Another Bread Baking Weekend: Home Made French Bread and Cinnamon Rolls

I was supposed to go fishing down in south Louisiana this past weekend with Hubby.  But at some point during Thursday night a big thunderstorm hit and it was still raining the following morning.  When I got him to check the forecast for the rest of the day it reported there would still be a forty percent chance of rain.  He was planning on taking the boat out and let's face it, I'm pretty much a fair weather fisherman so...I decided not to go.  Now, the question was:   What would I do with my time that I had planned for fishing?  And then it hit me...I would just bake some more bread!

As I pulled out some new recipes I had found and began to get the ingredients out to make these breads, it finally hit me:  I like baking much more than I like cooking.  Let me explain.  I like baking because there is an exact process.  One follows a recipe exactly as it is written and most times the end product turns out perfect.  Cooking requires skills I do not possess.  It requires one to know what ingredients to put together that will taste good, what temperatures to cook food on and how long to cook it.  Yep...I'm a Baker not a Cook.  And, of course, there is the working of the dough.  I love to put my hands in the dough and work it; for me it is just as relaxing as sitting with a new ball of yarn and my knitting needles.

I knew that it was Father's Day Weekend so I wanted to prepare some bread items I knew everyone would enjoy; the first would be Cinnamon Rolls.  I have made The Pioneer Woman's Cinnamon Rolls (recipe) before and they are delicious but more of a gooey cinnamon roll.  I wanted to try this new recipe that appeared to be a more traditional one.  Of course, with yeast in the recipe, you have to go through a couple of rises but they were not very long ones and while the rolls were rising, I could start on my French Bread...





Now, we LOVE French Bread around here.   And I have tried to make it before without much success.  Mine always turned out dense and I wanted a full rise, light, soft French Bread.  When I happened upon this site, I felt like it was going to be perfect since the woman writing it had similar problems and had tried it again, using some pointers readers had given her and she said it turned out "perfect"!  Here is the recipe I used.  And here is how that French Bread turned out...
And YES!  I was absolutely "perfect".  It was nice and brown on the outside, light and fluffy on the inside and while it was hot right out of the oven, we couldn't resist (Hubs was back home with a load of fresh fish by the time the baking began) ...we had to slice a piece and throw a little butter on it to give it a taste.  OH SO GOOD!  And this recipe was not difficult at all.  If you can follow directions, you too can make this bread.

In the meantime, my rolls had finished rising so I baked and iced them...
Hubby couldn't resist also tasting a couple of these when they popped out of the oven!  They definitely tasted differently than The Pioneer Woman's Cinnamon Rolls; more traditional.  And the next day when they were cold, when placed in the microwave for about 15 seconds they were just as hot and delicious as the night before.

And since I was already baking, I knew I would have about ten people over for Sunday lunch so it would probably be best to go ahead and make some sort of meal that could easily be heated up and put on the table quickly after church.  I settled on lasagna...
I used ground turkey for this lasagna, browned it and then cooked up some marinara sauce.  Layered with ricotta and mozzarella cheeses and lasagna noodles this was the perfect Sunday lunch for a large crowd.  I also put some green beans on to cook and then made some deviled eggs...






At the end of the day I finally sat down to relax, knowing that all my goodies had been made and put away for what I knew would be the "perfect" Father's Day meal!













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