Wednesday, March 4, 2009
On a roll.
Ahh, I can hear the rain tapping away against the water drain outside my window now. It looks like rain is in the forecast for the rest of the week, and it's a little hard to believe that Spring is just weeks away. I saw short video of a New York snow day at nytimes.com today, which showed kids sledding in a park, a couple cross-country skiing on the sidewalks of Manhattan, and the inside workings of a soup kitchen. Doesn't look like Spring is anywhere in sight. I think a lot of people are tiring of the weather, ready for a change in seasons, but I don't think I'm ready for it. I don't quite want to put away my turtleneck sweaters and wool coats and scarves just yet, but maybe I'm saying that because I'm not in the Midwest or on the East Coast and the worst weather we've been getting here are rain showers and a little wind.
Sunday was also one of those wet, windy, rainy days--which is always the right type of day for baking, especially baking bread, I found. The oven warms up the home and fogs up the kitchen windows just a little, and it makes me grateful that I'm inside, sheltered and dry. I had gone to the King Arthur Flour website some weeks ago, since I almost always use King Arthur Flour (it's what my local Trader Joe's carries), and I found a nice array of yeast bread recipes that sounded so appealing. I decided then that it was time to get over any intimidation (because baking bread is intimidating, working with yeast, all the kneading, then the waiting...and all without a bread maker, and then who knew how it would turn out after all that time and effort?), and this day was going to be the day I was going to do it, to make my first yeast bread.
I chose something that could be a meal in itself, because I was planning to have it baked and ready by dinnertime. It would actually be perfect for something like a picnic lunch, though, but when I'm not cooking for other people, I think I should be entitled to have anything I'd like, any time. (This includes cereal and eggs for dinner quite frequently!) I didn't follow the recipe exactly, which is a little risky considering I've never baked a yeast bread before, but because it was raining, I also didn't want to have to go out to get some missing ingredients (truthfully, it's just me being lazy).
Using my stand mixer with the dough hook attachment, I kneaded the dough and waited, then rolled the dough with the filling and waited some more, then stuck it in the oven and waited even more. My lesson on baking bread: it's a lot about patience. At the end of it all, I had a pretty nice bread roll stuffed with sliced turkey, spinach and Swiss cheese. Nothing fancy, you could probably achieve a similar effect with two slices of bread and the same fillings, but to say I made my own bread stuffed with turkey and cheese, that's pretty nifty. I think that makes it even more delicious.
Ham (or Turkey) and Cheese Roll
(Adapted from the King Arthur Flour recipe)
Serves 6 to 8
2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 t. sugar
1-1/2 t. salt
2 T. olive oil
2-1/4 t. instant yeast (1 packet)
1 c. water
1/2 pound sliced deli meat (I used peppered turkey breast)
6 slices of cheese, sandwich sized (or more slices; I used Swiss, but you can use any kind of cheese you prefer)
1/2 cup of baby spinach leaves
In the bowl, mix together all dough ingredients using a dough hook (or by hand!) until ingredients are combined and the dough is smooth. Cover the bowl, and let it rise for about an hour.
Spread the dough out into a rectangle about 12" x 18" using your hand or a rolling pin. Spread mustard on the surface, leaving about 1" around the edges. Layer the spinach, cheese and deli meat, in that order, over the dough, then, starting along the long egde, roll the dough into a log. Press together the edges and seam to seal the roll. The original instructions next call for curving the roll into the shape of a horseshoe on a greased or parchment lined baking sheet, but if I make this again, I might just leave it straight. Cover the roll for another hour and a half to two hours.
When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375F degrees. Using a scissor, make 2" long incisions, crosswise, along the roll at 3" intervals. Bake for about 35 minutes (until the roll browns), then allow to cool. You can serve this warm or at room temperature.
Lastly, I wanted to thank Donna over at My Tasty Treasures for this award she gave to me recently:
I'm so new to this blogging world that I didn't even know blog awards existed, but thank you so much, Donna! And just so you know, she's also got her own roll on her site right now--a pretty amazing looking ice cream cake roll!