We've started an experimental new church home group called "Soup Group." We're meeting every Tuesday at 6pm to eat soup and bread and do our Parchment homework as a group project. Parchments are study guides, written by church members, that are given out weekly and pertain to the following Sunday's theme for Sunday School and sermon.
This past Tuesday some missionaries joined us. As always, Rachel had fun with the babies. We're looking for one or two more folks to join us.
So far I've made lentil and pasta soup, split pea and ham soup, corn and potato chowder, and chicken rice vegetable soup. And I've found a really good, cheap bread recipe for that kind of bread that has a thick crust and is chewy on the inside. I'll post the recipe below. The trick to this bread is letting time do the work (so I start it on Monday nights) and also the specific way it is baked, in a large, covered, oven-proof pan (dutch oven, covered saucepan, ceramic bowl with another ceramic bowl on top).
Adapted from Jim Lahey, Sullivan Street Bakery
Time: About 1 1/2 hours plus 14 to 20 hours' rising
3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting
1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
Cornmeal or wheat bran as needed.
1. In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add 1 5/8 cups water, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.
2. Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.
3. Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.
4. At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up; it may look like a mess, but that is O.K. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.
Yield: One 1 1/2-pound loaf.