Monday, December 1, 2008

French Bread...just like Panera!

We served another lunch to teachers--this time just to 30, because we were delivering our "Turkey Treats" two days later, which consisted of a TON of baking!

For this lunch, we started with homemade chicken stock (which was hilarious to watch the kids figure out how to cut a chicken and boil the necks and backs of a chicken!) to make chicken noodle soup. We were not brave enough (nor had enough time!) to make our own noodles, but our chicken noodle soup was great. From making the stock, we had some extra veggies, so we decided to puree them and then add them to the soup to thicken it up and add some extra veggies without any chunks. I really liked that idea--more flavor, more veggies, and nobody knows they're eating more veggies.

This french bread is awesome. It is a lot like Panera; kind of a crunch to the outside, which is mainly because of the egg wash--don't skip that step. Most of the people that had it first asked if we ordered it from Panera, then asked for the recipe, which is extremely easy! Then, you could make sandwiches, serve it on the side (great bread for sopping up extra broth in, say, chicken noodle soup???), or make an awesome French toast out of it!

The menu of our lunch was: Old Fashioned Chicken Noodle Soup, french bread, and apple crisp. Add a soda to that and the whole meal was only $6 to order--not bad, huh?:) I was proud of my kids again!

French Bread

Yield: 30 servings
5 2/3 c all purpose flour
2 ½ packages active dry yeast
2 t salt
2 c warm water (110 F)
1 T cornmeal
1 egg white
1 T water
1 T butter
1 t sugar

1. In a small bowl, combine yeast, 1 c of the warm water, and sugar. Let sit until instructed to use.
2. In a large bowl, combine 2 c flour and salt. Stir in the other 1 c warm water. Combine.
3. Add yeast mixture to this and beat until well blended using a stand mixer with a dough attachment. Using a wooden spoon, stir in as much of the remaining flour as you can.
4. On a lightly floured surface, knead in enough flour to make a stiff dough that is smooth and elastic. Knead for about 8-10 minutes total. Shape into a ball. Place dough in a greased bowl, and turn once. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled.
5. Punch dough down and divide in half. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Cover, and let rest for 10 minutes. Roll each half into a large rectangle. Roll up, starting from a long side. Moisten edge with water and seal. Taper ends.
6. Grease a large baking sheet. Sprinkle with cornmeal. Place loaves, seam side down, on the prepared baking sheet. Lightly beat the egg white with 1 T water and brush on. With a very sharp knife, make 3 or 4 diagonal cuts about ¼ inch deep across top of each loaf. Cover with a damp cloth. Let rise until nearly doubled, 35 to 40 minutes.
7. Bake in a preheated oven 375 F for 20 minutes. Brush again with egg white mixture. Bake for an additional 15 to 20 minutes, or until bread tests done. If necessary, cover loosely with foil to prevent over browning. Remove from baking sheet and cool on wire rack.

Adapted from
Apple Crisp

Yield: 12 (1/2 c) servings
Fruit Mixture:
6 c sliced apples, peeled if desired
1 T cinnamon
1 T water
1 t lemon juice

1 c rolled oats
¾ c all purpose flour
¾ c firmly packed brown sugar
½ c margarine or butter, softened
1 t nutmeg
½ t ground cloves

1. Heat oven to 375 F. Place fruit in ungreased 2-quart casserole. Sprinkle with cinnamon, water, and lemon juice.
2. In large bowl, combine all topping ingredients. With pastry blender or fork, mix until crumbly. Sprinkle evenly over fruit.
3. Bake at 375 F for 25 to 35 minutes or until fruit is tender and topping is golden brown.

Adapted from Pillsbury
Chicken Broth
(just in case you have never made it!)

Yield: 64 oz.
2 lb. chicken backs, necks, and/or wings
2 quarts (8 cups) water
2 small onions, quartered
1 c coarsely chopped celery with leaves
½ c sliced carrots
2 t chopped fresh parsley
1 t salt
¼ t pepper
1 bay leaf
½ t salt

1. In Dutch oven, combine chicken and water. Bring to a boil. Skim and discard residue that rises to surface. Reduce heat; partially cover and simmer 30 minutes.
2. Add all remaining ingredients except ½ t salt; partially cover and simmer an additional 4 hours.
3. Remove bones from broth. Cool slightly. Remove meat from bones; refrigerate or freeze for a later use.
4. Strain broth; stir in ½ t salt. Cool uncovered in refrigerator. Skim fat from broth; discard. Cover; store in refrigerator up to 3 days or freeze up to 6 months.
Chicken Noodle Soup
(slightly different from the "norm", so I had to include it!)

Yield: 5 (1 ½ c) servings

1 ½ c cubed cooked chicken
1 c sliced carrots
½ c chopped celery
½ c chopped onion
1 parsnip, peeled, cubed (3/4 c)
2 t chopped fresh parsley
1 t chopped fresh dill
58 oz. chicken broth
2 c uncooked wide egg noodles

1. In Dutch oven or large saucepan, combine all ingredients except noodles; mix well. Cook over medium heat 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally.
2. Add egg noodles; cook 15 minutes or until of desired doneness.

From Pillsbury