OK folks, time for another recipe. I have a feeling that this is one everyone wants. Who doesn’t enjoy the bread and butter at Yocona in Exile (A.K.A. Yocona River Inn)? Personally, I could top just about everything in my kitchen with that butter–including my oven mitts!
The recipe for the bread and the butter is below, so you may want to print them out. Both are courtesy of Yocona owner Paige Osborn.
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Yocona French Bread (©2000, Paige Osborn)
- 1/3 cup warm water (below 110°)
- pinch sugar
- 1 packet (about 2 teaspoons) yeast, dry active
- 1 pound (about 3 ½ cups) flour, unbleached
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 tablespoons wheat bran, or wheat flour
- 1 cup cold water
In a cup or small bowl, sprinkle the sugar into the warm water. Sprinkle the yeast over the surface of the water, set aside. In a large bowl, combine the flour, salt and bran. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Once the yeast has begun to foam, add it and the cold water to the well. Begin stirring to moisten the dry ingredients. Once the water has been absorbed and most of the flour is part of the dough, cover the bowl and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Uncover bowl and use your hands to mix, using a gentle kneading motion to uniformly mix the dough. Cover and allow to rest another 5-10 minutes. Turn the dough onto your work surface. Knead for 2 to 3 minutes, just to insure that the dough is well mixed and the moisture is evenly distributed. Gather the dough into a firm ball.
Place the dough in a clean container or bowl that is at least twice its size. Try to cover it so that it is airtight; use plastic wrap if the container does not have a lid.
Allow to rise in a warm spot, 75° is ideal. After the dough has risen to double (1-2 hours), remove the cover and deflate the dough. Do this by gently pushing your fists into the dough, then working it briefly to form a tight ball. Return to container, cover, and let rise again. When dough has risen to twice its size, remove it to your work surface. Deflate the dough with your hands, flattening it as you do this. Cut the dough into equal halves, and work each half gently. You want to work out any remaining air, while tightening and shaping the dough. Let the two pieces of dough rest, covered, for 10 minutes. Remove one piece of dough, and place on the work surface in front of you. Shape the baguettes, pinching the seams firmly. Place the shaped baguettes on a baking sheet sprinkled lightly with cornmeal. If you have a stone in your oven, you can proof the baguettes on a kitchen towel sprinkled with cornmeal. Cover with a towel and let rise. Preheat oven to 450°.
The loaves are ready to bake when they are springy to the touch, and the impression of your finger remains on the surface of the dough. This should take 30—45 minutes, perhaps more if your kitchen is cold. Slash the loaves with a blade or serrated knife at a slight angle. The slashes should be several inches long, and should not cross each other. Using your fingertips, sprinkle the dough and pan lightly with water. Place the pan in the top 1/3 of the oven. Check the bread after 20 minutes, rotating pan 180°. Check the bread again after 10 more minutes. At this point, check frequently. The loaves are done when they are a rich golden brown, and sound hollow when tapped. Remove to a rack to cool, or eat immediately. To rewarm a baguette: heat oven to 400°. Using your fingertips, sprinkle the loaf lightly with water. Bake on a pan, or directly on the oven rack or stone. Bread should be crispy and warm in 8-10 minutes.
Yocona Herbed Butter
- 1 pound butter, unsalted, at room temperature
- 1—1 ½ teaspoons salt (omit if using salted butter)
- ¼ cup chives, dried
- 1—2 teaspoons black pepper
- ½ cup heavy cream
In the bowl of a mixer, combine the softened butter, salt, chives and black pepper. Using the paddle attachment, mix the butter on low speed for several minutes. Once the butter is very creamy, stop the mixer and put on the whisk attachment. Whisk the butter on low speed for a minute, then gradually increase the speed. Allow the butter to whip for a couple of minutes. Slow down the mixer, and gradually pour in the heavy cream. Once the cream is incorporated, increase the speed of the mixer and whisk for several more minutes.
Transfer to a container and refrigerate.
- If you don’t have a standing mixer, a hand mixer will work. Just mix long enough to lighten the texture.
- The butter can be stored in the refrigerator for a week or more—basically, through the date on your heavy cream carton.
- You can use fresh chives, but after the butter sits overnight, the chives will “water out”.
- The butter can be frozen.