Finding Time to Cook

Sundays are typically cooking days for me. When working 9-6 and trying to fit in a run or gym date, it's difficult to cook or bake involved recipes, though I do try to squeeze in some cooking time here and there. Jack and I have an arrangement where he chooses most dinners during the week, and finds recipes for them, while I cook them. The goal for a weekday dinner is for it to be able to be prepared in 30 minutes or so. That way we have time to spend together when he comes home from long days at work. Such is the life of an auditor. So far, so good, but it does require some meticulous planning on my part (some might say control freak), but it solves laziness and poor decision making for dinners during the week.

This past week, I was able to find some time and take a stab at making bread, a Honey Buttermilk variety that was fairly simple, and delicious. The bread lasted the entire week, and was a welcome addition to my standard soup lunch. The entire baking/kneading process took about 3ish hours, and I was able to cook dinner and do a load of laundry in the rest time. The recipe was found on Confessions of a Tart.

Honey Buttermilk Bread

3 1/2 cups bread flour 
2 tsp table salt
1 cup buttermilk, cold
1/3 cup boiling water
2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
3 tbsp honey
1 package (2 1/4 tsp) instant yeast

1. Adjust oven rack to low position and heat oven to 200 degrees. Once oven temperature reaches 200 degrees, maintain heat 10 minutes, then turn off oven heat.

2. Mix flour and salt in bowl of standing mixer fitted with dough hook. In 1-quart Pyrex liquid measuring cup, mix cold buttermilk and boiling water together (temperature should be about 110-degrees), add butter, honey, and yeast. Turn machine to low and slowly add liquid. When dough comes together, increase speed to medium and mix until dough is smooth and satiny, stopping machine two or three times to scrape dough from hook if necessary, about 10 minutes. Turn dough onto lightly floured work surface; knead to form smooth, round ball, about 15 seconds. [If making by hand, combine ingredients as directed, turn out onto lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth and satiny, about 10 minutes.]

3. Place dough in very lightly oiled bowl, rubbing dough around bowl to lightly coat. Cover bowl with plastic wrap; place in warm oven until dough doubles in size, 50 to 60 minutes.

4. Form dough into loaf by gently pressing the dough into a rectangle, one inch thick and no wider than the length of the loaf pan. Next, roll the dough firmly into a cylinder, pressing with your fingers to make sure the dough sticks to itself. Turn dough seam side up and pinch it closed. Place dough in greased 9-by-5-by-3-inch loaf pan and press gently so dough touches all four sides of pan.

5. Cover with plastic wrap; set aside in warm spot until dough almost doubles in size, 20 to 30 minutes. Heat oven to 350 degrees, placing empty oven-safe pan on bottom rack. Bring 2 cups water to boil.

6. Remove plastic wrap from loaf pan. Place pan in oven, immediately pouring heated water into an oven-safe pan [to create steam]; close oven door. Bake until instant-read thermometer inserted at angle from short end just above pan rim into center of loaf reads 195 degrees, about 40 to 50 minutes [or until the loaf is nicely browned and sounds hollow when you take it out and tap it on the bottom]. Remove bread from pan, transfer to a wire rack, and cool to room temperature

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