast iron Le Crueset garlic roaster).  Since the garlic roaster has a lid, I wasn’t worried about contaminating the flavor of the macaroons with garlic.

The garlic, roasted with EVOO drizzled on top, is now ready to be mashed and spread onto toast.  Perhaps the feta-olive bread will meet mashed roasted garlic as my afternoon snack!

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