“Stuff the bread with my peppers”, said Marian.
After weeks of oven-drying an abundant tomato crop, Marian has switched over to making Spanish-style pimientos from what looks like an endless supply of East End peppers. We eat most of her production, and freeze the rest. Often, we enjoy an “eating local” aperitif consisting of a glass of East End wine, accompanied by Marian’s locally grown peppers, tomatoes, some local North Fork goat cheese, and my home-made bread. No, I haven’t developed a source of locally produced flour. When I do, I’ll let you know.
Artisan bread is easy, quick, and delicious
I’m no artisan, but I can follow a simple recipe, which you can find at the end of this post. Mix up the dough, and you can store it in the ‘fridge for a week or more, taking out enough to bake up something fresh for dinner. Usually I take a cast iron skillet, coat the bottom with a bit of olive oil, and spread out a layer of dough to cover the skillet’s bottom. I brush some olive oil on top of the dough disk, sprinkle on some sea salt, and pop it into a 450 degree oven for about 15 minutes. Then out pops what amounts to focaccia.
So I stuffed it
I took some of Marian’s dried tomatoes and Spanish-style peppers, and placed them in the middle of the dough disk, along with some crumbled fresh goat cheese. The tomatoes and peppers spend the day in some first-rate olive oil, and some of that oil went right in to the mix. Then I folded the sides of the disk over, and flipped the ends up to form a stuffed loaf. In went the skillet, this time for 24 minutes. When the timer sounded, I removed the bread and placed it on a cooling rack for about 10 minutes. OK, time to try it.
Delish and demolished!
Yes, we demolished the loaf, leaving only a small end for another day. With a bit of advanced planning (making the dough) and a very little effort, you could make a loaf like the one I’ve described, when the spirit and your appetite moved you.
The Dough Recipe
This recipe comes from the book “200 Fast and Easy Artisan Breads: No-Knead, One Bowl ” by Judith Fertig, published in 2009 by Rose, Robert Inc. You can find it in the East Hampton library, and you can buy it online from Barnes and Noble. I have halved the original recipe here, as this is an easy amount of dough to make and store.
- 3 1/4 cups of unbleached all-purpose or bread flour
- 1 1/2 tbsp of rapid-rise yeast
- 1 1/2 tbsp kosher salt
- 1 1/2 cups of warm water (I heat the water to about 125 F)
Place the dry ingredients in a large bowl, add the water, and combine, stirring 40 times. The dough will look like a sticky blob. Cover the bowl and leave it in a warm, breeze-free environment for 2 hours. That’s it! No multiple rises, no punching it down, no kneading needed. After two hours, I divide the dough into two batches and put them in the ‘fridge. The dough is now ready to bake, and will last about one week. Pretty easy, I think.
Your Local Aperitif
Enjoy your aperitif, with some local produce, goat cheese, wine, and your own artisan bread. And as usual, enjoy your trip around town.