Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Greek Lemon Chicken Soup and My Favorite Homemade Bread

For the last two Sundays, I have made roast Greek Lemon Chicken according to this recipe.  I am pretty sure that there is nothing in the world that smells better than roast chicken.  This is what it looks like when it is all done:

Yum!  Now, if you are going to roast one chicken, you might as well roast two, right?  And then take all of the potatoes, carrots, and garlic, and throw it in a pot.  Shred the whole chicken, and add that, too!  Then squeeze out the last lemony goodness from those roasted lemon slices.  Add enough chicken broth to cover it all, and then you would have my current favorite soup.  I have been eating it every morning for breakfast all last week.  I love chicken soup for breakfast, and this is so nice and lemony.

Even better is when I actually make some fresh bread, too.  I have a great, super easy, no knead recipe that I just love.  Look how crusty the bread comes out!
The secret is to bake it in a baguette pan like this:

And, despite all the bread cookbooks that have told me otherwise, I get a great airy crumb without ten minutes of kneading:

No Knead Bread (adapted from the book No Need to Knead by Susan Dunaway)

Whisk together 2 cups of warm water and 2.25 tsp yeast. 
Add 2 cups of bread flour (King Arthur works best, and it really does need to be bread flour.) and 2 tsp salt.
Whisk until smooth (2 minutes or less).
Add 2 and a quarter more cups bread flour and stir with a wooden spoon until it all comes together in a ball in the center of the bowl.  (That's right -- I don't even bother to transfer to a new greased bowl.)
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let sit in a warm place for about an hour.
As gently as you can, divide the dough in half.  This is a slack, sticky dough, so use wet hands and a wet knife.
Put each half in the baguette pan and stretch to be loaf shaped.  It won't be perfectly smooth on top.  If you want smooth, you have to knead.
Let it rise for 30 minutes while you are preheating the oven to 500 F. 
When you put the bread in the oven, turn it down to 450 F.  Bake 20 - 30 minutes, until golden brown on top and bottom.

If you are in a rush, you can cut the first rise to 45 minutes, and the second rise to 15 minutes, and you will have fresh bread out of the oven in about 1.5 hours from when you started.

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