Did you have a good weekend? Do anything fun? Accomplish anything?
I hope you did. Or not, if you were in a sit-on-the-couch-and-do-nothing kind of state. They're both cool with me.
I had, what still feels like, a perfect weekend. Despite having to work Saturday morning (I know, get over it by now: I'll move on eventually), this weekend was full of relaxation, baking, entertainment, productivity, and activity. Details next:
Relaxation: Massage, at a bargain price, with the man, Saturday afternoon. Additionally, plenty of couch-sitting/movie-watching/snuggle time after our busy days.
Baking: Holy bananza, did I bake! I was a bit too ambitious at Costco last week (this is what happens when I go ALONE. Note to self: always take chaperone), and came home with pounds and pounds of berries. I think along the lines of 8 lbs strawberries, 2 lbs raspberries, and 4 lbs blueberries. At least. I had to use up what we hadn't eaten straight from the box, and had some things on my list I'd been meaning to bake. Luckily, it all worked well! Yahoo!
Entertainment: I suppose this was already covered in relaxation, but I sure do enjoy spending Sunday evenings curled on the couch watching something with the man. We (I) bought a TV for the first time EVER a few weeks ago, so watching TV is an entirely new experience now. Granted, we don't have cable (and won't, except for during the Tour and the Olympics), but we hook our computers up and it works perfectly!
Productivity: We did a lot of yard work! Our raised beds are ready for dirt (delivering today!!), tomatoes are planted out front (after extensive weeding and lawn-mowing), flowers are planted out front, and herbs have been moved from pots in the greenhouse to planters out back. Woohoo! Also, cleaned (some of) the inside of the house. Feeling like an adult. Look out!
Activity: I suppose the entire week (month? year?) has been pretty active, but we had a fabulous ride yesterday morning. We had perfect weather (dry, and not to hot!), rode with a friend for a while, did some fast riding, some slow riding, some riding without hands, and laughed almost the entire time. My cheeks are sore from it, and I'm not talking about my buns!
Onto the man bread. This bread is sweet (beer), salty (bacon), cheesy (duh), and de-freaking-licious. This is the kind of bread you make for toast and eggs, and you don't even have to worry about making bacon and slicing cheese. It's already there! Nevermind the beer before noon thing — it's just for flavor. And I won't tell anyone.
Inspired by all things delicious
1 cup (8 ounces) of warm beer* (between 110 and 115 degrees F)
2 ¼ teaspoons active dry yeast
4 ounces unsalted butter, melted
3 ¼ cups bread flour, plus more for kneading
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
4 pieces of bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
a few big pinches of coarse ground black pepper
*I used a malty amber, which gave the bread a nice sweetness.
Combine warm beer and yeast in a bowl to proof for 5-10 minutes.
In a separate bowl, combine melted butter and chives. Add to proofed yeast, along with the bread flour. Mix until dough is barely formed. Add the crumbled bacon, cheese, and pepper. Knead until smooth and elastic – 5 to 10 minutes. Place in an oiled bowl, cover, and let rise until doubled in size — 1 hour.
Punch down dough and shape into a round loaf. Place on a parchment-lined cookie sheet, cover, and let rise again until doubled in size – 45 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400 F. When dough is ready, brush gently with olive oil. Bake for 22-28 minutes, until top is golden and loaf sounds hollow when you knock on it.