I made a bread

Using Jim Lahey’s “foolproof” overnight method

3 cups bread flour
1/4 tsp fast-acting yeast
1 tsp salt
1 3/4 cups lukewarm water

Mix all ingredients until shaggy dough forms. Cover with plastic wrap and leave in a warm-room-temp location for 12-18 hours (this loaf got an 18 hour ferment, and it might be slightly over fermented, but my apartment runs 75+ degrees in the afternoons even in winter).

Turn onto a floured surface and let rest 15 minutes. Shape into a ball, place on a piece of floured parchment. Flour top of loaf and cover for 60-90 minutes.

Preheat oven to SCREAMING HOT (my dutch oven lid will only take up to 450, so 450 is what I used) with the dutch oven in the oven. Once bread is approximately double in size, remove pot from oven, place bread (parchment and all) in the pot, add the lid, put back in the oven for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake another 20-40 minutes or until deep brown and hollow sounding.

Cool on a wire rack.

Once it’s done cooling, I’ll eat half the loaf and we’ll see if I get sick. The dough smelled and tasted just like the sourdough I made with my friend in San Francisco last fall, so I’m hopeful.

Easy Baked Apples

It’s apple season! Yay! I love apples, and I especially love apples that are fresh, crisp, and on sale. This means you can probably make this dessert for 4 people for around $5, depending on the price of butter. Cheap apples or not, though, this is delicious and very very easy.

You need:

  • 4 medium sized apples – any firm apple will work
  • butter
  • brown sugar or honey
  • cinnamon
  • a square glass baking dish
  • some water

So, the trickiest part of this process is coring the apples while leaving the majority of the apple intact. If you have an apple corer, great! Just make sure you only pull out about 3/4 of the core, leaving the blossom end still attached.

The goal is to take the middle parts out of the apple (as apple seeds are not good eats) but still leave the bottom intact to create a container for deliciousness that we will add later. If you don’t have an apple corer, take a sharp knife and cut around the stem down about 3/4 of the way through the apple and then use a sharp edged spoon (a metal teaspoon or half teaspoon works well) and scoop out the stemmy seedy bits.

When you’re done, you should have an apple “cup” – most of the apple intact with a little plug taken out of the middle.

Set the apples in the baking dish.

Put about half a tablespoon of butter in each apple, followed by a generous shaking of cinnamon. Do not be shy with the cinnamon. Then, top with a spoonful or two of honey or brown sugar, and pour enough water around the apples to fill the pan about 1/2 inch.

Bake at 375F for half an hour to 45 minutes, until the apples are soft. Serve with ice cream or whipped cream or both. You can eat the skins (I do) or just appreciate them as apple containment devices and pitch them in the compost afterward.

As an aside, if you cook them too long, the apples will burst their skins and turn into baked applesmush. This is, while less pretty, still pretty delicious and can be served regardless.