Making Croutons

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A half-loaf of home-made sourdough bread was a couple days old, and tired of being stored in the fridge. I decided to make croutons with it for the week’s luncheon salads. I poured olive oil, spices, parsley and fresh rosemary into a Pop-It storage box (made with safe materials in Italy), then tossed the bread squares in and shook the thing with all my might to coat them well. With ambient heat from the oven while baking the croutons, a new loaf of bread was rising nearby. Sliced thinly, the croutons were ready after ten minutes in a 350° oven. Cooled croutons were poured into elegant jars to be used at table. And they won’t need to be stored for long; these croutons will quickly be poured out onto salads. @M-J de Mesterton

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Elegant Home-Made French Bread

M-J’s Home-Made French Bread: through Trial and Error, You May Find the Right Recipe for the Ingredients Available in Your Area

American flour is very soft, even the unbleached variety. So, authentic French-style bread in the U.S. is difficult to make. If you can locate flours from France or Italy, they are perfect for making baguettes. To make French bread or baguettes like the ones shown in my photograph, I use my own starter for the dough, let it rise twice before I form it into loaves, and place a small pottery bowl of water in a very hot oven while the baguettes are baking. This moisture creates a crispy crust.

Here is a good recipe for home-made French-style bread, by King Arthur Flour company:

http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/french-style-country-bread-recipe

For more elegant bread recipes, please visit M-J’s page, The Elegant Cook.

©M-J de Mesterton 2011

Make Your Own Elegant Hamburger Buns

Hamburger Buns Made at Home are Superior to the Store-Bought Variety

Home-MadeHamburgerBunsCopyrightM-J de Mesterton
M-J’s Home-Made Hamburger Buns

M-J’s Elegant Hamburger Bun Recipe
Ingredients:
• 2 tablespoons of active dry yeast
• 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons of warm water (110° to 115°)—hotter water will kill the yeast
• 1/3 cup of vegetable oil (do not use canola oil, which tastes fishy in baked goods; peanut, corn or pure vegetable oils are preferred)
• 1/4 cup of sugar, any variety
• 1 egg
• 1 teaspoon of salt
• 3 to 3-1/2 cups of all-purpose flour

Directions:

In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in the warm water. Add oil and sugar; let stand for 5 minutes. Then, add the egg, salt, and flour.
Turn onto a floured surface; knead for about four minutes, until smooth and elastic, adding flour as needed. Form the dough into a ball, cover, and let it rise for ten minutes. Divide the dough into 12 flat, round pieces. Place 3 inches apart on buttered baking sheets.
Cover and let rise for 30 minutes. Bake on top oven rack at 400° for 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Monitor closely to prevent burning. Remove from pans to wire racks to cool. This recipe makes twelve hamburger buns. For dinner rolls, do not flatten but shape your twelve dough pieces into balls.

~~Copyright M-J de Mesterton, Elegant Survival 2008

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