Dutch Oven Bread

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Last week I was traveling all week and got sick.  It was horrible.  It’s like my body broke up with me.  I thought my bod and I were finally getting along and then out of nowhere it just straight up ditches me.  I was totally blindsided and I couldn’t even have a solo pity party in the comforts of my apartment.  I kept trying to make it work between us but it’s like I was Taylor Swift and my body was every guy ever.  And instead of writing a crappy song about it I had to power through meetings and a week in a hotel. 

can you believe i was on my death bed but sitll took the time to pic this for you guys?

can you believe i was on my death bed but sitll took the time to pic this for you guys?

I came home Thursday night to a food-less apartment and knew I would not have the energy to head out Friday for sustenance.  So I mixed together 17.5 ounces of bread flour, 0.25 teaspoons of active dry yeast, 2.5 teaspoons of salt and 12 ounces of filtered water, covered it with plastic wrap and went to bed. 

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15 hours of sneezing, hacking and what was essentially total misery later I used the only energy I had to turn the dough onto a lightly floured counter, punch it down, turn it over onto itself once and cover with a tea towel.  Normally I take great joy out of punching down dough but this was a survival mode.  If you are going through a break up with a dude and not with your body, however, this would be a good opportunity to really let out some aggression.  15 minutes later I shaped the dough into a ball set it on a tea towel covered in flourr (seam side down), sprinkled flourr over it, and covered it with another towel.  I don’t think I floured it enough though because 3 hours later (when the dough had doubled in size) it kinda stuck to the towel.  So either flour more or be prepared to really scrape it off the towel like I did (which was fine- it was the least of my problems at this point).  

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Anyway, when the dough has doubled in size (2-3 hours) heat your oven to 450 degrees F with a 4-5 quart dutch oven in your regular oven while it heats up.  Once the oven is ready dump the dough in the dutch oven, cover and bake for 30 minutes.  I didn’t do the most lady like dough transfer from towel to dutch oven so my bread looked kinda wild but I can’t care about things I can’t care about.  After 30 minutes remove the lid and bake for another 15 minutes.  If you have a thermometer you want the bread to be at 210 degrees but 15-20 minutes should do the trick. 

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Okay take it out, let it cool and eat it.  This is Alton Brown’s recipe for sourdough bread but you have to wait basically days for the dough to become “sour” and it’s perfectly consumable after 15 hours so go to town.  You could probably let the dough hang for 48 hours though (who are the people in the world that can wait that long for homemade bread?). 

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This bread is really, really good especially warm so even after it comes to room temp I suggest warming it up or toasting it.  It kept me alive through the weekend and a week later my body is finally considering entering a non-committal relationship with me (Who gets colds in summer? Dumb.)

on the couch consuming carbs in the persuit of wellness

on the couch consuming carbs in the persuit of wellness

Quinoa Granola with Flaked Coconut and Almonds

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I just don’t think I can emphasize enough how much granola I can pound in a single sitting.  I travel a lot for work and find myself buying bags of granola in the airport.  Looking at the ingredients make my head explode because it has as much sugar/syrup/oil as most candy.  What really gets me is a bag I am certain is meant to be a single serving is claimed to have about 20398592038532 portions in it.  On top of that there is nothing substantial in it, ergo, I’m still hungry after consuming the said portions.  This is what we call a fail.  The solution? Quinoa Granola with Flaked Coconut and Almonds.

So granola goes down via a wet and dry team (plus some dried fruit at the end).  Dry usually equals a mix of oats, nuts, etc… it’s hard to mess this part up.  The wet team is where things can get weird.  If this was an Ina recipe she would probably have butter, sugar syrup, etc.  I know this because I make her granola bars (see here) and I love them.  They just taste so so good.  But this granola tastes so so good too, keeps the sugar down and gives you lots of energy.

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Here is what you’ll need (inspired by two peas and their pod):

0.75 cup quinoa

2.5 cups rolled oats

1 cup chopped almonds

0.5 cup pepitas

0.5 cup flaked coconut

0.25 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

0.5 teaspoons salt

Those were all the dry things- you can switch that up with different nuts, coconut, seeds, etc.. now the wet:

1 cup unsweetened applesauce

2 tablespoons honey

1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted

0.5 teaspoon vanilla extract

0.5 cups of dried fruit (this you are allowed to changed I did half dried cherries and half dried cranberries)

You can mix up the dry ingredients to your hearts delight but if you mess with the wet ingredients your granola will probably suck and then you’ll blame me and I won’t be sorry.  For the amount of granola I consume I needed a recipe with things primarily found in nature.  I made a huge bag of this that does not come with a portion count and keeps me from buying the airport corn syrup granola. 

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I know I’ve rambled a lot about granola but one other great thing about this recipe is its simplicity.  Other recipes I’ve tried require multiple baking steps.  This is just mix the dry, mix the wet, combine, bake, add the fruit. 

Rinse the quinoa under cold water and drain well.  This is slightly annoying (make sure you use a proper colander or all of your quinoa ends up in the sink) but is absolutely worth it for the crunch and heft it brings to this granola party.  Combine the quinoa with the oats, nuts, pepitas, coconut (I crumble this a little in my hand as I add it in), brown sugar, cinnamon and salt.

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Combine all the wet ingredients in a separate bowl.  Combine with the dry.  Spread on a parchment paper line baking sheet and bake at 300 degrees for 40 minutes.  Stir every 10 minutes (okay this was more like every 15 for me but try and make an effort for the sake of even browning).

Stir in the dried fruit (as I said any dried fruit works but just remember raisins are merely dead grapes and always lose to cherries in a dried fruit battle).  You can store this for a month in an air-tight container (not relevant information if you consume granola like I do).  My cocaine granola still has a place in my heart but my most hippy of friends all the way to my frattiest of friends like this granola so add it to your repertoire!

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