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Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

New Bread Success

I’m a big fan of fresh-baked bread, as should be no secret to any regular reader of this blog. I like fresh bread with dinner, and bread still warm from the oven is so much better than bread that’s been sitting around for days. Some of my friends follow the advice of Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day which is a great book that advocates keeping live bread dough in the refrigerator, than pulling out a hunk and quickly shaping it into a loaf. After 30 minutes of resting time and 30 in the oven, you have fresh bread.

That is actually great advice, but the dough bowl takes up a lot of refrigerator space, and we don’t have that many dinners per week that suggest a bread side, so I was looking for another shortcut. Enter the brown and serve dinner loaf.

The loaves above were made with my Italian bread recipe, but instead of making two big 2-lb loaves and baking them for 50 minutes at 400 degrees, I made small 8 ounce loaves and baked them for an hour at 275. The result is bread that is fully baked but not browned. I then wrapped the loaves and put them in the freezer.

Tonight, to accompany a lovely white cheddar pasta bake that Melissa made, I pulled one loaf out of the deep freeze, let it thaw briefly on the counter, then popped it into a 375 degree over for 15 minutes, It turned out soft and delicious, and you couldn’t tell that it wasn’t baked fresh on the spot. The 8-oz size was perfect for a family meal with neither leftovers nor indulging too much.

I look forward to the rest of the loaves waiting in the freezer…

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This past weekend, the family and I flew out to visit my parents, who still live in the house where I grew up in Dixon, California. Mind you, they live in central California nearly 500 miles north of L.A. and, granted, were having a warm spell, but the weather averaged in the 60s and hit a high of 71 degrees while we were there.

It was a bit surreal to leave snowy Chicago (where we’d just gotten a foot of snow two days before) to go to a place where we were picking fresh, ripe oranges of our neighbor’s tree.
My daughter Eleanor (shown above with her prize) hasn’t ever been a real fan of oranges, but like with other garden delicacies, has a completely different attitude when she can harvest the fruit (or vegetable) herself. She went back to the tree several times for more. I include the picture of the orange tree to prove that we did, in fact, leave some for the neighbors! At one point, Ellie said, “Winters are better in California. We should maybe move out here!”
Sigh. Musher girl to sun bunny in four days flat…

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