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We’re still floating and mildly homeless, so I took over someone else’s kitchen (my mother’s) to perform this month’s Daring Bakers challenge. I’m glad I did! I discovered that danish pastry is time-consuming but not that tough and super-rewarding. The final result is buttery, melting, and super-tender.
I’m grateful to Kelly of Sass & Veracity and Ben of What’s Cooking? for a great challenge! I’m a little too lazy to copy out the recipe, so if you’d like to try it out (do! It’s fun and delicious!), you can find it here.
It seems that I’m spending most of my time lately apologizing– I’m late, I’m absent… Well. So I’m late posting this and I’ve been absent. And we’ll be absent some more for the next month, I think, as we are packing up our life and moving ourselves across the country. Carlo’s been getting shooting pains in his head, and I’ve suddenly developed a neck problem. Ha. So this is my final apology and from here on out, if we post we’ll be acting as if everything’s normal and there’s nothing to apologize about.
So here we are late with our Daring Bakers report. This Last month, Morven at Food Art and Random Thoughts chose Dorie Greenspan’s perfect party cake. Now, I’m not much of a cake baker. Too much precision, too much waiting and anxiety, too many fallen cakes. A lot of bakers had problems getting their cakes to rise, and I was no exception. My layer cake had only two layers instead of four, since I didn’t want to try slicing into my pitiful little layers. But! The cake was super-tasty. I made a strawberry-lemon curd filling to layer inside, and the buttercream was thick and delicious. For a basic cake recipe, this one is a good one. Check out some of the other bakers’ cakes by going to the Daring Bakers’ blogroll. There are some good ideas for how to get the cake to rise.
You can check out the cake recipe here.
STRAWBERRY LEMON CURD
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 cups fresh strawberries
zest and juice of 1 lemon
2 large eggs
3 egg yolks
1/2 cup butter, cubed
Put the sugar, strawberries, lemon zest and juice, eggs and egg yolks in the bowl of a food processor and spin them until the strawberries are smooth.
Put the puree in a small saucepan, add the butter and cook over low heat, stirring often, until butter has melted and mixture thickens, about 30 minutes. Don’t allow the curd to boil.
Take the curd off the heat and cool it before placing it in clean jars and refrigerating it. This recipe makes about 2 1/2 cups of curd. It’s great for a cake layer, for spreading on eggy bread, or just to eat out straight out of the jar (I’m not ashamed…).
Did you think we were gone? We’re still here, though it seems that we’re barely eating and barely keeping up with life as we anticipate some big changes that all of a sudden are sitting there like mountains, just feet away. Oops.
Anyway, I’m breaking the silence to tell you about Arfi and her interesting blog HomemadeS. After having so much fun browsing through someone’s back recipes with last month’s Taste and Create, hosted by For the Love of Food, I couldn’t wait to play again. This month I got to browse through an exotic (to me, anyway) collection of recipes. Arfi posts a lot of Indonesian recipes, and I can’t wait to go through her archive and do some more cooking. Bubur Injit, Sambar Telur Manis, and Empal Panggang are on my must-try list now, but I have to admit that I settled on slightly less adventurous choices. I couldn’t resist making two things: corn fritters and ginger tea.
The corn fritters were lovely. Arfi brought exciting flavour to a nice simple base of corn, flour, and egg with the addition of crispy fried shallots, feta, and celery leaves. Yum! I can’t wait to make them again. The only change I made to her recipe was the addition of some buttermilk, which I added because I found the mixture a bit too dry to work with. I liked the tangy flavour it added, and I thought it went well with the creamy feta. We ate the fritters alongside tomato soup.
After finding the corn fritter recipe, I did some more digging and found a recipe for ginger tea concentrate. Again, nice and simple with a great result. I mixed the concentrate with straight lemon juice and diluted it with water in a one-to-one ratio. I loved the combo of lemony sour, spicy ginger, and sweet palm sugar. I just wish it were summer, so I could appreciate it from a sun-dappled picnic table in a park somewhere. Thanks so much, Arfi!
It’s easy to be in love with an idea; it’s a lot harder to follow through on its execution.
I’ve been thinking about baking French bread for a long time now. The idea of pulling a crispy, golden baguette out of my oven appealed to my romantic bread-baker side, but it seemed so complicated. I was scared. I’m not very fond of failing, and I’d often rather not do something at all than to do it and get it wrong. I know, I know. That’s not very daring of me.
I’ve been putting off French bread for all sorts of reasons: I don’t have a spray bottle for misting the bread and making steam, I don’t have a fancy bread lame, I don’t have a canvas baking couche for proofing the bread. Oh, and I wasn’t really sure what proofing meant. And then there’s this:
We were lucky that our stove was included in our apartment, but not so lucky with the stove itself. It’s a million years old, with only one rack inside. The burners go out once a month, the broiler seldom works, and it runs at least 20 degrees cooler than it’s supposed to. It’s so poorly insulated that it just can’t hold its heat. This stove should be a recipe for failure.
So I was unreasonably thrilled when I found out that Julia Child’s French bread was my very first Daring Bakers challenge. If I failed, well, so be it. It wasn’t going to be my fault–I didn’t have the right supplies! As it turns out, Julia Child’s detailed instructions, combined with some anxiety and improvisation with equipment, gave us an amazing result. This was SO not a failure. What we had in the end was a bread with a moist, almost creamy crumb, with large holes; and a crisp, golden, crackling crust that sprang open beautifully where I slashed it before slipping it into the oven. The recipe made three baguettes slightly longer than 12 inches each.
I’m so happy (and pleasantly surprised!) with how this bread turned out, especially given the equipment I was working with. That’s the magic of Julia Child and 10-page-long instructions. The only thing I would do differently is to use better flour. With the intention of conquering my perfectionism, I decided to use the regular, not-special all purpose flour I had in the house. With three(!) rises, and so few ingredients (water, flour, yeast, salt), the flavour of the flour really develops, so it only makes sense to use the best you can get your hands on. I’ll do this next time. And yes, there will be a next time.
The Daring Bakers is a huge group, and there’s a lot of bread online today, so I won’t reprint the recipe. You can check it out here. What I’d like to offer you are some of the resources, materials, and techniques I used.
KNEADING: I’m always a pretty anxious cook, and I was especially so with this recipe. On the day of my baking, my nerves were eased when I discovered this video of Richard Bertinet demonstrating his kneading technique. This was perfect for the French bread dough. Ignore the ingredients he’s using and just focus on the super-cool kneading. My damp, sticky dough was transformed, but I didn’t need to use any extra flour, so the final product wasn’t even the slightest bit tough!
RISING: Here’s a trick my mother has used for years. I use my oven for the first rise, and in the case of this bread, the second rise too. I set my oven to the lowest temperature it runs at. I leave it there for two minutes, and then turn it off, turning on the oven light at the same time. This makes a nice cozy environment for the bread to grow in. Another trick is to put the covered bowl of dough on top of the fridge. It’s usually nice and warm up there too.
Another essential is patience. This dough required hours to rise to its full height. It had finally gone through its final rise and fully cooked 12 HOURS after I first pulled the flour off the shelf. Monitor the dough closely, but don’t skimp on time.
MAKING STEAM AND HEAT: Julia Child’s recipe recommends unglazed quarry tiles and a spray bottle to reproduce the heat and steam of a professional bread baking oven. Well, I didn’t have those, but I do have a pizza stone. I heated the oven hotter than the recommended temperature with the pizza stone inside. This heated the stone up nice and hot, so it would hold the heat that our crappy oven couldn’t. When I slid the baguettes onto the stone, we made steam by tossing a bit of water directly onto the bottom of the oven. The recipe recommends ice cubes, but I didn’t want to sacrifice any heat at all (precious, precious, heat), so we used hot water. We did it three times, about a minute between each steam bath. Carlo whipped open the oven door, I tossed the water from a cookie sheet directly onto the floor of the oven, and Carlo whipped the door closed again. Total time per steam bath: maybe 5 seconds. After all that, I finally reduced the oven heat to the recommended temperature.
NOT BEING AFRAID: Don’t be afraid!
You can see other Daring Bakers’ French bread by going to the Daring Bakers Blogroll.
There’s been a theme to my last few posts. I’ll give you a second to go back and check, if you want. Booze, dessert, syrup, pasta. Yeah… we’ve been putting lemon in everything.
Well, if you’re looking for a change of pace, I’ve got none to offer. And I’m not apologizing, because I think this next recipe is another great use of lemon. Try it, you’ll like it.
First, an intro: this month I signed up for a great event called Taste & Create, at For the Love of Food. Participants get matched up with another blog, and you both go through each other’s archives and find a recipe to recreate. I love this idea and I can’t wait to do it again. You should do it too!
We were lucky to be paired with Andreea and Mark of Glorious Food and Wine. I loved paging through their posts (ahem.. and felt a little guilty about the blog’s wealth of recipes. Unfortunately for Andreea, she had a much smaller pool of recipes at SiS to choose from). I love the casual “toss some of this in, throw together some of that” feel of the blog, and the photos are great! There was so much to choose from, but I settled on some plain old potatoes. Well. Not so plain.
Rustic Anchovies Potatoes caught my eye. It’s got something I’ve never tried before (how have I gone this many years without anchovies?), and it’s got lemon. Two of my hangups in one recipe equals something I must try.
I wanted to make sure that I could taste the lemon, so I fiddled a bit. While Andreea and Mark’s guidelines call for a lemon roasted with the potatoes, I went one step further. After roasting the potatoes with a quartered lemon, I tossed the finished product in a little sauce made from a bit of lemon juice (maybe half a tablespoon) mixed with diced anchovies. It worked out great! The sour of the lemons and umami of the anchovies were a nice mix, and made ordinary roasted potatoes into something that tasted entirely new. Hooray!
Hey, Carlo here. And look! A new feature. Don’t go holding me to it just because I made a banner.
So Hanne keeps signing SiS up to blogging groups, which is great, but my non-participation makes me feel (and likely look) like the sort of curmudgeonly husband who sends his wife off to dinner parties alone because there’s a very important hockey game on and beer in the fridge. No, pointing out that the Oilers have no more important games left in them this season is not helpful.
Anyway. Here is our supper in stereo:
I pan fried “don’t call me deer if I’m dead” venison steaks smothered in half a log of Anthony Bourdain’s red wine compound butter (see Ruhlman). We always have a store of the butter in the freezer for last minute steaks. It’s like insta-marinade. I’ll post the recipe sometime.
The wine butter’s palate smack was nearly too much for the gamey/muddy taste of the deer steak (I guess that does sound weird). If it wasn’t for the roasted potato and anchovies turning the steak’s aftertaste on its head with its fishy citrus bite, I might not have enjoyed this meal as much as I did. Frankly, at first bite I didn’t like the potatoes much either, but they grew on me quick. I guess I wasn’t expecting such complex flavours out of meat and potatoes. We rounded out the plate with glazed carrots. Their sweetness helped level off the major umami busting off the other two thirds of the dish. Despite my initial skepticism, it turned out to be a great meal.
Oh yeah. The carrots were glazed with Meyer lemon honey. They were great, but I swear I now know there can be too much of a good thing. Okay Hanne? Next time life gives you more lemons than you know what to do with, use the freezer.
Anyway, thanks to the other blog for supplying us with the recipe. Oh and hey other blog, tell the other other blogs I’m not actually a big unsociable jerk, okay?
I have something to tell you. Up to now, this blog has been decidedly positive. We tell you how much we love a food item, give a little run-down on why we like it, maybe give a glowing description and a couple preparation suggestions. Then you get the recipe. This is good. And positive. Everything’s all right here at Supper in Stereo.
But here’s my confession– I’m not generally sunny. I’m a whiner, a complainer, a look-on-the-dark-side kind of person. I complain about my job, curse the cloudy weather, call my cat stupid.
Actually, I only did that last one once. And I felt really bad afterwards.
I’m working on it, I am. But sometimes Carlo’s and my self-imposed exercise of listing three good things that happened every day ends up sounding something like this: Today is over. I survived today. I can go to bed now. This, my friends, is not positive.
Sometimes when you’re busy feeling grey like this, food falls by the wayside. Oh, we still eat, of course. But cookies turn out tough and floury, soup tasteless, meat dry. And we dutifully shovel it in, to get enough energy to slog through another day. January and February are especially bad when you live in a wintry climate. We’re lucky to get one sunny day a week and the rest of the days are plodding and overcast. They’re not even grey, they’re just… nothing.
Have you had enough yet?
Then listen: every once in a while, even I have to poke my head up and say “wait, this is pretty good.” The other night, Carlo and I were contemplating a beautiful pan of chicken parts scattered with chunks of lemon and rosemary that we were about to roast (the recipe was yet another gift from my generous aunt and uncle, and I’ll pass it on to you soon). It was gorgeous, even uncooked, and we could tell just by looking that it was going to be delicious. Carlo said “man, we have it pretty good.” And I agreed.
I had another moment like this the other night, standing in the kitchen, sticking my tongue out while I took a paring knife to the skins of our last Meyer lemons. I was sticking my tongue out because I was concentrating on only getting skin and not pith, so that the mini batch of limoncello that I was preparing wouldn’t come out with any bitterness at all. To be honest, the task of carefully peeling thin-skinned lemons isn’t really all that fun. I was tense and my shoulders were aching. But at the other end of the counter, Carlo was preparing a batch of one of our favorite ice creams. He was talking himself through the steps, pretending to host a cooking show (sample instructions: “…then you take a thing… or a spoon… and you move the stuff in the bowl around with it.” Sample banter: “I’m okay! Do you like me? You’re okay!”). If I wasn’t concentrating so hard, I would have been giggling. Carlo finished preparing his ice cream, and I finished peeling my lemons (it took me 30 minutes for four lemons– that’s dedication). Then Carlo put his ice cream into the ice cream machine and I put my limoncello in the cupboard to steep.
It’s just a little jar, mind you. I only had four lemons left (and incidentally, the more-than-half-empty bottle of vodka on our bar had the exact right amount of alcohol left, which was a nice coincidence). When the limoncello’s finished, it will be enough for a few sips, not much else. But I still like knowing that it’s sitting in the cool darkness of our cupboard, getting more and more delicious, waiting for us. You can steep your limoncello anywhere from two weeks to four months. I’m leaving mine there for all of February. We’ll see how I feel come March.
I’ll let you know how the limoncello turned out in a couple months. And Carlo’s ice cream? It was perfect, perfect. Life is good and we are lucky. I just don’t feeling like talking about it.
BROWN SUGAR SOUR CREAM ICE CREAM
We follow the recipe for brown sugar sour cream ice cream from Mercedes at Desert Candy faithfully. The last few times, we’ve used panela instead of brown sugar, just because I found panela in the store and felt that it needed to come home with me. I highly recommend this variation, as the panela has a great intense smoky, molassesy flavour. However, you MUST try the original recipe as well. It’s great! I love the addition of bourbon to the mix, but you could easily leave it out and still have a great ice cream. Plus there’s no custard to fiddle with (Farhan, I’m thinking of you…).
If you want to make limoncello, here’s the recipe I used. I used vodka, as it’s what we had around, but if you can find a grain alcohol, that would probably be better. The linked recipe makes a huge amount, but I scaled it to the following proportions:
4 lemons, preferably unsprayed and unwaxed
350 mL vodka or grain alcohol
1 1/4 c. water
1 1/3 c. sugar
Wash and dry the lemons, then peel them. Place them in a mason jar with the alcohol. Make sure the lemon is fully covered. Put the mason jar in a cool, dark place, shaking it once a day. Leave this for at least two weeks, but I’ve read you can go up to four months.
When your lemon concoction has steeped to your satisfaction, it’s time to sweeten it. Bring the water to a boil and add the sugar. Stir until the sugar has dissolved, then remove from the heat and allow to cool. When the mixture is room temperature, put a strainer over the saucepan that’s holding the sugar syrup and strain your steeped lemon mixture into the sugar syrup. Combine the liquids well, then place the mixture back into a mason jar. Put the mason jar back into your cupboard and repeat the first process, shaking twice every day for about three weeks.
Finally, after all that time, it’s ready to taste! The Washington Post recommends storing your limoncello in the freezer, where it will turn a milky yellow.
By the way, I juiced the lemons after I peeled them and boiled the juice with sugar in a 1:1 ratio to make lemon syrup. You could use this syrup to make lemonade, or you could pop in a vanilla bean and do a bit more fiddling to make something like this (which looks super-lovely).
We’ve been away from the blog for a little while now, but it’s not because we’re not cooking– it’s just that we haven’t been cooking anything really, really good. And instead of subjecting you to mediocrity (why share a so-so recipe?), we’ve been waiting until we had something great to share with you. And ta-da! Here’s an incredibly simple dessert that I’m planning to keep in my arsenal forever. Would you believe it has just three ingredients? Cream, sugar and lemon juice combine to make a mousse-y dessert that’s rich but light-tasting. We loved how the lemon lifted the thickness of the cream off our tongues so the dessert felt decadent but not heavy. I wish even more that it actually wasn’t heavy so that I could eat it every day, but that’s another matter.
I did a bit of research and found out that this dessert evolved from a strange-sounding Elizabethan (or maybe older?) drink of warmed milk curdled with sack (sherry) or ale. I’d like to try this out too, just because “sack” always makes me think of Shakespeare’s Falstaff. Anyone know of any literary references to posset?
I followed a recipe from the LA Times for this modern posset, and it called for Meyer lemon in particular. Any lemon will work, but you might need to add more sugar to balance the flavours. Next time, I’m using blood orange juice (thanks to our beautiful, beautiful new vintage chrome juicer) and cutting back on the sugar to make blood orange posset. I’m excited!
MEYER LEMON POSSET adapted from the LA Times
This recipe makes two 1/2 cup portions. Feel free to double it.
1 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup sugar
Juice of 1 Meyer lemon (about 1/4 cup)
Combine cream and sugar in a small saucepan. Heat them over medium-low heat until the sugar is dissolved and the surface of the cream just begins to ripple and steam. Remove the saucepan from the heat and set it aside to cool, stirring it occasionally to prevent a film from forming on the top of the cream. Allow it to cool until lukewarm, approximately 20 minutes.
When the cream and sugar are cooled, stir in the lemon juice to blend well. I took these instructions very seriously and whisked in the sugar, creating some air bubbles at the top of my posset. If you’re gentler, you’ll probably avoid this. Divide the posset between two small bowls and put it in the fridge to set at least four hours or overnight.
When we went through customs in Toronto, I dutifully filled out the customs form, checking off the little box that said we were bringing food items into Canada. When we passed the customs officer, he asked me what kind of food we had with us. I started off dutifully, listing “Lemons, dried chiles, some cheese, some vinegars….” (actually three vinegars–sherry, grapefruit, and sugar cane. Cool, huh?). Then the full magnitude of our food purchases hit me and I trailed off in embarrassment. I was sure he’d judge us, so I didn’t mention the chocolates, tapioca pearls, pistachios, dried cherries, dried apricots, Valhrona cocoa powder, dried sweetened hibiscus flowers (!), chile-spiced mangoes… you get the idea.
Anyway, the star of our food haul has got to be these:
Aren’t they lovely? And so free! My very generous and food-loving uncle and aunt have a Meyer lemon tree in their backyard. Every time I say that sentence it gives me little jealousy pangs. Do you know how much a Meyer lemon costs in Montreal? Ahem. Two dollars and fifty cents. For one lemon. If you can even find one in this city, which is rare as these guys don’t transport all that well. Count the lemons in that bag. Do the math. And the ones I can find around here aren’t even fresh. Or big. They’re puny, wizened little things. These lemons are bursting with juice and flavour and scent. Owen and Gabrielle, thank you so much!
To prove we’re putting these lemons to good use, I offer you the following recipe. It’s from Amanda Hesser’s “Cooking for Mr. Latte,” which I find to be hit-or-miss. I’ve made a few stinkers from the book, but this one’s a definite hit. The peppery arugula and rich crème fraîche are livened up by a hit of herbal meyer lemon tang, and the sauce coats the pasta perfectly.
I suspect the above image isn’t beautiful, but I can’t tell because it just reminds me of the flavour of this pasta, which definitely was beautiful. Here’s the recipe.
MEYER LEMON CREME FRAICHE LINGUINE adapted from “Cooking For Mr. Latte” by Amanda Hesser
Cooking notes: mise-en-place is very important here. Make sure everything is prepped in advance, as this pasta cools down quickly and thus must be eaten immediately upon preparation. It makes a great first course. I can also imagine it going very well with chicken.
1 pound of linguine
a chunk of Parmesan (to be grated)
2 Meyer lemons
3 large handfuls of arugula, cleaned and roughly chopped
1/2 cup crème fraîche*
freshly ground black pepper
Bring water to boil in a large pot. When the water is boiling rapidly, add salt (generously) and then the pasta.
While the pasta cooks, grate a handful of parmesan into a large bowl and zest the two lemons into the bowl. Add the arugula to this bowl as well. Juice one of the lemons and reserve the juice**.
When the pasta is cooked (make sure it’s still al dente), quickly drain it and add it to the serving bowl that’s holding the cheese and lemon zest. Don’t worry about getting the pasta completely dry. It should be slicked with water, as that will help thin out the cheese and the thick crème fraîche to a tossable consistency. Next, add the lemon juice and toss again. Last, add the crème fraîche and continue to toss well, until the sauce is well-distributed, the arugula is wilted, the the cheese is melty. Grind some pepper into all this and toss once more. Serve immediately.
*crème fraîche is expensive! If you want to make your own, at a slightly better price and with the satisfaction of do-it-yourself, here’s a recipe. I confess I’ve never tried it, but it does sound nice and simple.
**Please don’t throw away the other lemon’s juice. If nothing else, you can boil it with water in a one-to-one ratio to make a great simple syrup to add to gin for a nice cocktail– more on this in a later post.
Here is Hanne’s Mom’s oft-requested recipe for overnight buns. I just scanned the original recipe to send back to friends out East. We’re home for Christmas now, which is why we’ve been absentee bloggers. We’ll do our best to mine and publish our parent’s secret recipes to a) share with you and b) keep this blog semi-active over the holidays.
These fist sized rolls are great for sandwiches and burgers or for filling out your Christmas feast. Enjoy! We’ll be back soon.
When I looked out the window this morning, the street looked like this:
It snowed all night, it’s snowing now, and they’re saying it will continue to snow for the next few days. Later, I will put on my suit, rolling up the cuffs of the pants and secure them with binder clips (one hazard of Canadian winter–your pants can’t be tailored for your heels and your boots at the same time. And you do not want to have damp pants cuffs). Then I will venture out to wade through the snow to go teach a class. For now, though, I’m wrapped in layers of blankets and sweaters, keeping snug indoors.
They’re saying that this winter might be a cold one, full of snow and low temperatures. Something about La Nina. I say, bring her on! I’ve got chicken stock on my balcony (hey, what’s the frozen outdoors for if not to augment my freezer space?), tea in my cupboards, many, many pairs of wool socks in my dresser drawers. And on my table right now I’ve got a loaf of tender, toasty bread. It’s not beautiful (witness the lumpy, flattened top–I think my loaf tin was a little too big), but it’s cozy.
This is wild rice onion bread. It’s moist and full of onion flavour. The recipe comes from Peter Reinhart’s “Brother Juniper’s Bread Book,” which is once of my favourite bread books. It’s a great read, and it’s got some great recipes. Wild Rice and Onion bread uses a mix of brown and wild rice as a base to add fluffiness and moisture to the dough. If you can’t get your hands on wild rice, I think brown rice would work fine on its own. The recipe calls for one cup of raw, diced onion, but when I make it next time, I think I’ll use 1 1/2 cups of raw onion and cook it down to caramelize and concentrate the flavours. Other than those modifications, this bread is a keeper! It’s firm enough to use as a sandwich bread, but it’s also moist and light enough to be toasted and eaten on its own or made into rolls. The rolls make me think of onion bagels, just begging for some whipped cream cheese. It also makes fantastic warm and crunchy and light toast.
PETER REINHART’S WILD RICE ONION BREAD
adapted from Brother Juniper’s Bread Book– Makes two loaves, or 30 rolls
8 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup diced fresh onions
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp instant yeast
1 1/2 Tbsp salt
1 cup cooked wild rice blend (I used a mix of wild rice and brown rice. I added 3 parts water to one part rice and cooked it for about 45 minutes, until the water was absorbed and the wild rice had split open– make sure the wild rice is tender enough. This should be added at room temperature, so it’s a good idea to make it a day ahead)
1/3 cup buttermilk
about 1 1/2 cups of water
In a steel bowl, mix all the dry ingredients together, including the yeast, the onions and the wild rice blend. Next, add the liquid ingredients. Don’t add all the water. Set some aside in case you need to add more to adjust the consistency of the dough while you’re kneading it. Mix everything together as best you can. I usually eschew the spoon and just use my hands to bring the mix together.
Turn out the shaggy mess of dough onto a floured counter. Knead the dough for about 10-15 minutes, until it comes together in a smooth, stretchy, silky mass. It should pass the windowpane test. Enjoy this part of the process. Remember (or pretend) that it’s snowing outside anyway, and you’re inside your warm kitchen with this beautiful mass of dough in your hands, making magic.
When you are finished kneading, put your dough into a clean bowl and cover the bowl with a damp kitchen towel or saran wrap. If your kitchen is a little cool or drafty, feel free to coddle your dough by protecting it in the oven. I turn my oven on to 200 F for about 30 seconds, then turn off the heat and turn on the light in the oven before putting my dough in. The dough loves the insulated warmth. Leave your dough to rise until it has approximately doubled in size, between 45 minutes and 1 1/2 hours, depending on the heat.
Punch down your dough and form it into rolls or loaves. Place the formed dough in greased baking tins, re-cover it and allow it to rise for another 45 minutes to 1 hour, until it doubles in size. You can brush the tops of the dough with an egg wash before you bake them.
Bake your bread at 350 F for approximately 45 minutes. If you are making rolls, they will be done in about 12-15 minutes.
When your bread is done, take it out and allow it to cool before slicing into a loaf or ripping into a roll and toasting it.