Bon appétit French baguettes

Halloween greetings!

Happy Halloween! I hope you and your loved ones had a spooktacular and bootiful holiday.

Updates on life

It’s been a couple weeks since my last post. I was away visiting my dear friends on the mainland. I went to North Carolina, North Dakota, and Minnesota. It was a wonderful trip. I love traveling and experiencing life away from home. I’m so grateful for the time I had with my friends and that I was safe from COVID. Thank you, God, and to my guardian angels. I’ve selected some favorite pictures from my trip.

  • L top: Sunset near my hotel in Durham, NC.
  • L bottom: Beautiful day in downtown Durham.
  • R: Sidewalk in downtown Durham.
  • L: Cool chess board/pieces at Babb’s Coffee House in Fargo, ND.
  • R: Downtown Fargo.

Baking my own bread

This week, I baked French bread. I can smell the fresh aroma as I sit here typing this post. Mmm, it smells lovely! Baking this bread was a weekend’s work. I had to re-do my assignment twice. The first time, the loaves almost looked burnt. I describe it as badly suntanned, haha. Thankfully, the inside of the bread was fine. It was actually good. It was just very difficult to cut and bite into because it was so hard. Eesh! Thank goodness I didn’t break my teeth. Ha!

Yikes to the picture on the left, right? Gosh! I learned that we can’t always follow the recipe’s baking time. The recipe said 30 minutes but look at the outcome after 30 minutes. It was not good and unacceptable in my eyes to submit to my chef instructor.

The second time, I watched my oven like a hawk, setting timers every 10 minutes, as I peeked through the oven window. The color I was looking for was golden brown. After 25 minutes, I took the loaves out. It looked golden brown from the oven window. The loaves were so beautiful, soft, and chewy, with a bit of crispiness from the crust. I was so pleased and happy. Yay to baking bread from scratch!

Recipe and culinary equipment for the French bread:

Here is the very simple recipe for this time-consuming process. Make sure you set a lot of time aside to make this.

  • 375g bread flour
  • 262.5g water (may need to use less to prevent the dough from getting really sticky)
  • 9g active dry yeast
  • 7.5g Kosher salt
  • Food scale
  • Measuring bowls for ingredients
  • Mixing bowl
  • Plastic scraper
  • Baking sheet
  • Parchment paper
  • Rubber spatula
  • Timer
  • Plastic wrap
  • Big cutting board (for kneading) or counterspace

Production steps:

The production steps to making this fresh and comforting bread:

  1. Sanitize kitchen (sink, countertops, stovetop/oven, cupboard handles, phone, computer).
  2. Scale ingredients.
  3. Mise en place ingredients.
  4. Combine all ingredients into a bowl and mix with a rubber spatula until the dough forms and it is fully mixed.
  5. Cover with plastic wrap and rest for one hour.
  6. Release dough from the bowl with a scraper.
  7. Stretch the dough into a rectangle and fold into thirds (add flour onto the bench (counterspace) if dough is sticky).
  8. Round dough into a ball and put it back into the bowl.
  9. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
  10. Weigh dough and divide into 250g.
  11. Shape the weighted dough into a ball and bench for 5-7 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap.
  12. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  13. Shape dough into a baguette by shaping dough into a rectangle, folding it into thirds, and pressing the seams with the heel of your palm.
  14. Roll the dough with your hands (spreaded fingers) into 12-17” baguette with tapered (narrowed) ends.
  15. Transfer to a lined baking sheet.
  16. Proof (rest) shaped dough, covered in plastic wrap until it doubles in size.
  17. Preheat the oven to 450ºF.
  18. Slash proofed dough through outer skin in an angled cut, covering the length of the loaf.
  19. Bake until the crust is golden brown.
  20. Cool on a rack for at least one hour.
  21. Cut the baguette and serve.

Annual #thankfulchallenge

In 2018, I started a #thankfulchallenge, where I list 30 things I’m grateful for during the month of November. Please visit my Facebook and Instagram each day to see what I’m thankful for. I’ll be listing the recap in my blog posts each Sunday in November. I’m excited! Thanksgiving is coming sooner than we know it! Let the holidays begin!

Cheers!

FS x

Eighteen of 20 Things 2020 Has Taught and Reminded Me + Strawberry/Banana Non-Dairy Ice Cream Pie

Let the New Year festivities begin! We’re nearing the end of the top 20 lessons the year has bestowed upon me. It’s been wonderful sharing this each day with you all.

18. The importance of gratitude, and both positive and negative reflection.

Gratitude is everything to me. There’s so much to be grateful for, even for the things we often overlook and take for granted, like: access to food, shelter, transportation, clean water, education, and work. It’s a daily reminder and practice that I exercise thankfulness and gratitude in all areas of my life. It’s what keeps me going.

I want to extend my thanks to all of you supporters who like and read my posts here and on my social media platforms. I am forever grateful and am so appreciative. I want to continue providing inspiration, fun facts, and sharing my love for food.

It’s been ingrained in my brain to focus on the positive. Yet, our minds tend to dwell on the negative. It’s seems easier to think adversely about something. I’ve heard it said that people can quickly name pessimistic qualities about themselves compared to confident remarks. Nonetheless, I think negative reflection is just as important as pondering on the positive.

This year, I welcomed both the positive and negative views that came to mind. I allowed time to process the negative thinking and ponder about how to move forward with the thoughts. We’re all given choices in life. It’s what we do with them and how we act upon them that matters in the end. I try my best not to let pessimistic thoughts consume me. The mind can be very powerful. Thus, I try to focus on optimistic thinking. Hope, encouragement, happiness, and cheerfulness always triumphs.

I love making non-dairy ice cream no-bake pies. They’re simple and quick, and oh-so-good! Earlier this year, I made a strawberry/banana non-dairy ice cream pie. It was really refreshing! Strawberries and bananas are my ultimate favorite fruits.

Ingredients:

  • Baked pie crust of your choice- I used graham.
  • Non-dairy ice cream of your choice- I used strawberry/banana flavor, made with bananas. Yum!
  • Heavy whipping cream (to make my own whipped cream) or cool whip
  • (Optional) Fresh fruits of your choice- I used strawberries and bananas to match the ice cream flavor.

Happy evening!

FS x