I’m back in the desert after Thanksgiving in Vegas with my family. We went and saw Fantastic Beasts II, went to bingo, ate at my favorite Chinese restaurant Bund Shanghai, went grocery shopping at both the Mexican supermarket and the Filipino supermarket. What else is there?
Our family’s T-day menu was an 8 lb turkey roasted beer-can style; a roast lamb, shrimp pansit, tarragon mashed potatoes, slow-cooker dressing, stir-fried brussels sprouts, roasted brocoli, fresh baguettes. K made gallo pinto. The guests brought a not-that-sweet bibinka and some goat caldereta.
We failed to make the salmon, totally forgot about anything cranberry. For dessert, we got two free pumpkin pies from the casino, and the dessert eaters declared them disgusting. The guests brought another free casino pumpkin pie. My dad proposed giving them to the poor, but my mama vetoed cursing the poor with something that was not good enough to serve to her own family. I think those pies got junked. The dessert eaters were in heaven sucking on some sugar cane that my mama bought at the supermarket.
K wants to make bread, so here’s my recipe:
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 1.5 teaspoons salt
- 0.5 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 1.5 cup water
Stir the dry ingredients together in a big bowl. Add the water and stir with the back of a wooden spoon until all the dry flour is gone; you’ll have a shaggy mass. Clean all the scraps from the sides of the bowl and dump it into the mass of flour. Cover and leave it alone until the next day, up to 48 hours. At the very least, give it eight hours. It will transform itself into a wet, sticky pool.
It’s ready to bake after that, but if you want to work it a little, you can fold it, let it rest, fold it again, let it rest… whatever. Cook a round loaf in a Dutch oven with or without parchment; or with a little more work you can shape baguettes.
If you bake soon after folding and shaping, your loaf will be a strong, tight, dense ball. If you let it rest more, it will be bulkier, fluffier, and sloppier in terms of shape.
I blast the oven to 500°F with the Dutch oven inside, uncovered, preheating. When I think it’s all hot enough, I line the screaming hot Dutch oven with baking paper or flour, then quickly dump the dough ball into the center and slash it up with a sharp knife. Then I bake it for 30 minutes with the lid on, and 30 more minutes with the off. Cool it on a rack or whatever. If you slice it too soon, it will be delicious but the part if the loaf you don’t eat might lose a lot of moisture.
So here’s the minimum gear you need for the dough: measuring cups, measuring spoons, big mixing bowl, something to cover it with. Optional: silicone spatula, bench scraper.
Here’s the minimum gear you need for the round loaf: Dutch oven. Optional: parchment paper. I’ve made a round loaf in K’s apartment before so I know he has all these things.
Here’s the minimum gear you need for baguettes: baking sheet. Optional: Silpat liner, sharp knife for slashing, little container for steam bath. You can buy the baguette cradle if you’re into it; I would buy this one because it will make larger loaves. The one that I bought really makes ficelles, which are delicious but should be eaten hot and fresh… they get hard and crusty if you let them wait.
I enjoy hard and crusty but my mama adds stuff like flax and chia to her recipe and the finished product turns out softer. The last round of baguettes I made were yellow from turmeric.