Wednesday, December 29, 2010

 I took a tumble on Christmas Day….Somehow, it seems so unfair to be attacked by pork….after all, is there a more loyal pork lover in the world? I think not! But yet, a tiny little piece of ham fat on my hardwood kitchen floor did me in!

So, I’ve been stuck at home, in my chair with the heating pad on my knee and my massaging pillow on my right hip, and a bottle of Alieve by my side. I have watched every movie ever made, consumed way too much Coke Zero, read 2 books (which is good!) and taken a catnap almost hourly. I have reached BORED! And then some.
Last night I could not stand the idea of sitting another moment. I asked myself what would make me happy…it had to something I could do at home. It had to be something that did not require a lot of physical activity…..then the light came on! I was going to bake bread!
When my children were in grade school (many moons ago) I went through a phase where I baked bread once a week. I loved it! Big plump loaves of white bread; fragrant, sugary loaves of cinnamon bread; I even tried my grandmother’s salt rising bread recipe. A big hit was the cheese bread By the time school was out, the kitchen table would have 8 loaves of bread cooling on racks. Then the door would open, the kids would rush in and…..within 10 minutes, the count had dwindled to 6 loaves. After dinner there would be 4 or 5…after breakfast the next morning….zip, nada, niente, nichts. It was non-stop bread eating at our house.

With that decision made, my next move was to see what I had on hand in the kitchen. Then I had to choose a recipe. This was fun!

Finally at 7pm, I made my decision….

No-Knead Three-Cheese Semolina Bread (because of my fall, I chose no-knead because of not wanting to stand there for 10 minutes while kneading)

This is a King Arthur Flour recipe, as so many of my bread recipes are. If you are a baker, check out their web page,

2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 cup semolina
2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon Pizza Dough Flavor, optional (a King Arthur product…definitely worth ordering!)
2 tablespoons garlic oil or olive oil
1 cups lukewarm water (1 to 1 1/8)
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup diced Provolone cheese, smoked or plain, mild or sharp
1 cup diced or coarsely crumbled Asiago cheese, mild or sharp

1 Combine everything but the three cheeses, and beat on medium speed of an electric mixer to make a soft, smooth dough. It may or may not clear the sides of the bowl; either way is just fine.

2. Add the three cheeses, and mix till well combined.

3. Put the soft dough in a lightly greased bowl or 8-cup measure, cover, and let rise for about 2 hours, till very puffy.

4. Lightly grease a 14" to 15" covered stoneware baker. Or lightly grease a baking sheet, or line with parchment. Sprinkle semolina into the pan, or onto the baking sheet. I used a baking sheet with parchment paper.

5. Gently deflate the dough. Divide the dough in half, shape each piece into a loaf and place both halves on the prepared baking sheet.

6. Tent lightly with greased plastic wrap (spray wrap with olive oil spray), and let rise for about an hour, till noticeably puffy. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 425°F.

7. Take the plastic off the bread. Mist top of bread with water, and use a sharp knife to make three diagonal slashes in each loaf.

8. Bake the bread for 40 minutes, till the bread is golden brown and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center registers about 190°F to 200°F. If you're baking smaller loaves, check to see if they're done after 30 minutes.
Turn the bread out of the pan onto a rack to cool.
But don’t forget ….there is nothing like a shamelessly thick slice of warm, fragrant bread, fresh from the oven and slathered with sweet creamery butter. That first bite is truly a religious experience!
My house smells heavenly! Enjoy!

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