Monday, December 27, 2010

Day 356: Ranch French Bread

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas holiday.  I know we did.  It was hectic, but full of friends, family, love and gratitude.  Sorry I didn't post yesterday like I'd planned, but I went to my Mom's to help clean up after the Christmas chaos.  There were 9 adults and 18 kids crammed into her house, and by the time the day was over it looked like a bomb had gone off.  So I went to help her get cleaned up and organized.  By the time we were done we were both completely spent! 

This recipe comes from a Taste of Home cookbook.  I served this bread with the hand rolled raviolis I made for Christmas Eve dinner.

Ranch French Bread
14" dutch oven

2 pkgs. active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1/2 cup sugar, divided
2 cups warm buttermilk
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
3 eggs
1-2 envelopes dry ranch salad dressing mix
2 tsp. salt
8-9 cups flour

In a mixing bowl, dissolve the yeast in warm water.  Add 1 tsp. sugar and let stand for 5 minutes.  Add the buttermilk, butter, eggs, ranch dressing mix, salt, 4 cups flour and remaining sugar.  Beat until smooth.  Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.  Turn onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes.  Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease the top.  Cover and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.

Punch the dough down. turn onto a lightly floured surface and divide into fourths.  Roll each portion into a 14 x 12 inch rectangle.  Roll up jelly roll style starting on the long end.  Pinch seams to seal and tuck ends under.  Place seam side down in a greased dutch oven.  Withe a sharp knife, cut 5 shallow slashes across the top of each loaf.  Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes.

Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.  Use 1 1/2 rings on top and 1 ring on the bottom.  Brush with melted butter.  Cool on wire racks.  Makes 4 loaves.

The Finished Product

I dropped my camera on Christmas eve and now its not working.  :(  I took it to see if it can be fixed so I'll add the pic soon.

The Review

This was surprisingly good.  The ranch flavor was really subtle but gave it a nice flavor.  The crumb was really soft.  We sliced it and topped it with Monterrey Jack cheese then laid the slices in the dutch oven until the cheese melted.  It went really well with the raviolis I made for Christmas.  Grade A.

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