Wednesday, 5 September 2012

A simple home-made loaf, summer tomatoes and burrata

The weekend started off quiet and almost a little bit lonely but I ate a lot of good food, got in a few great runs and even went for a grueling hike up the slightly touristy Stawamus Chief. 

One of the best parts of the weekend was eating these tomatoes. Every time I buy a tomato in the summer I yearn for what these tomatoes tasted like. If you do not like tomatoes then you have no idea what I am talking about. But if you do, then you understand. When the local, farm fresh tomatoes reach their peak everything in the world just feels right somehow.

I filled a substantially large bag with a variety of heirloom tomatoes at the farmers market, thinking that I would use them to make a pizza sauce. That never happened. Instead Mike and I ate the entire bag of tomatoes in just two days. Most of them were simply sliced and seasoned with fleur de sel before they were consumed. But I knew as soon as I bit into the first tomato that I was going to buy a ridiculously expensive container of burrata cheese to go with them. 

To eat with the tomatoes and burrata I wanted to make my own bread. To make a bread truly worthy of such fine ingredients as burrata, fleur de sel and Cannensi extra virgin olive oil I should have gone with an overnight fermentation, artisan-like bread recipe but I could not wait that long. So instead I made this simple, relatively quick white bread recipe.  The fact that the bread was devoured fresh out of the oven is the only reason I felt it was good enough to eat with the burrata and these perfect tomatoes. 

That is not to say that this bread was not good. It was a nice, simple, moist bread, perfect served warm with a fresh pat of butter. It was also a good recipe for using up some expiring milk which, as you may have noticed, is a situation I run into a lot.

I bought a new camera on-line this weekend as well (finally, good bye point-and-shoot!) so this will be my last post until it arrives and I figure out how to use it. Hopefully that will not be too long.

That is all I have to say. I will leave you with a picture from my hike up the Chief and one from Tofino (along with the usual food fare). The bread recipe is also below.

Simple White Bread
Serve freshly baked bread slices with burrata cheese, fresh basil, fresh tomatoes, fleur de sel and Cannensi (or other fine) extra virgin olive oil
Makes 1 loaf
2 tbsp of warm water
1 cup of warm milk
1 tsp instant active yeast
1 tbsp maple syrup or other sweetener
3 cups of flour
2 tbsp warm butter
1/2 tsp sea salt

1. In a bowl, mix the warm water, milk, syrup and yeast. Let stand 5 minutes.
2. Stir in the flour, the butter and the salt.
3. Mix well then work with your hands, kneading for about 5 minutes or until the dough forms a smooth, elastic ball.
4. Place the dough in a greased container and cover.
5. Let stand in a warm place for 2 - 3 hours, until doubled in size.
6. Preheat oven to 375F, with the rack set in the middle of the oven - with a pizza stone on top.
7. Shape the dough into a long - baguette shaped - roll and place on a baking sheet (seam side down) covered with parchment paper (in other words the parchment paper goes under the bread).
8. Cover dough with a greased piece of saran or plastic (I use a cut open old plastic bagel bag) and let rise another 45 minutes.
9. Remove plastic gently (avoid causing the dough to collapse - this is why the grease/oil is needed) and place the dough in the oven.
10. Bake 25 - 35 minutes or until golden brown.
11. Serve warm slices of bread topped with burrata cheese, sliced tomatoes and chopped basil. Season with fleur de sel and drizzle with your best extra virgin olive oil.

1 comment:

  1. Real bread, cheese, and summer tomatoes is one of the best meals ever, isn't it? :)