Homemade French Bread + Avocado Goat Cheese Appetizer

What’s better than fresh-baked bread? The smell instantly makes your stomach growl. The taste is so fresh. Texture is light and soft. mmmm

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First, we’re going to make this herbed French bread ^^

Then, I’ll walk you through turning it into the perfect at-home happy hour appetizer with goat cheese, avocado, and pistachios:

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The bread!

Ingredients:

1 packet active dry yeast
1 cup warm water (I take it out of the faucet– as hot as it gets
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 cups bread flour
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried rosemary
2 tablespoons olive oil
cornmeal
1 egg white

Directions:

  1. Stir together the warm water with the tablespoon of sugar. Sprinkle on the yeast and let it sit for 5-10 minutes. The yeast should bubble and expand. That’s how you know it’s active and working. (If it doesn’t, that probably means your yeast of dead. Repeat with new water, sugar, and yeast until you get the desired bubbling result. Usually, as long as you have non-expired yeast, you should be O.K.)
  2.  In the bowl of a standmixer, combine 1 cup of each flour, the salt, and the herbs. Whisk together. Then put on the dough hook attachment to the mixer. Add in the water yeast mixture and the oil. Put the mixer to low speed for about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl with a spatula as needed. Add in 1/2 cup of each flour. Incorporate on low speed. Then, switch to medium speed and allow the dough hook to knead the bread for about 8 minutes. If the dough is sticky, add all purpose flour 1 tablespoon at a time until it’s not too sticky. If the dough is dry, add 1 tablespoon of water until you have a soft, not-sticky and not-dry dough ball.
  3. Grease a large bowl with butter/oil. I spray it with olive oil cooking spray. Put in the dough ball. Flip it over (so that the whole ball gets covered in oil). Cover the bowl with a dishtowel and place the bowl in a warm draft-free place. I put mine in the oven (but keep the oven off). Allow the dough to rise for about 2 hours. It should have doubled in size. It’s ready when the indentation made from poking the dough stays– it doesnt spring back.
  4. Punch the dough down in the middle (gently– a gently love-punch). Take the ball and divide it in half. On a lightly surface, roll out the dough into a 15×8 inch rectangle. It doesn’t have to be perfect, just aim for that size and shape. From the long end, tightly roll up the dough. Use a little water to seal the edge of the dough– pinch it together. Also fold the edges under and use water to pinch closed until smooth. Repeat with the other ball of dough.
  5. Grease a baking sheet and sprinkle it with cornmeal. Place the dough logs onto the sheet. Slice a shallow mark into the dough about every two inches. Use your fingers to brush cold water onto the top of the bread logs.0324161433
  6.  Allow the bread to rise uncovered for about an hour. The loaves will get puffier and roughly double in size.
  7. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Mix one egg white with 1 tablespoon of water. Brush the dough loaves with the egg wash (this will make it a nice golden brown color when it bakes).
  8. Bake in the preheated oven for about 20-25 minutes, until the bread is golden and it sounds hollow when tapped. 0324161628
  9.  Look at that golden bread!! They may not look perfect, but, they tasty pretty darn good! So fluffy…0324161629a
  10. Voila!! You have fresh baked bread! Use however you desire!

The first thing I did was make these–

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That’s the homemade bread (toasted) goat cheese, sliced avocado, toasted pistachios, and sea salt. Yum. What you need:

Ingredients:
1 loaf of your freshly made bread
6-8 oz goat cheese
1 avocado
1/2 cup pistachios, shelled
sea salt

Directions:

  1. Let’s toast the pistachios. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Lay the pistachios out onto a baking sheet. Bake them for about 5-10 minutes until fragrant. Peel the skins off of the pistachios (you can try to do this before baking, but it’s much easier to do after you’ve baked them).
  2. Slice the avocado.
  3. Slice your loaf of bread into about 1/2 inch thick slices. Toast the bread. If you have a toaster oven, use it! I do not, so I used my oven. Set it to broil and toast for about 3 minutes, or until desired toastiness level.
  4. Remove the toasted bread from the oven. Spread each piece generously with goat cheese. Lay on a few slices of avocado. Sprinkle on pistachios. And finally, sprinkle a pinch of sea salt on each one.
  5. Each & enjoy!! 0324162000a

Simple and delicious!! The savory herbed bread combines with the tang of the goat cheese, creaminess of the avocado, and nuttiness of the pistachios to make a delicious flavor explosion in your mouth.

Pairs perfectly with a glass of white wine.

Happy happy-houring!

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