Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Easiest Bread EVER

Last fall I started making baguettes from scratch. Pre-pregnancy, you know. Since I've been feeling consistently better these past couple of weeks, I wanted to try my hand at this easy bread recipe I found online (my notes are in bold).
No Knead, Dutch Oven Bread
1/4 tsp active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting.
You may use white, whole wheat or a combination of the two.
1 1/2 tsp salt
Cornmeal or wheat bran for dusting
In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in water. Add the flour and salt, stirring until blended. The dough will be shaggy and sticky. Seriously sticky.
Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let the dough rest at least 8 hours, preferably 12 to 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.
The dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles.

Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it. Sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let it rest for about 15 minutes.
Using just enough flour to keep the dough from sticking to the work surface or to your fingers, gently shape it into a ball. Generously coat a clean dish towel with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal. Put the seam side of the dough down on the towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal. Cover with another towel and let rise for about 1 to 2 hours. Or three, which I should have done because my kitchen is c-c-c-cold. I was afraid it was never going to rise!!
When it’s ready, the dough will have doubled in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.

At least 20 minutes before the dough is ready, heat oven to 475 degrees. Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic--I used my stainless stock pot) in the oven as it heats.
When the dough is ready, carefully remove the pot from the oven and lift off the lid. Slide your hand under the towel and turn the dough over into the pot, seam side up. The dough will lose its shape a bit in the process, but that’s OK. Give the pan a firm shake or two to help distribute the dough evenly, but don’t worry if it’s not perfect; it will straighten out as it bakes. I sprinkled the top with course salt cuz it's yummy.

Cover and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the lid and bake another 15 to 20 minutes, until the loaf is beautifully browned. Remove the bread from the Dutch oven and let it cool on a rack for at least 1 hour before slicing. I opened the lid and took the above picture. I couldn't believe how rustic and pretty it was for the little amount of time and fuss involved. We couldn't wait and dinner was ready, so we dove right into it and it was delish.
Easy no-fuss, no-knead, through-it-together-and-forget-about-it-for-a-day bread.
Let me know if you try it!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Time Out

For a diaper change. Brynne got everything out by herself and proceeded to change the baby. Now if we could only get it to stop crying...

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

As you can see, we had a windstorm the other night! One of our full-grown 50+ feet fir trees broke half way down due to rot (unknown to us!) and landed not 2 ft away from our neighbors house!! Praise the Lord that it didn't smash anything other than the fence. Jon (with lots of help from friends cleared the entire thing in one day. Poor guy, it was the fence he just built a little over a year ago .

Monday, January 19, 2009

Hello Old Friends

Thanks for the wonderful comments via blogger or facebook telling me to get my booty in gear and get moving on the blog again--it is good to be loved and missed.
I have now (as of five minutes ago) upgraded our photo storage on blogger so we can (for a slight fee) keep in contact with all you lovely people. . . and I promise I won't pass that fee on to you (yet!).
The only catch is that it takes up to 24 hours to process the order and so we are left without picture posting capabilities until tomorrow. . . trust me, I tried already. But check back soon to hear all about how our crazy (you think I'm joking) January is going: Why Jon had to spend his whole day off (with a lot of help from friends) in the backyard today, how that check-up on that choo-choo in my tummy went, and why I listed my menu on the sidebar as "The Two Mama's Menu". Oh, and to see pictures of the kids, of course!! (We know who you really want to see, Grandmas!)
Hope to see you all (or for you to see us) soon.