18 January 2012

Nutty Cranberry Loaf

A few weeks ago, a shortage of time and a grumbling belly led me to cooking a revelatory meal for myself and E - soba noodles, leafy greens of some sort, tofu, and a lazy-ass sauce. Why revelatory? Well, the prep goes like this:

1) Fill a large pot of water and put on high.
2) Wash and rip/chop for leafy greens and put into pot of water.
3) Make a sauce (for instance, a bit of beer, miso, oil, and spicy) and put chopped tofu in it for 5 minutes.
4) Heat large frying pan with some oil over medium.
5) Add tofu to frying pan, browning a side of it.
6) Your water might be close to boiling or not, but check your leafy greens to see if they blanched. If so, spoon them out, rinse in cold water, and drain.
7) Continue cooking tofu until two sides are browned, then add in leafy greens and any leftover sauce.
8) Add soba to pot of boiling water and cook for ~3 minutes.
9) Drain soba, add to frying pan, toss everything together and serve.

The whole meal takes 20 minutes (30 if you factor in grocery shopping). You save a lot of time by blanching your veggies in your water as it comes to a boil, then immediately using that boiling water for soba. It may not be pure, and you may be ridiculed for blanching veggies like that, but it works. So, yes, I've been doing that for quite a few of my cooked dinners. Besides that, I've been eating burritos and I made saumon √† l'unilat√©ral for E on a lark - easiest french recipe I've ever cooked. Also, bread.
I made this beauty with a few errors. The recipe below is what I cooked, but I would recommend some changes. For one, double the cranberry content at least; very few in the dough. Likewise, double the nut amount as well. Also, don't be lazy - make sure your honey hasn't solidified in your unheated apartment; the loaf could really use about 3% or so.
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Nutty Cranberry Loaf
300g flour ~= 1 loaf
100% unbleached bread flour
65% body-temperature water
2% instant yeast
2% salt
5% cranberries (consider doubling as per note)
5% nuts of your choosing (consider doubling as per note)
3% olive oil
(consider 3% honey as per note)

At least a night before baking, mix the dough. Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl, mix with a spoon, then add the liquids and stir until everything comes together. If you are using honey, combine the liquids before mixing as well to dissolve the yeast/honey/salt. Cover with plastic in bowl and let sit for 10 minutes. Wet hands and stretch-and-fold the dough 3 times, waiting 20 minutes between each iteration. Refrigerate overnight.

Day-of baking, remove from the fridge 1.5-2 hours before the intended baking time. Flour a work surface, shape into a loaf, and place on a piece of parchment that has been dusted with semolina. For ease-of-baking, the parchment should be one something it can easily slide off of, like an overturned baking sheet. 45 minutes before baking, preheat oven to 500 degrees with a cast iron pan that can fit the loaf and a lid for said pan (I use a brownie dish, though an actual dutch oven would be best). Once the dough, when poked, is very slow to recover, sprinkle some additional flour on the bread and score it deeply once across the top. Carefully slide it into the pan, cover, and reduce oven temp to 450. Remove the lid after 15 minutes and rotate the bread. Cook for another 20 minutes or so until the bread is done (nice color, sounds hollow when thumped on the bottom, internal temperature of 180 (or above, but try and stay closer to 180 than to 200).

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