Monday, September 17, 2012

Tuscan Dutch Oven Bread

This past weekend was filled with new friends and old friends.  Parts of it were about remembering the past, but more of it was about making new memories with old friends and family.  There was a wedding, a couple runs, cupcakes for my dad, hanging out with my mom, and time spent with my "extended" family.  

To clear my mind and make room for the new, I went for a couple runs around my old neighborhood.  Along the way, I spotted this pink door and just had to stop and take a picture.  This door is definitely, newly pink and basically awesome.

There was also a quick run through the Bog Gardens, where I couldn't help but think about being a kid and a teenager and walking through here.

And the best part of the weekend and the reason for a weekend trip home, was being part of one of my oldest friends weddings.  Miss Matthews is now officially Mrs. Owens.  

We even happened to drive by the daycare where we met over 20 years ago, on the way to the church.

To say the very least, the wedding was absolutely beautiful and the bride was stunning!

So, what did I do when I got home after such an exciting weekend?  Well you know other than take a nap and watch a chick flick, but get my hands a bit "dirty" with flour and make this yummy and super easy Tuscan dutch oven bread.  This does take some time to make, just with all of the rising and such, but I promise it is super easy!  Plus, you can really add in whatever you want.  Here I added chopped sun-dried tomatoes, thyme and oregano.  My friend Molly, totes made it as a cinnamon raisin bread, and well lets just say I wanted to just be able to eat the entire loaf.  So, if you have a little spare time, you should definitely give this easy bread a try.  Enjoy!

Shaggy dough hanging out...

A few sun-dried tomatoes, plus...

Thyme and oregano and then dough is ready to rest for 6-8 hours, in a warm place.

Gently pull the dough away from the side of the bowl.

Spread out the dough on to a floured surface and form in to a ball.

Fresh out of the oven.  This bread will make your house smell amazing.

Tuscan Dutch Oven Bread: (recipe adapted from Simply so Good)
3 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 3/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon yeast
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon oregano

1.  In a Pyrex measuring cup, heat water for 40 seconds, until warm.

2.  In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, salt and yeast.  Add water, sun-dried tomatoes, thyme and oregano, and mix until a shaggy mixture forms.  Cover bowl with plastic wrap and set aside for 6-8 hours.  Overnight works great (or mix in the morning and bake that night after work).

3.  Heat oven to 450 degrees.  When the oven has reached 450 degrees place a cast iron pot with a lid in the oven and heat the pot for 30 minutes.

4.  Meanwhile, pour dough onto a heavily floured surface and shape into a ball.  Cover with plastic wrap and let set while the pot is heating.  Remove hot pot from the oven and drop in the dough.  Cover and return to oven for 30 minutes.  After 30 minutes remove the lid and bake an additional 15 minutes.  Remove bread from oven and place on a cooling rack to cool.

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