Friday, March 31, 2017

Twofer- Spring Salad and Date-Pecan Soda Bread

Although fall is my favorite time of year, spring comes a close second. The days are lengthening so there is more time to enjoy the sunshine, birdsong and fresh spring flowers. Yesterday I planted some strawberry plants and will soon be getting the seedlings crowding my sunroom into the ground outdoors. They just need a few days of hardening off first.

Inside the house there are changes, too. Sweetie and I decided to upgrade our tiny guest room with a queen size bed but, since that size bed takes up most of the room, we opted for a chest Murphy bed. Until we visited a home show a few weeks ago we didn't even know that such a thing existed. The memory foam mattress fold into three attached sections and fits into the chest. The chest also contains a drawer for storage and a couple of support pieces which fold or roll out. Closed up it's a pretty piece of furniture.

Yesterday I was in Santa Rosa and decided to stop by the new Safeway on College Avenue where G&G market was for over 25 years. They have done a nice job making it into a Safeway and near the front there is an amazing array of salad greens and fixings. I had a good time choosing some items to make a salad for dinner, and then went right next to the salad area and bought some already grilled chicken kabobs to top the salad with.

In my world a dinner salad is best accompanied by warm bread. I decided to make Aunt May's Irish Soda Bread, but changed up to include dates and pecans. After we had some I wondered why I don't bake this weekly. Then I remembered that I'm trying not to bake things that we feel compelled to eat immediately because Sweetie and I both are losing a few pounds that crept up on us during the winter. Weekly soda bread would put on the pounds, but it's nice for the rare treat.

Spring Salad with Chicken, Avocado, Broccoli and Snap Peas

2 cups mixed spring mix type greens...small red and green lettuces, mizuna, mustard, curly endive, spinach, etc.
2 cups mixed green salad...torn or chopped romaine, iceberg, red cabbage, etc.
1 cup shredded or matchstick carrots
2-3 tablespoons sliced almonds
1/4 cup cooked and cooled wheat berries
2-4 tablespoons cooked and cooled red quinoa
2-3 tablespoons raisins
1 cup sugar snap peas, rinsed and sliced into bite sized pieces
1/2-1 cup broccoli florets, steamed and cooled
1/2 - 1 avocado,peeled, pitted and sliced
1/2 cup cooked chicken, in bite sized pieces, warmed (I used to grilled kabobs, stick removed)
your favorite Asian dressing (I used Newman's Own Sesame Ginger)

In a large salad bowl mix the spring mix greens, green salad greens, carrots, almonds, wheat berries, quinoa, raisins and snap peas. Toss gently to mix. Add the broccoli and toss gently again. Add the amount of dressing you like and toss to coat lettuce leaves. Pile salad on large plates. Top with sliced avocado, arrange in a nice pattern, and chicken pieces. Serve at once.

Aunt May's Soda Bread but with Dates and Pecans
makes one medium loaf

1 cup (about) soy milk
3 tablespoons plain yogurt (not Greek style)
1 egg yolk
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup Irish style whole-meal flour or whole wheat flour1/4 cup wheat bran
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
4 oz. (½ stick) cold butter or margarine, in thin slices
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup roughly chopped dried pitted dates
In a small bowl combine the milk and the yogurt. Let sit to 'sour' the milk, at least 5 minutes. Stir in the egg yolk. Set aside.

Sift the dry ingredients over the butter and cut in well with a fork or pastry blender. Add the brown sugar, pecans and date pieces; mix well.
Add the soured milk and mix just until moist - don’t over handle. You may need to add 2 - 4 more tablespoons of milk or a tablespoon more of flour. Some dry stuff is OK but the dough should be sticky.

Pat into a round on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Sprinkle lightly with flour. Cut a cross on top. Bake 45 minutes at 350F. Cool a bit before slicing.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Quick Lemon Chicken

I love the Lemon Chicken for a Crowd that marinates for a while and then is cooked slowly to perfection, but sometimes you need dinner in a hurry. Last week I had one of those days, so I threw together Lemon Quick Chick, a recipe I've had for ages. I've used it so long that I don't even remember where it came from, but it was probably the newspaper or a magazine.

The thing that takes the longest amount of time is making the starch that it goes over. I like rice the best, but have used mashed potatoes and, for an even shorter cooking time, pasta.

After that cutting up the chicken takes a bit of time, but not much. Often I use chicken breast, which cooks up the fastest, but last week I had boneless chicken thighs, so that's what I used. You want the pieces to be on the smaller side of bite sized because they cook up faster that way.

You will also need a lemon, some chicken broth, a few tablespoons of butter and/or oil and a few tablespoons of flour, plus seasonings like poultry seasoning, pepper, salt, and thyme. I like my lemon chicken on the mellow side, but you could also add some hot sauce if you like more bite.

This is a combination stir-fry and braise. Have everything to hand since it does go pretty quickly.

You end up with a savory dish with a lovely sauce to spoon over rice, potatoes, pasta, etc. Barley would be good, too. I served mine with steamed rice and steamed broccoli. It made a great early spring dinner.

Lemon Quick Chick
Serves 4-6

1 lb chicken, preferably boneless
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons flour
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1 1/4 cups chicken broth
1 lemon, sliced very thinly

Cut the chicken into small bite sized pieces. (I often use boneless chicken breasts or boneless chicken thighs). Set aside.

In a large frying pan heat the butter or margarine and the oil, then saute' the cut up chicken, stirring so that all sides get opaque.

Add the flour and seasonings and stir, then let brown a minute, then stir again and let the mixture brown. Add the chicken broth all at once and, using a wooden spoon or similar implement, scrap up the browned flour/butter bits and stir to incorporate into the sauce. Let cook, stirring, on medium, until the sauce starts to thicken.

Placed the lemon slices around the pan on top of the chicken mixture, then cover and reduce the heat to low. Cook for another 2 minutes. Uncover and serve.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Asparagus Season

We have gone to daylight savings time and the calendar said that this past Monday was the first day of spring, but many days have still been chilly and last night the temperature was in the upper 30s, so winter is having trouble letting go. Friday is supposed to bring a big storm with a lot of rain and maybe some thunder and lightning. Even so, things keep blooming. The plum trees are finished with their flowers and are sending out lots of lovely light green leaves. The pear trees are in bloom right now and the apples are in the bud stage, ready to bust out all over this weekend if it warms up a bit. This afternoon I re-potted some of the squash seedlings into larger pots since they were getting too big for the tiny cells of the seed starting trays. The tomatoes will need to be re-potted soon. Spring is all around.

One of the joys of spring are the fresh asparagus that show up in every market, often at a reasonable price. I love them just steamed lightly, but they are great grilled with just a mist of olive oil to keep them from sticking, in an omelet, added to a stir fry, as part of a pasta dish, with Parmesan cheese and ricotta, and even as the star of a yummy bread.

Today I made a flatbread with halved asparagus spears that I cut into 2-inch long pieces. First down on the parchment was a sourdough pizza dough made with Italian 00 flour instead of all-purpose flour. It is very easy to work with, stretches thin for a nice crust, and tastes great, too. On top of that I put some almond milk ricotta cheese (thank you T-Rose for helping me find it at Community Market), very thin slivers of red onion, and the prepared asparagus. A drizzle of olive oil finished it up, ready for baking in a hot oven. Since Sweetie and I prefer different amounts of salt and pepper, we added it at the table. I used my baking stone, well pre-heated, and slid the parchment paper holding the flatbread right onto the stone. You get a really nice bottom crust that way.

The asparagus flatbread went really well with a green salad that had fresh orange segments and avocado, dressed with a balsamic vinaigrette. What did you have tonight?

Monday, March 20, 2017

A Lovely Banana Loaf with the Cake Slice Bakers

Happy first day of Spring!

The 20th of the month is always a fun day to check out this blog because I often have a post for a recipe from the Cake Slice Baker group's latest book, this time Roger Pizey's World Class Cakes. 

Although we had four choices this month, the multi-layer chocolate cake used a mousse as filling, which is hard to do for the dairy-impaired. The cake with coconut on top was no good because I had a guest who hates coconut. The mandarin and macadamia cake is too similar to my favorite orange cake from Orangette, so I went with the Banana Loaf. I didn't really expect much, but Sweetie went wild over it and he really isn't a big cake fan. I thought at first that it was because I served slices still a bit warm from the oven, but he enjoyed it just as much this morning when it was cold.

This cake is not too sweet and it's very moist. I goofed and used both bananas in the batter when you are supposed to put one, sliced, on top of the loaf. That probably made it too liquid a batter and definitely made it too much overflowed quite a bit. Fortunately I put a sheet pan underneath to catch any drips, so no harm done. I did use ground almonds instead of hazelnuts because that was handy and I did add 1/2 cup chopped pecans to the batter. No banana on top, no glaze. Still an awesome cake! The half pecans I put on top for decoration just sank into the batter, so I photographed the upside down looked better. Not the best photos in the world, but a delicious banana loaf!

Banana Loaf
serves 8

2 really ripe bananas
2/3 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup ground almonds
2 eggs
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup plain low-fat yogurt
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease a loaf pan (I used a 8.5 x 4 x 2.5 pan...a larger one would be better). Set aside.

Mash one banana in a bowl. Set aside.

Cream butter and sugar in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add the ground almonds, followed by the eggs. Scrape bowl and beaters and mix a little more until well combined.

On a piece of waxed paper or parchment, sift together the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder. Add to the batter and mix well. Mix in the sour cream, then the banana puree, and pecans.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 10 minutes.

Removed pan from oven and add the remaining banana, sliced lengthwise, in a long along the length of the loaf. (I missed this part and had both bananas, mashed, in the batter...the pan overflowed, so go with the correct directions!) Return pan to the oven and bake and additional 45-50 minutes. A toothpick inserted into the center will come out clean.

Remove to a wire rack and let cool for 20 minutes, then turn out of pan and turn right side up. Serve warm or cool.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Apricot Tart So Sunny

No, it isn't apricot season, but I've always wanted to try an apricot tart using canned apricots, so I actually had two cans in my pantry waiting for such a day. Finally, the day came last weekend. I used a sweet tart dough from Dorie Greenspan and a frangipane for the filling. It's made with ground almonds and puffed up around the apricots.

Almonds and apricots are a great flavor combination, so it was bound to be delicious. I took it to Natasha's for a lovely lunch with Natasha, her hubby, my hubby, our older brother, and Lex. There were even a few candles since Sweetie and I were jointly sharing a birthday, even though mine was last month and his is days away. Birthdays are very movable feasts in my family!

At the end of the post is a photo that shows the three views of one scene that I am using as the inspiration for a painting I'm doing in the refurbished studio. Great fun to work there, especially now that the weather is warmer. I'll post the finished art when it is done.

Apricot Tart

Sweet Tart Dough from Dorie Greenspan's Baking; From My Home To Yours

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick plus 1 tablespoon (9 tablespoons) very cold (or frozen) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 large egg yolk

Put the flour, confectioners' sugar and salt in a food processor and pulse a couple of times to combine. 

Scatter the cold pieces of butter over the dry ingredients and pulse until the butter is coarsely cut in. 

Stir the yolk to break it up, and add it a little at a time, pulsing after each addition. When the egg is in, process in long pulses, about 10 seconds each, until the dough forms clumps and curds. Turn the dough out onto a work surface and, very lightly and sparingly, knead the dough just to incorporate any dry ingredients that still exist in the mixture.

Gather dough into a ball, then flatten it and put it into a 9-inch tart pan, using your fingers to push the dough into the corners and flutes of the pan, while keeping the thickness as even as possible. Use a rolling pin, rolled over the top rim, to clean the top. Gather up any leftover pieces and wrap in plastic wrap, and put in the fridge for patching, if necessary. Prick all over and freeze for at least 30 minutes, but longer is O.K.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Put the rack in the center of the oven.

Remove tart shell from freezer. Spray a sheet of foil with cooking spray/oil and put, oil side down on the tart, pressing down to mold the foil to the tart shape.

Bake for 25 minutes. Remove the foil carefully and use the back of a spoon to gently press down any puffed crust. If necessary, use the extra dough from the fridge to patch any holes, then bake another few minutes. Let crust cool.

Chop up 2 oz. semi-sweet chocolate. Put in a microwave safe bowl. Add 1 teaspoon butter or margarine. Heat on high in the microwave, a half minute at a time, stirring after each heating, until mixture is melted and smooth. Use pastry brush or silicon brush to coat bottom of tart with the chocolate. Let cool until hardened. This layer prevents the filling from making the tart soggy on the bottom.

Prepare the filling:

3 tablespoons soft butter or margarine
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
2 large eggs
3/4 cup almond flour or finely ground almonds
1 can apricot halves, drained and patted dry

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

To make the filling:  Beat together the butter, salt, sugar, flour, and almond extract.

Beat in the eggs, then add the almond flour, stirring just to combine.

To assemble the tart: Spread the filling in the bottom of the crust.

Place the apricot halves in rows on top of the filling, pressing them down gently so the bottom of the fruit is covered.

Bake the tart in the preheated 350 degree F oven for 45 to 40 minutes, until the top is lightly browned. Cool slightly before serving. 

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Sweetly Fragrant Sturdy Cinnamon Raisin Struan Bread

Sometimes doing a end of year clear out of the bookcases brings a surprise. That's what happened to me. I found a small paperback by Peter Reinhart mixed in with the mysteries. In it I found what I think is the perfect March bread for gathering round our Bread Baking Babes kitchen table. Since I'm Kitchen of the Month, I'm inviting you, dear reader, to bake it too.

Peter Reinhart has been encouraging bread baking for a long time, especially slow food bread baking where the dough is given plenty of time to develop its flavor. When Struan bread was available commercially at the market in the 90s, I often bought it for making sandwiches. I loved the complex flavors and the substantial body of the bread, still rare at a time when most sandwich bread was soft and squishy. 

I have a copy of a book he wrote in 1994 called Sacramental Magic in a Small-Town Cafe - Recipes and Stories from Brother Juniper's Cafe'. In it he gives the recipe for his (at the time) all time favorite bread - Cinnamon Raisin Struan, which is a variation of Struan bread.

This is supposed to be a complex bread, consisting of lots of grains and ingredients. Brother Peter says, "Struan, incidentally, aside from being the name of a Scottish clan, also means "the convergence of two or more streams" which he feels is quite appropriate considering all the different convergences of ingredients. You will need to cook some brown rice ahead of time and allow it to cool to room temperature and be prepared to knead longer than usual. You might have to make a trip to the store for polenta, wheat bran and/or buttermilk, but most of the ingredients are probably already in your pantry.

This recipe makes a lot of bread - three 1 1/2 pound loaves. As long as you keep the ingredients in proportion, you can reduce the amounts of ingredients to make less.

In keeping with my no-dairy regime, I substituted a combination of soy milk and plain yogurt (which doesn't seem to bother me, probably because of being fermented) for the buttermilk. I also forgot all about doing oil and cinnamon sugar on the top of the loaf (probably because I was baking these well after dinner time and my brain turns off, mostly, after about 7 pm). I also divided the recipe in half and still made two smaller loaves. This bread is fragrant with the cinnamon...a full tablespoon per loaf!...and has a nice sturdy crumb and thin but delicious crust. One loaf received only cinnamon...I forgot all about the sugar...and the other loaf received some melted butter and brown sugar along with the cinnamon. Both were delicious in different ways.

Come on, become a Buddy! Bake this bread and then email me at plachman at sonic dot net, along with a photo of your bread and a short description of your baking experience. Get it to me by March 29th to be included in the round-up. Don't be surprised if this bread is gone in a flash. While it is baking in the oven the kitchen begins to smell like those cinnamon rolls at the mall and soon everyone wants a taste. Just let it cool a bit or you might get a burnt tongue from the hot sugar!

Be sure to visit the blogs of the other Bread Baking Babes, too, to see what they have done with the recipe. I'll do a post tomorrow with links if you don't have them already.

Cinnamon Raisin Struan Bread
makes three 1 1/2 pound loaves
from Sacramental Magic in a Small-Town Cafe by Br Peter Reinhart

7 cups high-gluten bread flour
1/2 cup uncooked polenta (coarse ground cornmeal)
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup wheat bran
4 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons active dry yeast activated in 4 tablespoons lukewarm water
(alternately, use 2 tablespoons plus one teaspoon instant yeast, mixed with the dry ingredients)
1/2 cup cooked brown rice
1/4 cup honey
3/4 cup buttermilk
About 1 1/2 cups water (be prepared to add more if needed)
3 cups raisins
1/2 cup cinnamon sugar (1 part cinnamon to 2 parts granulated sugar)
4 tablespoons melted butter, margarine, or vegetable oil

In a large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients, including the salt and yeast (unless you are using active dry yeast, which should be activated in warm water and added with the wet ingredients.)

Add the cooked rice, honey, and buttermilk and mix together. Then add 1 cup of water, reserving the rest to add as needed. With your hands, squeeze the ingredient together until they make a ball. Sprinkle some flour on the counter and turn the ball out of the bowl and begin kneading. Add small quantities of water as needed.

Because Struan has so many whole grains, it takes longer to knead than most breads. Allow at least 15 minutes, but be prepared to knead for 20. The dough will change before your eyes, lightening in color, becoming gradually more elastic and evenly grained. The finished dough should be tacky, not sticky, lightly golden, stretchy and elastic, rather than porridge-like. When you push the heels of your hands into the dough it should give way but not tear. If it flakes or crumbles, add a little more water.

When the dough seems ready, add the raisins and knead for 2 more minutes, until the raisins are evenly distributed. (I kneaded my raisins in after the first rise.)

Wash out the mixing bowl and dry it thoroughly. Put in the dough and cover with a damp towel or plastic wrap, or place the bowl inside a plastic bag. Allow the dough to rise in a warm place for about 1 hour, until it has roughly doubled in size. (Mine took longer...closer to two hours. Once I kneaded in the raisins, I put it in the fridge overnight for more flavor.)

Cut the dough into 3 equal pieces (or more if you want to make smaller loaves). With a rolling pin, roll out each piece into a rectangle. Sprinkle about 1 tablespoon of cinnamon sugar over the surface, spreading it evenly (used brown sugar and some melted butter on one loaf at this stage). From the bottom of the long side, roll up the dough into tight loaves, tucking and pinching the seams into one line on the bottom. Put the loaves, seam side down, in greased bread pans (for full-sized loaves your pan should be around 9 x 4 1/3 x 3 inches). Cover and allow the loaves to rise until doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. When the loaves have risen, cresting over the tops of the pans, place on the center shelf and bake for about 45 minutes. The loaves should be nicely domed and dark gold. The bottom and sides should be a uniform light gold and there should be an audible, hollow  thwack when you tap the bottom of the loaf. If the loaves are not ready, remove them from the pans and place them back in the oven until done. They will bake quickly when removed from the pans.

When done, brush a little butter, margarine, or oil over the tops, then sprinkle with the remaining cinnamon sugar, coating each loaf with a layer of cinnamon crust. (Didn't do this part.)

Allow the breads to cool on wire racks for at least 40 minutes before slicing. This bread makes exceptional breakfast toast and French toast!

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Busy Times

Not sure why I used this title, since most times seem to be busy times in my life, but lately has been busier than usual and looks to continue that way for a while. Although baking and cooking are always near the top of my list of passions (along with Sweetie, Kate and Pi), at this time of year the growing season starts taking up some of my time and thoughts. I have flats of cells of soil with tiny seedlings in the sunspace and more seeds to plant in others.

Not only is the ground saturated from all the rain, but the nights have been cold, so it may be another month before anything goes into the ground. During the next week or so I hope to do the annual check-up of the irrigation system with Sweetie so that I know where I can plant things once the soil is warm.

My involvement with the women's scholarship group P.E.O. continues to be complex and rewarding and even more time consuming (is that possible?) since I'm currently wearing three hats, one at the local level, one at the regional and one at the state level. At the state level we just awarded over $76,000 in post-secondary education scholarships for the 2017-2018 academic year, and that was just my committee! Pretty gratifying to be able to help women reach for their educational goals.

Travel and picnics start to become interesting now that the weather is nicer, and home project are also coming to the top of the list. Hope to be posting picnic-worthy recipes soon.

I finally have a studio to paint in and a painting started, plus the next one being planned in my head.

I'm the Kitchen of the Month for the Bread Baking Babes in March, so be sure to check back on the 16th for that post! Sweetie has a birthday coming up and my brother from Denver area is visiting California, so we hope to see him in the Sacramento area this coming weekend. With luck that will be when I bake the cake for the Cake Slice Bakers, which is revealed on the 20th.

Last weekend we visited Kate in the LA area and had a great time. It was a very short visit, but we got to meet her excellent neighbors and their friends, have some cocktails and BBQ, play with some dogs and a puppy. We visited the Manhattan Beach pier and had breakfast with Adam, Julia and the kids on Saturday. There was time to talk, hear about  jobs and, later, watch some videos showing the good that EcoMedia does in the world, discover a new TV series, learn about Uber Eats, have a little birthday celebration with a tiny cake I brought along (I was too sick on my real birthday to even think about cake!), and we even helped hang some art. Good times!

So, as you can see, nothing earth shattering in all this busyness, but no time to get bored, either.

Hope that your days are filled with your own busy times, as long as those times are good times.

Monday, March 06, 2017

No Knead Sort of Irish Bread

Every once in a while I return to the No-Knead kind of bread because it is easy and you get a very artisan looking loaf with not much trouble. This time I used a good amount of the King Arthur Flour Irish Wholemeal Flour to make the bread, plus some nice sourdough starter, so it isn't an authentic Irish bread, but surely similar to some that might have been made on that green, green island.

It makes wonderful sandwiches and toast and French toast and can be eaten with pleasure, while still a little bit warm from the oven, without any butter, jam, topping of any sort and as just the simple, unadorned, unprocessed slice to enjoy.

I sort of poured the dough after the first rise onto a heavily floured sheet of parchment, then used that to flip half of the loaf over the other half, then it all went into the preheated Dutch oven which I had sprayed lightly with oil. I put the lid on for the first half of the baking and then removed it so that the top crust crisped up an became a lovely golden brown. It didn't fill the whole pot, but that was OK.

Oh, yes, below the recipe is a photo of the two little black lambs born in our field this morning. Sooo cute! Kinda hard to see them, but we were keeping well away until they bonded with their ewe. No interest in bummer lambs.

No-Knead Bread in a Pot Elle's Way

makes 1 large loaf

1 cup sourdough starter
1 cup Irish Wholemeal flour
1 1/2 cups water
2 -3 cups bread flour
1 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Put the sourdough starter in a large bowl. In another bowl whisk together the wholemeal flour and the water. Add it to the starter and whisk to blend. Let bowl sit, uncovered, on the counter for at least 1's OK for it to sit longer (another hour or two is OK) for a stronger sourdough flavor.

Stir the bread flour into the starter mixture 1/4 cup at a time with a wooden spoon, stirring until all the flour is mixed in before adding any more. You should have a shaggy dough that doesn't hold a shape. When you have added 2 cups of flour, sprinkle in the sea salt, then another 1/4 cup of the flour and finish stirring it in. You will have a very slack dough. You can stop here or add more flour, 1/4 cup at a time but the less flour the more holes.

Let the mixture sit, uncovered, on the counter for 1 1/2 to 4 hours. Mixture will be bubbly.

Place a large piece of parchment paper on the counter and flour it heavily. Place/pour the sourdough mixture over the flour. Using a bench scraper, lift up the dough all around the edges and sprinkle heavily with flour under the edges, then let dough fall on top of the flour. When you have gone all around the dough mass, use the bench scraper to flip half of the dough on top of the other half. Sprinkle top heavily with flour and let sit until pot is ready.

Place heavy cast iron pot or Dutch oven, with lid, in the oven and preheat for 20 minutes to 450 degrees F. When 20 minutes have passed, remove pot and lid from the oven and slide the dough into the pot, discarding the parchment paper. Cover with the lid (remember to use oven mitts for all of this...the pot is very hot!) and return the covered pot to the oven.

Bake for 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 -25 minutes or until loaf is dark golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom. Let cool, outside of the pot, for 10 minutes on a rack. Serve warm or cool before eating.