Italian Bread

Italian Bread

I realize that I haven’t posted in quite a while.  Life has just been going on.  I haven’t been all that inspired to create a post.  This weekend I decided to get back into the baking game.  Perusing through The Fresh Loaf, I came upon this recipe.  Rather than create 2 large loaves, I cut the recipe in half.  I also recently purchased some non-fat dry milk to test out since it is easier to keep than fresh milk.  Since there are only 2 of us eating the bread, I also elected to divide what I did make into 2 smaller boules.

Ingredients:

Preferment

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup bread flour (or AP flour) – I used bread flour
  • 1/4 tsp active dry yeast

Dough

  • Preferment
  • 2.5 cups bread flour (or AP flour) – I used 1 cup bread and 1.5 cup AP flour
  • 1/4 cup dry (non-fat) milk
  • 1/2 Tbsp (1.5 tsp) sugar
  • 1/2 Tbsp (1.5 tsp) salt
  • 1 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1/2 Tbsp (1.5 tsp) olive oil
  • 1 cup water

I made the preferment the night before my combining all the ingredients listed into a bowl and covering it and leaving it at room temperature.

IMG_20190303_113040.jpg

IMG_20190303_113526

The next day I mixed all the ingredients of the above Dough together into a large mixing bowl.  I dumped this onto my counter and proceeded to knead it.  I don’t know if it was due to the recent rains we’ve had making the house more humid but this dough was way too sticky.

IMG_20190303_115624.jpg

 

I ended up adding in about an additional 1/4 cup of flour to make the dough more easily handle-able and knead-able.  After kneading for around 12-14 minutes I placed the formed dough into an oiled bowl.

IMG_20190303_120145.jpg

I let this sit covered at room temperature for about 2 hours to allow it to double in size.

IMG_20190303_141059

After doubling I did a stretch and fold (within the bowl) to get some air out and then let it rest an additional 30 minutes.

I then dumped the dough out onto a lightly floured countertop surface and divided it in half.  These were each formed into a ball shape and covered and let to rest an additional 20 minutes.

IMG_20190303_144437.jpg

Following the rest, I formed each one into a boule, creating a tight seal on the bottom of the dough.  One of these boules I placed into a bowl with a lightly floured cloth and put in the fridge since I was only going to bake one at a time (couldn’t fit them both in my oven).  The other one I also formed into a boule and put in a floured cloth bowl at room temperature for 1 hour.

I pre-heated the oven to 425 with a dutch oven (with the lid slightly ajar…I had read about dutch ovens cracking in the oven if they were empty and covered).

Once the dough had doubled (or close to it), I placed it on parchment paper and created an “X” over the surface and placed this in the dutch oven covered.  I did spray the bread with water just before covering it.  I baked this at 10 minutes and then removed the lid.

IMG_20190303_162525.jpg

I then baked it an additional 20 minutes.  It had a nice crust.

IMG_20190303_164654.jpg

Midway through baking the above boule I removed the other one from the fridge to let it come to temperature.  I waited until I had a partial spring back of the dough when you pressed it with your finger.  I put this boule on parchment paper and created some cuts on top and then placed this directly on a baking steel (instead of a baking stone).  I also sprayed this with water and baked for ~28 minutes.  This one was a little over-baked.

img_20190303_174413.jpg

The taste and crumb came out great for both of the boules.  I was happy with this first-time Italian bread experiment.  Will definitely make again in the future.

IMG_20190303_185939.jpg

-StewsCat

2018 Year-end running summary

In the end I ran the 2nd lowest total yearly mileage since I started regularly running in 2010.  I can chalk up 2010 to a low mileage due to moving from the midwest to SD and also for a very crazy work year.  This year’s (2018) low mileage total can be chalked up to a lack of motivation and lack of races.  I only ran one organized race this year, which was a half marathon early in the year (link here).

2018 Total miles: 542

Total runs: 142 (Avg 2.8 runs/week)

My total number of runs was only a little less than last year but the main difference was the distances per run especially the latter half of the year.  I am proud to have managed to do regular runs (albeit on a treadmill) during our cruise in 2018. Continue reading “2018 Year-end running summary”

Chocolate chip cookies!!

Chocolate chip cookies!!

Ever since I started baking, I focused moreso on bread and didn’t really do much dessert type baking.  I wanted to make some chocolate chip cookies for work so looked up some recipes online.  I found a few and then picked one.  I am not exactly sure where I got it from now (oops!).  I also wanted to try making puffier cookies vs the really thin flat ones.  In the end I think they turned out pretty good.  It’s a really easy recipe too.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup room temperature butter (preferably pull it out in the morning and make cookies later that evening)
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 2 cups chocolate chips (or whatever chips you like…peanut butter, butterscotch, etc)
  1.  Mix flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt
  2.  Cream the butter with the two types of sugar
  3.  Beat eggs and vanilla into the butter/sugar mixture
  4. Mix dry ingredients with butter/sugar mix.
  5. Add chocolate chips and incorporate

IMG_20181015_201415.jpg

Continue reading “Chocolate chip cookies!!”

Cruise – Day 13 (Bergen, Norway)

Cruise – Day 13 (Bergen, Norway)

Our last port of call was Bergen, which is also located on the west coast of Norway.  This is the second largest city in the country.  The forecast for this day called for intermittent rain.  For the most part during our entire trip, we had mostly decent days of minimal rain.  Luckily our dock was a short walk to the city center (I counted at least 3 or 4 other cruise ships in port the same time that we were there).

IMG_20180817_081809IMG_20180817_081817IMG_20180817_090826IMG_20180817_091533

Continue reading “Cruise – Day 13 (Bergen, Norway)”

Cruise – Day 12 (Ålesund, Norway)

Cruise – Day 12 (Ålesund, Norway)

Day 11 of the cruise was a sea day.  Not too much exciting stuff happened on the boat…mostly just relaxing and eating and exercising.

Our cruise had 2 stops in Norway.  I didn’t realize how narrow the country actually is.  It’s kind of interesting though that it has such an extensive coastline heading toward the north pole.  Since we were cruising, the two stop were both port cities.  Our first stop of Ålesund is on the mid-western coast of the nation.  This city is known for its German art nouveau architecture.  I didn’t realize there were different types of art nouveau.  Many of the sights again required driving of some sort but we decided to just hoof it on foot and explore the small town.

IMG_20180816_110223IMG_20180816_110237IMG_20180816_110242IMG_20180816_110405IMG_20180816_110424IMG_20180816_110440

Upon arrival it was overcast and started to rain when we disembarked.  Luckily the rain was intermittent throughout the day so much of it was just gloomy and gray (I actually like this kind of weather).

IMG_20180816_101230.jpg

Continue reading “Cruise – Day 12 (Ålesund, Norway)”