If you don’t deal with us on a regular basis, there’s something you probably don’t know….we’re carb-whores.
We have yet to meet a pasta or a potato that we didn’t like – but our biggest downfall without any shadow of a doubt – is bread.
It doesn’t matter if it’s a mass-produced sliced white, or a hearty mixed-grain roll from a bespoke back-alley bakery – we’re ready, willing and able to tuck in and scoff it down.
Of course with this whole bread-whore proclivity, comes the obvious problem of our waste-lines.
And no, we don’t mean waist-lines, ours have gone waaaaay past waist, and moved right on to waste!
There is a definite excess going on around the midriff, and an obvious ‘waste’.
Actually – to be honest – there really isn’t much of a midriff to speak of, any more…
Now whilst we can hear you collectively breathing a sigh of relief that the waste we’re discussing, doesn’t mean you’re going to be exposed to a rousingly raucous tale of our bowel habits, or our yet-to-be-installed septic system – we also happen to have it on very good authority, that many would be excited to hear about a septic system!
Actually – so would we, but that just ain’t gonna happen quite yet…
Anyways – back to the business of bread!
It’s been well over twenty years since bread was last made in our home, with one of the obvious reasons being, that we love it soooo bloody much we’d scoff the lot in an insanely short amount of time.
There are few things scrummier than hot freshly baked bread.
And the smell….ohhhhh the smell…. ~swooon~
And whilst it’s wonderfully cheap to make, and we love to eat food that we’ve grown or made or cooked – the other reason we haven’t done home-baked bread in over two decades, is that it’s really quite time consuming.
There’s the measuring, the mixing, then the kneading, then the rising, then re-kneading, then a second rise, and then finally the cooking.
The process is a good couple of hours if you want decent results.
But earlier this week – the drought was broken, and bread was baked.
And yes – ohhhh dear gawd it smelled divine!
And yep, it took hours, and yep – it got a bit munted and looked a bit worse for wear from getting a lil stuck in the tin.
And YEP – despite the fact that by the time it was finallllly ready we’d already eaten our evening meal, we scoffed a decent taste-test of that baby!!
We called it dessert 🙂
Hot bread, melted butter, strawberry jam….
C’mon – even if you’re gluten intolerant, or choosing a gluten or carb free meal plan – you’re wishing you’d been here for a piece!!
Thankfully – we managed to be very restrained – and only had a few chunks each.
But hot-damn it was gooood!!!
And this morning, it made the most delicious light crisp toast, and there’s even some left over for another round of toast for us.
Now – this of course begs the question to be asked: will we continue to make bread…?
Well, there are still those two big-ass negatives if you recall.
1: we’re carb-whores without willpower and
2: it takes bloody ages
BUT – with some fast-talking and super-intelligent rationalisations – we think we can probably come up with a big fat YES!
1: if we only have one slice each for dessert, then freeze the rest of it in 4slice lots for toast – we wouldn’t binge eat it.
and 2: if we invested in a bread-maker, it would be a dual investment of not only time-management, but also in financial gain, as it would easily pay for itself in less than 25 loaves.
AND – 3: because we’d freeze it, there wouldn’t be the wastage that we currently have with our shop bought bread, so we’d be saving even more money!
WIN WIN WIN!! :)))
Yep invest in a bread maker. Our oldest and dearest home appliance.
I am still drooling after reading about the hot melted butter and strawberry jam. Mmmmmmm.
We can buy you a bread maker for christmas?!?!!
Bernie (Bunny) Melbourne
where’s the marmalade 😛
Hahahahah, yep there’s always a line up for the crust of fresh hot bread at our house. Definetly invest in a bread maker.
Very nice bit of crumb.. and mental shenanigans
Stirring up trouble:
Bread – No Knead
* 3 cups lukewarm water
* 6 1/2 to 7 1/2 cups unbleached All-Purpose Flour
* 1 tablespoon salt
* 1 1/2 tablespoons instant or active dry yeast
Combine all of the ingredients in a large mixing bowl, or a large (6-quart), food-safe plastic bucket.
Mix and stir everything together to make a very sticky, rough dough. If you have a stand mixer, beat at medium speed with the beater blade for 30 to 60 seconds. If you don’t have a mixer, just stir-stir-stir with a big spoon or dough whisk until everything is combined.
Next, you’re going to let the dough rise. There’s no need to grease the bowl, though you can if you like; it makes it a bit easier to get the dough out when it’s time to bake bread.
Cover the bowl, and let the dough rise at room temperature for 2 hours. Then refrigerate it for at least 2 hours, or for up to about 7 days. (If you’re pressed for time, skip the room-temperature rise, and stick it right into the fridge). The longer you keep it in the fridge, the tangier it’ll get; if you chill it for 7 days, it will taste like sourdough. Over the course of the first day or so, it’ll rise, then fall.
When you’re ready to make bread, sprinkle the top of the dough with flour; this will make it easier to grab a hunk, about the size of a softball or a large grapefruit.
Plop the sticky dough onto a floured work surface, and round it into a ball, or a longer log.
Place the loaf on a piece of parchment (if you’re going to use a baking stone); or onto a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Sift a light coating of flour over the top; this will help keep the bread moist as it rests before baking.
Let the loaf warm to room temperature and rise; this should take about 60 minutes (or longer, up to a couple of hours, if your house is cool). It won’t appear to rise upwards that much; rather, it’ll seem to settle and expand. Preheat your oven to 450°F while the loaf rests. If you’re using a baking stone, position it on a middle rack while the oven preheats. Place a shallow metal or cast iron pan (not glass, Pyrex, or ceramic) on the lowest oven rack, and have 1 cup of hot water ready to go.
When you’re ready to bake, take a sharp knife and slash the bread 2 or 3 times, making a cut about 1/2″ deep. The bread may deflate a bit; that’s OK, it’ll pick right up in the hot oven.
Place the bread in the oven — onto the baking stone, if you’re using one, or simply onto a middle rack, if it’s on a pan — and carefully pour the 1 cup hot water into the shallow pan on the rack beneath. It’ll bubble and steam; close the oven door quickly.
Bake the bread for 25 to 35 minutes, until it’s a deep, golden brown.
Remove the bread from the oven, and cool it on a rack. Store leftover bread in a plastic bag at room temperature.
TIPS FROM OUR BAKERS
* The flour/liquid ratio is important in this recipe. If you measure flour by sprinkling it into your measuring cup, then gently sweeping off the excess, use 7 1/2 cups. If you measure flour by dipping your cup into the canister, then sweeping off the excess, use 6 1/2 cups. Most accurate of all (and guaranteed to give you the best results), if you measure flour by weight, use 32 ounces. Using the same ratio/measuring, you can make a half-recipe if you prefer. While it’s great to have dough on hand, it’s fine to make less.
Will have to give this a test-run at some point.
Thanks for the recipe :))
We’ve pretty much got our current region of loaf and rolls worked out to a fine ‘science’ now. lol