Once again December is upon us. It feels like yesterday when tulips started blooming and rejoiced with their colors, summer heat gave us a good excuse to eat watermelon by the pounds (well, I did), and then the fall air became crispy enough to get us all excited about hats and scarfs. But December has done it again—it surprised us with the smell of hot cocoa and festivities everywhere we turn.
December is festive, fun, colorful, warm, traditional and giving. It gives us the opportunity to reconnect with friends, a chance to indulge on special ingredients, an excuse to get dressed up and a reason to be a little more giving than usual.
This past September my parents came to visit. I am so thankful my husband and I were able to spend almost two months with them. It was like being back home. As expected, most of the time we were in the kitchen cooking, baking, talking. My parents LOVE bread. They have it for breakfast and at tea time, every day. So that sent me into a “bread making kick.” Few things are as good as well-made, fresh bread—the initial crunch, then the softness of the inside. It’s even better when it’s warm and the smell lingers throughout the house.
Artisan bread is my favorite. It’s rustic and very forgiving. I do not own a bread-making machine and I had never made bread in my life until I discovered the 5-minute Artisan Bread. After that I was making bread every day and loving it!
Offering homemade bread is a warm, personal gesture, carrying the best sentiments of the season. Accompanying it with a jar of homemade warm apple compote makes the perfect gift! All you need is four ingredients, parchment paper and a dutch oven (recipe on back). Add fresh rosemary for a more savory flavor, fresh oregano for an Italian twist or even chocolate chips for some sweet fun! It takes almost no time to make but can be a wonderful gift for a party hostess or a neighbor. It tastes and looks good and don’t forget to package it thoughtfully.
But let’s face it, we all get busy and may not have time to make homemade bread for every occasion, but you can add a loaf of Breadfarm artisan bread to your next Klesick order. Make a big batch of apple compote (recipe on back) ahead of time, store in jars and refrigerate. Next time you are heading out to a Christmas party, wrap that pretty bread with parchment paper, grab a jar of apple compote and delight your friends with this tasty treat!
6.5 cups all-purpose flour
3 cups luke-warm water
1 tbs salt
1 tbs yeast
In a large bowl, stir together the flour, salt and yeast. Add the water and use a wood spoon to stir together until the mixture is thoroughly combined.
Cover dough with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 2 hours. Dough will bubble up and rise. After dough is ready, preheat oven to 500 F. Cut half of the dough and place onto a well-floured surface. With floured hands, form the dough into a ball.
Place on top of parchment paper and let rest for 45 minutes. While dough is resting, put your dutch oven into the preheated oven for 30 minutes. After the 30 minutes are up, carefully remove the dutch oven. Slice 1/4″ deep cuts into the surface of the dough. Carefully lift the dough and place, with paper and all into the preheated pot. Replace the lid and slip it back into the oven. After 15 minutes of baking, remove the lid. The dough only needs to bake in the steam for that amount of time. now it is time to add a lovely caramel color to the bread. Turn the heat down to 450°F and bake for another 15-20 minutes, depending on the size of the loaf. Once the loaf is nicely browned, carefully remove it from the pot with a spatula. Peel off the parchment and allow to cool on a cooling rack. Bread will be golden, crusty and delicious!
WARM APPLE COMPOTE
2-3 apples peeled and thinly sliced
Sauté apples in coconut oil until slightly brown, add a pinch of cinnamon and maple syrup. Let apples caramelize. Add a splash of apple cider for a more runny consistency. Enjoy on hot toast. Spread almond butter if you’d like and enjoy!
Recipe inspired by Feastingathome.com