My Latest Obsession

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Homemade french bread with homemade herbed goat cheese!

I begin by first making the goat cheese according to this method that I blogged about before.  I flavor the cheese with salt, pepper, finely minced garlic and onions and herbs de provence and let sit in the fridge to allow the flavors to mingle while I make the bread.

I then take the whey that I drained off from the cheese and use it to make homemade french bread.  My recipe comes from Jeff Smith “The Frugal Gourmet”  (I used to love watching his show on PBS, also loved watching Bob Ross paint and Bob Villa fix up old houses on my little black and white TV in my bedroom when I was a kid LOL).  I found the book “The Frugal Gourmet” for a whole $1 at the thrift store, many old and wonderful recipes it contains!

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Here it is, “Classic French Bread” adapted to what I do 😀

2 1/2 cups whey leftover from cheesemaking

2 tsp. yeast

2 lb. 3 oz. hard wheat flour (I use about 3 cups freshly ground hard spring wheat flour and about 2 cups unbleached bread flour…but you really should weigh it, it does make a difference!)

1 tbsp. unrefined moist grey seas salt

First I measure the whey into a huge bowl and then sprinkle the yeast over the surface of the whey and let sit for about 20-30 minutes until it starts to look foamy.  During that 20-30 minutes I grind my whole wheat flour (it takes me about 8 minutes to grind 3 cups of flour by hand).

I then weigh out all my flour and add it one cup at a time until I’ve added about 1/2 the flour.  The dough is really more of a wet batter at this point.  I let it sit, and let my arms resting from grinding and mixing and go do something else.

After a little while I come back to it and mix in the 1 tbsp. of salt and more flour until in forms a soft dough.  By this point, my arms have had enough so I cover the bowl with a towel and let sit in a cool place all night to let it ferment slightly and allow the flavors to develop.

In the morning I knead in the rest of the flour and continuously knead the bread until it feels right.  You know the feeling, where the dough just sort of comes “alive” in a way.

shaped into loaves with slits cut into it with a boning knife

shaped into loaves with slits cut into it with a boning knife

I shape it into loaves and put it on a pan and put the pan into the turned off oven with a pie plate full of hot water on the bottom rack to help keep the bread hydrated as it rises.

Here’s a quick little youtube video that shows how to shape the bread:

Once it’s fully risen I bake it at 550 degrees with the “convection oven” setting turned on for about 8 minutes and then I turn the temp. down to 450 and bake for another 5 minutes or so until a thermometer inserted into the bottom of the loaf reads 180 degrees.

I then brush the loaves with melted butter and wait for them to cool, once cool I slice and spread with homemade goat cheese…and everybody gets a slice and we all eat!

For the past couple of weeks I have been making fresh cheese and then fresh bread every 3 days or so and it’s very quickly become everybody’s favorite snack 😀

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