Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Bread and Wine

My wonderful friend Karina visited me in the frozen North from her equally frozen Midwest, and brought along this beautiful bread.
Here's the master, kneading and wondering why I'm not helping.
This particular bread is called Sheepherder's Bread. It's a double-rising dough, and even after being punched down will completely fill the inside of whatever vessel you care to bake it in. In this case, that vessel is of course my wonderful red oven. As the idea for this blog had not entirely formed while this bread was being made, there are just a couple pictures, but more will follow!

Here's the bread, ready to go in the oven after it's second rise.
And here it is again, baked and beautiful.
This bread is beautifully fluffy, but substantial. I'd use this for bread pudding or french toast if any survives after the initial feeding frenzy is over. Here's the recipe:

from Pacific Northwest the Beautiful Cookbook
Makes 1 loaf

Notes: Everything always tastes better around the campfire, & bread is no exception. This is a dressed-up version of a back-country favorite. It takes some practice over a campfire, but it’s well worth the effort! Try it first at home in a conventional oven or in a covered grill for a colorful addition to an informal meal.

2 c. (16 fl oz./500 ml) warm (110º) water
¼ c. (2 fl oz./ 60 ml) melted butter, cooled to lukewarm
¼ c. (2 oz./60 g) sugar
1¼ t. salt
2 packages active dried yeast
About 5 c. (20 oz/625 g) unbleached all-purpose (plain) flour
1 T. chopped fresh rosemary, or 1 t. dried
Olive oil
Fresh herb sprigs for garnish
Coarse salt for garnish

Pour the hot water into a large bowl. Add the melted butter, sugar, & salt. Stir in the yeast & let sit for 10 min., or until bubbly.
Add half of the flour to the yeast mixture & beat until very smooth. Cover with a cloth & let sit for 10-15 min. Stir in the rosemary & remaining flour until the dough holds some shape & begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl. The dough should not be too stiff.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board & knead for 1-2 min., or until the dough is smooth & elastic. Cover with a clean, damp towel & let rise until almost doubled, about 1 hr.
Punch the dough down & knead it again. Brush the inside of a medium Dutch oven & the inside of the lid with olive oil. Form the dough into a ball & place it in the pot. Garnish the top of the loaf with herb sprigs & sprinkle coarse salt over the top. Cover with a damp towel & let rise until nearly doubled.
To bake in a conventional oven: Preheat the oven to 350º. Put the lid on the pot & bake the bread for 20 min., then remove the lid & bake for 15-20 min. longer, or until the bread is browned & hollow-sounding when tapped.

In case you DO decide to make bread pudding or some such sweet, I'd suggest pairing it with this mulled wine that we made out of some really tasty Shiraz from Gallo Winery, pictured below:
The spices in here are primarily cinnamon sticks, cardamom pods, nutmeg, and a big ol' orange slice. The spices came from a package, and therefore I can't be sure that's all, but the amounts below are my best guesses.

Mulled Wine
1/2 cup water, more as needed
750 ml fruity red wine (recommendations are shiraz or cabernet sauvignon)
1/4 cup of granulated sugar (more or less depending on your sweet tooth)
3 large cinnamon sticks
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
4-6 cardamom pods
pinch salt

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