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Homemade Bread and Soup

The weather was juuuuust cool enough yesterday to warrant a pot of soup and a loaf of bread.  Every season has its food benefits, but Fall has soups and stews – some of my favorite things.  Soups around here are clean-out-the-refrigerator meals, for the most part.  While I do have a few soups that call for specific ingredients, they usually are concoctions of what is in the house.  They’re fun, because they’re never quite the same from batch to batch.

I strained that big batch of pumpkin puree and had close to a quart of pumpkin juice left. (I drained it overnight in a cheesecloth-lined colander.) That went into the broth right off the bat.  Along with some beef, beef broth, carrots, rice, black and white barley, celery, beans, tomatoes, cauliflower, garlic, spinach, yellow hominy, and pasta.  I added a bit of French herbs, salt, and pepper.

It came out great.

And then we had a great loaf of bread…

It’s a really easy James Beard recipe I’ve used for years.  And years.  Really versatile, I braided this loaf and added the sesame seeds.

James Beard French-Style Bread

Ingredients

  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 cup warm water (100° to 115°, approximately)
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 1/2 cup rye flour
  • 3 tablespoons yellow cornmeal
  • 1 egg white, mixed with 1 tablespoon cold water

Directions

Combine the yeast with sugar and warm water in a large bowl and allow to proof. Mix the salt with the flour and add to the yeast mixture, a cup at a time, until you have a stiff dough. Remove to a lightly floured board and knead until no longer sticky, about 10 minutes, adding flour as necessary. Place in a buttered bowl and turn to coat the surface with butter. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, 1½ to 2 hours.

Punch down the dough. Turn out on a floured board and shape into a long, French bread-style loaf. Place on a baking sheet that has been sprinkled with the cornmeal but not buttered. Slash the tops of the loaf diagonally in two or three places, and brush with the egg wash. Place in a cold oven, set the temperature at 400°, and bake 35 minutes, or until well browned and hollow sounding when the top is rapped.

It takes no time at all to make and always is a hit!

I see a lot more of this in our future…

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