I admit it, I'm lazy when it comes to packing a lunch. I think about it, mull it over all weekend and then conveniently forget Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and of course Friday. I spend probably close to $10 a day. Shameful I say.
However, yesterday's lunch at Druxy's at commerce Court might have solved my problem. I wanted a sandwich and didn't want to spend $10 at the Sandwich Box so I tried Druxy's (they have a new look - and free Wi Fi). So I ordered a sandwich with Hummus, Avocado, mango, sprouts and Swiss Cheese all on French Bread. As I watched the woman make my sandwich, try and cut a slice or two of bread a consistent thickness and I end up with a sandwich that 3 people could have lived off of for a month. Even the owner made a comment and I told him that's the worst sandwich I have ever seen. Bless him for only charging me $2.
The bread was tasteless, cheese was poor quality, mango was crunchy and the hummus was uninteresting. I think that was the last straw. I and everyone I know work hard for their money and I just want a decent lunch, put together or made by someone who actually cares.
I went home that night and made 4 cranberry French baguettes - 3 in the freezer and one in the oven. Total actual work: 40 minutes - total baking time: 30 minutes - total rising time: 2 hours. Now I have enough homemade bread for the month and it has flavour and is interesting!
I think it's time to stand up to mass produced food - after all food allows us to walk, talk, breathe and blog. Say no. If it's not good say something, take it back. Eventually we might change the way process food is cranked out of uncaring factories.
Here's my Cranberry French Baguette recipe, it makes 2 loaves. Everything is in weight because it will guarantee consistent loaves each time, it's more accurate then volume measurements:
425 g Water
7 g Instant Yeast (1 package)
750 g Bread Flour
12 g Salt
4 g Malt Syrup or honey
12 g Sugar
12 g Butter
Mix all dry ingredients and sift. Add remaining ingredients and knead 10 minutes. If needed add more flour to a wet dough or a little water to a dry dough (I had to add a little water). In the winter time the dough will be drier then during the summer humid months. Cover and let rise about 1.5 to 2 hours. In warmer weather the dough will rise faster then in the cooler winter months. In the winter, I put the dough by my furnace to rise.
When doubled in size, remove from bowl and knead for about 5 minutes. Divide into 2 equal parts. Roll out with rolling pin to about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Sprinkle with desired amount of dried cranberries or your favourite dried fruit and roll into a baguette.
To freeze: wrap in plastic and pop in freezer for a rainy day.
To use right away: cover baguette with a towel and let rise another 30 minutes.
To bake baguette: preheat oven to 400 F, put a bowl of water in with baking - bake for 10 minutes, remove bowl of water and continue baking for another 20 to 30 minutes.
To bake frozen loaf: remove from freezer and remove plastic wrap. Cover with towel on a cookie sheet and let thaw all day or over night - about 8-9 hours. Bake as outlined above.
Enjoy fresh bread - remember, practice makes perfect. Once you get the technique down, most likely after the first try there's no excuse to buy bread again.