A Toaster Oven?

A Toaster Oven?

It was Christmas morning and I was so excited, opening up the large beautifully wrapped box that clearly came from Williams Sonoma. I was thinking… is it some kind of fancy serve ware? Maybe that cool panini press I’ve been eyeing? Oooh, a new Le Creuset piece? No… it was a toaster oven. So my husband got me a toaster. Gosh, how practical. Just what I wanted. A toaster. Yay! I hope I didn’t have the “uh, you got me a toaster?” look on my face. Then I see him laughing and he says to look INSIDE the toaster. Just like him to hide my birthday (which falls on Christmas Day) present in the toaster. Don’t get me wrong, the toaster is fabulous, and I love it, but it’s not exactly what I I’d been hoping to get. The iPhone was what I really wanted and was hidden inside of the toaster. As my friend Alicia said… its an iToaster! lol! Maybe next year, he can hide some diamond earrings inside a new vacuum cleaner??? (Hint, hint)

In honor of my new toaster, I decided to make some fresh bread. This is one of those crazy simple recipes, but it takes planning, since the dough needs to rise overnight in the refrigerator. The result is a flavorful, dense, chewy loaf of bread. We basically ate bread and water for two days… and loved it. Makes me realize that I should be making more bread at home. That’s one of my New Year’s Resolutions… Make more BREAD!

Rustic Wheat Bread Recipe
(adapted from Nick Malgieri How to Bake)

Sponge

2 c warm tap water (about 110 degrees)
2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
2 c unbleached all-purpose flour
1 c whole wheat flour

Dough
1 1/4 to 2 1/2 c unbleached all-purpose flour
1 c whole wheat flour
4 tsp salt

1. Make sponge. Pour water in a 3 qt mixing bowl and sprinkle the yeast over the surface. Add the flours and stir with a rubber spatula to make a heavy paste. Cover the bowl and let the sponge rise at room temperature until double, about 1 hour, then refrigerate overnight, or at least 8 hours.

2. Make the dough. Remove the sponge from the refrigerator and scrape into heavy duty stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Add 1 1/4 c all-purpose flour, all of the whole wheat flour and salt and mix on low speed to form a smooth, elastic and slightly sticky dough, about 5 minutes. Incorporate the remaining 1/4 c flour, a tablespoon at a time if the dough is too soft.

3. Put the dough in an oiled bowl (you may need a scraper) and turn the dough over so the top is oiled. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rise at room temperature until doubled, about 1 hour.

4. To shape the loaves, scrape the risen dough onto a lightly floured surface and press the dough to deflate it. Divide the dough in half and shape one piece at a time. Press the dough into a square, then roll it up tightly. Rotate the cylinder of dough 90 degrees and roll up again from a short end. Arrange the dough seam side down, cover with plastic or a towel and let it rest for 5 minutes Repeat with the remaining piece of dough.

5. Roll each piece of dough under the palms of your hands outward. pointing the ends slightly. Place the loaves, seam side down on parchment lined pans and dust each loaf heavily with flour, using about 1/3 cup in all. Cover with plastic or a towel and allow the loaves to rise until doubled, about 1 hour.

6. About 30 minutes before you intend to bake the loaves, set the racks at the middle and lowest levels of the oven and preheat to 500 degrees. Set a pan on the lowest rack to absorb some of the excess bottom heat and keep the bottom of the loaves from burning.

7. Holding a razor blade or the point of a very sharp knife at a 30 degree angle to the top of each loaf, make 3 to 4 diagonal slashes in each loaf. Immediately place the loaves in the oven and lower the temperature to 450 degrees.

8. After the loaves have baked for 20 minutes and are completely risen, lower the temperature to 350 degrees and continue baking for 20 to 30 minutes longer, until the bread is well risen and a dark golden color. It should reach an internal temperature of about 210 degrees

9. Remove the loaves from the oven and cool on a rack.

Makes 2 loaves

Note: I made one round and one loaf as the recipe stated above.