Yes, I did do this month's Bread Baking Buddies challenge - Italian knots. No, I didn't use type 00 flour, and no, I didn't use lard. In fact, I used all-purpose flour and shortening. Please, please don't shoot me, because though I would have loved to find duck fat, that was a bit of a no-go in the central Wisconsin region that I am in currently.
Actually, the most fun part (to me) was trying to figure out the pictures of how to shape the knots. I tried a couple different interpretations, all of which generally turned out as the pictures showed - thank goodness breads are so forgiving! That is especially the case given how I scaled this recipe. I made a quarter of it, which led to using 1/4 g of instant yeast in the barm and 1 1/4 g of instant yeast in the final dough. Umm... yeah, so that became "a pinch" and "a couple pinches, maybe more like a shake" of yeast in each stage.
I thought I had screwed up when I saw the shaped knots proof though. Wow, this dough had some action going on! My rolls were nearly proofed by the time I had finished shaping them! Quickly whisking them into the oven wasn't really possible, since it wasn't on yet, but they seemed to survive.
They were particularly wonderful this past week, as I had them with dinner nearly every night. A couple of those nights, I had some lentil soup that I whipped up quickly after going to the gym - I put too many lentils in, so I've scaled it back a bit. The roll nicely soaked up the broth, and provided entertainment too - my favorite part was "un-knotting" the Italian knot!
Thank you to Ilva and the rest of the Bread Baking Babes for allowing me to bake along this month! As always, it was quite fun, and oh-so-worth it. Since I can't seem to permalink to Ilva's post, you can also find it on Natashya's site.
Vegetarian Lentil Soup
1 tsp olive oil
2 slices red onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup red bell pepper, chopped
1 Tbsp tomato paste
2 pinches cumin
1 pinch red pepper flakes
2 cups vegetable broth
3 Tbsp red lentils
1/2 cup frozen edamame
In a small pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Toss in the red onion, followed by the bell pepper, and saute until the onion is translucent and the red pepper is softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook an additional minute. Scoot everything to the edges of the pan, and add the tomato paste right into the center of the pan. Move it around there and let it heat up and caramelize a bit before adding the cumin and red pepper flakes. Toast the spices for a minute or two before bringing the vegetables back into the mix. Pour in the vegetable broth and bring to a simmer over medium to medium-high heat. Once it begins to simmer, add in the red lentils and frozen edamame. Cook for 5-8 minutes, or until red lentils are soft. Season with salt and pepper to taste.