Wednesday, July 28, 2010


I was going to run to the store yesterday to pick up a few things I'd forgotten to get last week. I don't know what my problem is lately, but I'll just get back from superstore and realize I've forgotten to get some major items I desperately need. I always end up with another whole list and I've only just returned. Anyway, since I was going, I wanted to get some french bread. I've been meaning to make this greek panzanella forever. I'd never heard of panzanella before, but I kept seeing it popping up all over the internet, so I just had to try it. So rather than use the end pieces of my sandwich bread, I figured I'd be able to find some day old french bread on the clearance cart which would probably work better for the recipe, anyway. Then, through the mystery of life (and lazyness), the time crept towards 9:30 and I found myself making excuses not to go.

I can make do. I can figure this out! I've been screwing with my shopping schedule for the last month, I should get back on track! It's good to completely clean everything out and just work with what I have! Yeah! So I decided to make my own french bread. It should be cool by the time I need it! I need to make granola anyway so it's not like I'm turning the oven on for one thing!

Look at the recipe's picture. Now look back at mine. Now look at the recipe's picture again. Yeah. Mine looks like some kindergarten production.

I've never made french bread before. All fancy and long and sliced and egg washed. I don't bother with frou frou things like this. But this recipe looked so easy plus it made two loaves and it looked super good. Obviously, no recipe is complete without me screwing some things up. My water was too hot, I put them too close together for their final rise, I used a combination of whole wheat and all purpose flour (and I didn't use the full amount), and I totally forgot about the egg wash until the very last minute when I just kinda flung some on there (evidenced by the tiny burnt egg spots all over my pan). I also left them sitting on the pan after they came out of the oven, so instead of crisping up, they steamed themselves. Really smart when you're actually trying to get a crispy crust. Despite all that, this bread turned out amazingly well which confirms my theory that it's pretty hard to screw up bread. I'm definitely going to make this again, but I'm going to experiment with less yeast. I think that's the only thing I kept questioning.

So anyway, back to the panzanella. I almost screwed this up, too. I wanted to cut the recipe in half (there isn't 6 of us to feed around here), but I only cut some things in half and left others -- like the olive oil in the vinaigrette. That's kind of an important detail, you know? I stopped halfway through pouring it into my measuring cup and thought, really? Half a cup? The original recipe was a whole cup? That seems like too much. And it was. Cuz I hadn't halved it at all. Then I totally didn't read about toasting the bread cubes. I honestly thought they went in raw. Thank goodness I knew it had to marinate for 30 minutes so I had only gotten everything ready to throw together right at the perfect time. I just happened to casually reread the recipe again (or for the first time, apparently) just to make sure I hadn't forgotten anything.

New rule, print all recipes out even when I'm thinking like, meh I don't have that, I wouldn't use that, I barely have any cucumber left...I'll just kinda fudge everything and write out what I need for the dressing and how much bread on this tiny piece of scrap paper that's already had three other recipes scribbled on it...just have to write around and in between these empty spaces...and yup, that's good enough.

Anyway. It was so. delicious. The only thing I would have changed would be to not reduce it by half. We both loved it and wished there was just a tiny bit more. I think this might be something I'll make almost regularly for our meatless days (with slightly less feta. Recipe at full amount, feta at half. Definitely).


Betty said...

Gosh, you are a brave girl! Your own french bread? And I hadn't either heard from greek panzanella, but I am quite sure I will be trying it. Well, I'll have to add it to my to-cook list: your macarons and granola are already in it! (it keeps growing, I'll have to put a remedy
to that). Although I am determined this time, panzanella is now top of the list. I'll tell you how it goes.

Idle Wife said...

You have to try the panzanella. It's so good, I want to eat it every day! I can't wait to hear how you like it!

Betty said...

DELICIOUS! I used what I had in my fridge (there are always tomatoes, olives, egg, and onion) and some bred from the day before. Oh, my! This was an adaptation too, obviously, but it was great. I think August will see me cooking panzanella quite often :) Thanks for posting this yummy discovery.