Friday, July 17, 2009

A Cooking Class, A Girl, A Good Day and Basic White Bread

Meet Lilyanna. Lily for short. 

She is as beautiful as she is smart as she is talented. 

One day she wants to be either a chef or a plastic surgeon. She has some time to decide. 

I had the good fortune to spend a day cooking with Lily and her mom, Renee.

Lily loves soup. And bread. And cupcakes.

So that's what I taught her to make. 

Fresh Chicken Stock - that we turned into chicken noodle soup.
Fresh Loaves of white bread.
Classic Golden Cupcakes with Chocolate Butter Cream Frosting. 

After we cooked (for 4 hours!) We ate. 

It was a good day with two very nice people. And now Lily, and her mom Renee, know how to make some of Lily's favorite things. 

I do believe I have the best job in the world. And yes, I got hugs from both Lily and her mom when I left. When was the last time that happened to you at work?

Basic White Bread (makes two loaves)

1 package dry yeast

1/3 cup warm water (105-115 degrees F)

3/12 to 4 cups flour (I like to use ½ bread flour and half all purpose)

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 ¼ cups warm water

Dissolve yeast in 1/3 cup warm water. Let stand 5 minutes.

Mix flour and salt together (start with 3 cups)

Add 1 ¼ cups warm water to dissolved yeast and stir.

Slowly, in 3 additions, add flour/salt mixture, stirring with a wooden spoon after each addition. If dough is workable…. (it will still be sticky - don't add more flour...)

Turn out on lightly floured board. Have ½ to 1 cup flour measured and knead dough, adding flour by small amounts to board, not top of dough.

Knead about 10 minutes, incorporating more flour until smooth and elastic.

Form into a ball and place in a greased bowl. Cover with a dry towel and let rise 1 hour (minimum) or until doubled.

Punch down. Shape into 2 loaves, rounds, or rolls.

Place on ungreased and floured pans.

Cover and let rise 1 to 2 hours or until doubled in size

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Place a cake pan with 1 inch hot water on bottom rack.

Brush loaves with egg white beaten with teaspoon water OR mist gently with water.

Place on middle rack (above cake pan of water) and bake for 15 minutes.

Turn oven down to 350 degrees and bake 15 more minutes or until golden brown and hollow sounding when rapped with knuckles. 


  1. I have been a bread failure until now--wish me luck. Yeast and I have a turbulent relationship...Maybe we could make friends over a loaf of white bread?

  2. Tamis,

    Buy yourself an instant read thermometer - you need to have the water between 105 and 115 - to cold, it won't grow. Too hot, you will kill the yeast. You would be surprised at the true temp of what feels (to your touch) and what the true temp is... buy the thermometer - when you're ready to try again, we can chat by phone and I'll talk you through the rest. Check your email for my phone# - I'm serious.

    I want everyone to experience the joys of home baked bread.

  3. By instant read what do you mean? I have a point and shoot digital infrared thermometer like Alton Brown uses on Good Eats. I also have a metal one I use for checking milk temperature with my espresso machine. Would either of those work?

  4. As long as it can read between 105 and 115 - it will work. Most meat therms have a higher temp reading. Just check the gauge... Sounds like you have what you need!

    I like to work with "sticky" dough... adding the dough (from the board, from the bottom) ... if you add the dough in the bowl, you usually end up with a much too dry bread, flat, and way too flourery.

    Wow. Expresso. When can I come for a cup?

  5. Hi Linda! I love bread and soup! That's a daily staple for me from autumn to spring!

  6. Rain,

    Me too! So good for the body and the soul!

  7. I love to eat bread at every meal. Especially homemade bread! And little Lily is so precious! Come on over to Cajun Country, I have an award for you!!

  8. Marguerite,

    Oh, I am so honored. I love your site. The Best Husband In The World lived in New Orleans (the Garden District) for 6 years before he was TBHITW... Every now and then I have to make him ettoufee to keep him happy! Have any recipes?

    I will come over this week to pick up the award, thank you... and of course I will follow the rules!!

    Le Bon Temps Roullezz!


Wow. Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. I love feedback... what with being a cook and all. I will respond to your comments via email (if you do not have a "noreply" address or here, below your comment) As always, Bon Appetite!

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