Sunday, November 27, 2011

No Knead Dutch Oven Bread

I thought I would try my hand at some Dutch oven bread last week and have really been impressed at how easy it is to make.

Looking online I found the widely disseminated Jim Lahey recipe and followed it pretty close. There are numerous discussions and websites on the topic of this simple bread. It does make a perfect loaf with very little effort. I've been using a whole wheat variation by substituting one of the 3 cups of flour with whole wheat. This is great slicing bread and is as beautiful to look at as it is tasty to eat. I haven't tried cooking it outdoors with coals as my heat source yet but will get there I'm sure.

You will need to mix this dough the day before you bake it so it does take a little planning.
The recipe yields one 1 1/2 pound loaf.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
wheat bran for dusting

parchment paper
6 -8 quart cast iron, Pyrex, enamel, or ceramic covered pot.

1. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add 1 5/8 cup of  warm water and stir until blended. Dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rest for 12 to 18 hrs. at warm room temperature.

2. Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.

3. Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. At this point I dust a sheet of parchment paper with wheat bran (you can use flour or cornmeal) and put the dough seam side down on it. Dust the top of the loaf with wheat bran and let it rise for 2 hrs. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.

4.At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put your covered dutch oven in the oven as it heats. When dough is ready, slice a slit or two across the top of it and carefully (using the parchment paper) place it into the hot pot. Cover it and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the lid and bake for about 15 minutes longer until the loaf is brown. Cool on a rack.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Asheville Fall Charity Jam

Black Betty and I had the pleasure of attending the 1st Annual Asheville Fall Charity Jam in Arden on Saturday.

The Asheville Fall Charity Jam is dedicated to raising awareness about local heroes in our community.  
This year the benefit was held for the family of Asheville Firefighter Captain Jeff Bowen who lost his life while fighting a massive building fire this summer.  A few words from Stacy Bowen about her husband.

The line up included The Southern Lights, East Coast Dirt, Ras Alan, Chalwa, The Whitewater Bluegrass Band, Phuncle Sam, and Snake Oil Medicine Show.

The location was great, the crowd was friendly and intimate, and the line-up was stellar. We had a wonderful time, made several new friends, visited with old friends, and listened to some really talented local musicians.
I sincerely hope that lots of money was raised for this great cause. We can't wait to see how this event will continue to unfold in the future.

Here's a little video of Ras Alan and friends performing during the afternoon.