4/9/08

The Staff of Life


Sing-a-long: {Use the melody from The Fact of Life}

You take the good
You take the bad
You take them both and there you have the staff of life.
The staff of life.

There's a time you gotta go and show
You're growin' now
You know about the staff of life.
The staff of life


Who are you? Are you Jo, Blair, Trudy, Natalie or are you, Mrs. Garrison? I want to be the one who George Clooney was in love with while he was on the show. I thought he was cute then and I still do now. Can you tell I like my men tall, dark, and handsome. Clooney and Bourdain. Yummy.

Hey! Wait a second, I just realized something.... I MADE BREAD! Holy Crap! I made bread!

Stop shaking your head like it's no big deal. People have beheaded kings and over thrown governments because there was no bread to be had. So yeah, I am a little proud of myself. This is a big deal for me.

This is happens when you have a sick sous chef at home. I didn't want to clean the house until everyone has been sick and it can be aired out and totally disinfected and I didn't want to fold all the laundry sitting on the couch. I procrastinated and made bread while singing The Staff of Life and daydreaming about Clooney and Bourdain.

Cheesy Braid Loaf:

(Heaven is Chocolate, Cheese and Carbs who adapted the recipe from Cookie Baker Lynn)

1 1/4 teaspoon instant yeast

3/4 cup warm water

1 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon salt

3 eggs

1/2 cup butter, softened

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided

6 oz gruyere cheese, shredded (I used a sharp white cheddar)

vegetable oil


In a large bowl, whisk the yeast into 2 cups of the flour, then mix in the water, sugar, eggs and butter. Mix well with your hands to make sure all the butter is blended in well, then mix in the salt and as much of the remaining flour is needed to make a very soft, pliable dough. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for a few minutes until smooth and elastic. Form into a ball and place in a greased bowl, lightly greasing the top. Cover and let rise for 2 hours, or until doubled.

Punch the dough down lightly, dump out onto your work surface, form into a rectangle then spread most of the cheese on top. Fold into thirds like a letter a spread more cheese on top. Repeat until you have used all the cheese then knead the dough to work the cheese into it evenly.

Preheat the oven to 375F.

Divide the dough into thirds and roll each segment into a rope, about 1/2 thick, 15 inches wide. Place each of the ropes on a sheet of parchment paper and braid lightly, being careful not to stretch. Pinch and tuck each end under, brush lightly with oil, cover and let rise another hour or so, until doubled.

Carefully transfer the dough and parchment to a cookie sheet and stick in the oven for 5-10 minutes, turn and bake for another 20 minutes until golden brown and a thermometer inserted inside reads 200F. If your loaf is browning too quickly cover loosely with aluminum foil and continue baking until done.


One of my main concerns anytime I make anything with yeast is that my house is chilly. For example, it's about 75 degrees outside today and in my house it's 60 degrees. It's pretty obvious that yeast doesn't proof well in my house. What I have learned to do is set the dough in my sun room where it's nice and warm then I get a good proof. Easy, right? I set the bowl down and covered it with a towel and walked away. Then I heard Roxy, my Christmas Ham/cylinder with legs dog, eating. You would think Roxy is a big ol' dog the way she eats. Snorting, slurping, licking. Gross. I turn to hush her up and lo and behold she's in the dough! I cut off the dough that she chewed on and put the bowl out of her reach.

Everyone liked this bread. The kids said it has a texture almost like a croissant. Roxy said it was buttery and savory. I agree. I'm sure if George and Tony were here they'd say the same thing.

8 comments:

Neen said...

The bread looks fantastic! I'm saving your recipe. Sigh, I can relate to the proofing problems (though not the dog!). I made 4 attempts at baking with yeast this past weekend (Challah, Naan, French bread, Pizza dough) and most were a flop. The dough just wouldn't rise well. It was so depressing. :( I'm jealous of your sun room!

Simply...Gluten-free said...

I want to be the one George Clooney is in love with NOW!

lcsa99 said...

Well, at least the dog only got a small part and it wasn't completely a scaled down remake of A Christmas Story ;)

I am so glad you tried the recipe! Welcome to the world of homemade bread! :)

Snooty Primadona said...

So, is the dog's new nickname The Dough Beast or The DOH Beast? They turned out beautifully in spite of the canine.

Once when we had people over for steaks outside, I made the mistake of setting down the tray of steaks long enough to open the gril. When I turned around, a couple were missing. Our Cairn Terrier had snatched them in a flash. I still think she swallowed them whole within 5 seconds. She was a crazy, but funny bitch, lol.

White On Rice Couple said...

When I first saw the picture I thought it was the inside of a beautiful, flaky, buttery croissant! Good for you for baking bread!
We finally tried the bread from the highly acclaimed book "Artisan bread in 5 minutes" (or something like that title). Anyways, the basic bread recipe in there is AMAZING! So easy and the results are phenomenal. We've made crusty bread before, but the recipe in this book makes it 95% easier! Do you have this book?

melissa said...

krysta I would be really freakin proud if I had made bread. way to go!! that looks awesome, just awesome.

Pixie said...

I'd like to think I'm like Jo- she was the cool one wasn't she?

Congrats on your first bread making!

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