We’ve gone from 90°F to 50°F in mere days, with wind, rain, thunderstorms, and tornado watches… Right now, it’s pouring rain outside and my sunburn from the baseball game on Thursday is rapidly fading.
Welcome to Spring in Pennsylvania.
Inclement weather means bake a loaf of bread, since we already have cake. Rotten weather outside usually brings me into the kitchen – any excuse to turn on the oven and use my baking stones. I do like these baking stones. I also like the double ovens and the fact that I can leave them in the oven all of the time. It makes bread and pizza-making so much easier. And I do like easy. Or, rather, convenience. It’s why the mixer is on the counter. If we had more room, the food processor would be there, too.
We all have our own idea of what convenience is… One of mine is the ability to keep baking stones in the oven. For others, it’s having a bakery next door. Neither is wrong. It’s your world and your reality.
I think what truly brought that home to me was when I first started demo cooking. I would come up with these grandiose ideas and my dear friend and demo partner, Ruth, would smack me upside the head and say “I have two screaming kids and 20 minutes to get dinner on the table. Simplify that.” Having children in the house wasn’t my reality. Having to have dinner on the table at a set time wasn’t my reality. I learned to step outside of myself and think in terms of other people.
That really helped when we moved Victor’s mom in with us 5 years ago. Set meal times and constantly changing food likes and dislikes are now the norm around here.
Welcome to my new reality.
Our other new reality is we can’t be locked into her dietary whims. Cooking two meals is a reality – as much as I swore it would never happen and I would never do it. It’s amazing how mindsets can change.
The good thing about changing the mindset was being able to have fun in the kitchen, again, and not dread the will she eat this? scenario. I flat-out know she will not eat any bread I bake – she only eats store-bought potato bread – preferably Stroehmann Dutch Country Premium Potato Bread. It frees me from having to worry about her liking it. I get to bake what I want and she has her own loaf that neither of us will touch.
Other things can still be a bit more iffy, but I’m learning…
What I baked, today, was a loaf of Pistachio, Onion, and Cheese Bread.
A relatively easy loaf to pull together, with a crusty crust and a really soft crumb. The milk, the oil, and that little bit of sugar really add tenderness.
Pistachio, Onion, and Cheese Bread
- 1 3/4 cup white flour (I use Italian “00”)
- 1/2 cup sprouted wheat flour
- 1/4 cup rye flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 2 1/4 tsp – 1 package – active dry yeast
- 1 cup warm milk
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/2 cup pistachios, roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup provolone cheese, diced
Sift flour, salt and sugar into a large bowl.
Dissolve the yeast in 1/2 cup of the warm milk. Pour it into the middle of the flour together with the oil and rest of the milk.
Knead well until the dough is firm and blended into a smooth, springy ball (about 10 minutes.) Leave in a warm place to rise for about 2 hours.
Punch down, mix in pistachios, cheese, and onions. Shape into loaf and let rise for about 45 minutes.
Bake at 400° for 35-40 minutes or until the loaf is nicely-browned and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.
Can be baked on greased baking sheet or bread stone.
This smelled heavenly when it was baking and I barely waited for it to cool before slicing into it. My excuse was I wanted to write this post before dinner. The reality was I wanted a piece of bread with butter – immediately.
The recipe needs about 2 1/2 cups of flour, so play with it and use what you like. These proportions work well for me, but your results can vary. Add more wheat or rye – just make sure at least one full cup of the flour is white to keep it from being too dense.
And have fun!