Monday, January 17, 2011

"Oh My! You Made This?!" Bread

This isn't a post to boast a recipe that I've mastered. This is a post to share a recipe that is so ridiculously simple, yet it creates a loaf of bread that looks so artisan and tastes so yummy that it is sure to have everyone thinking you've got a special talent for bread making.

I've taken this recipe from an issue of  Mother Earth News. I'm not anywhere close to being able to create my own recipes, unfortunately.

First, before you tie that apron- make sure you have an oven-safe, 6 to 8 quart dish. I use a high-end Bobby Le Flay cast iron dutch oven that you can only get in France. Kohl's also carries it. And if you have a coupon, you can get that sucker for $30. But that's another issue. Anyway...very important. Make sure you have something so that you're not stuck with a gooey blob of dough and nothing to bake it in.

Also, if you're planning on making this for a certain occasion, leave enough time for the entire process. This isn't a two hour bread. This is a two day bread.

Ready? Here we go!

Step One
In a large bowl, dissolve 1/4 teaspoon of yeast in 1 1/2 cups of warm water

Add 3 cups  all-purpose flour and 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt, stirring until mixture is nicely blended.

Step Two

Cover bowl with plastic wrap and set in a warm place. Let mixture sit for at least 12 hours. (I let it sit for 18)

The dough is ready when you see that the surface is spotted with air bubbles. Flour a flat surface, place the dough on it, give it a bit more flour, and then fold the dough onto itself a couple of times. Put some plastic wrap over the dough and let it take a rest for about 15 to 20 minutes.

Using some more flour, shape the dough into a ball, creating a seam on the underside. Be careful not to overwork the dough. Don't worry about it looking perfect. 

Coat a dish towel with about a 1/4 cup cornmeal, and place the dough onto the towel with the seam side down. Cover with another towel, and let the dough rise for about 2 hours.

A half an hour before the dough is ready, preheat the oven (with the baking dish in the oven) to 475 degrees. At then end of 2 hours, flop the dough into the dish, seam side up, and cover with lid. Bake for 30 minutes with the cover on. Remove the lid and bake bread for another 20 minutes.

Here is a picture from showing you what it will look like:

When it's all done, allow the bread to cool on a baking rack.  Take pictures of your finished loaf before you eat it.

Enjoy this bread with soup, as a snack, toasted with jam or's really delicious any which way.

I hope you'll try this recipe and let me know what you think!

Friday, January 7, 2011

When in Doubt, Make a List.

   If you received an e-mail from me today, I'm going to come right out and tell you that it was on my list of things to do. Heck, if you got a text, it was probably written on my whiteboard.

I have this little problem where...I make lists. I mean, it's slightly embarrassing to the point where each room of our apartment is bound to be hiding at least four or five lists that I've made.

I'm not sure where this habit came from, but there's something reassuring to me about seeing everything that I'm supposed to do written out neatly on a piece of paper.

I don't stop at ''laundry'', or ''pick up mail''. I go to the full extent of ''get dressed'' and ''drink 8 glasses of water''. Sometimes, on a really rough day, I'll write things that I know I've already done...just to be able to feel slightly accomplished (I got that trick from my Momma).

Either way, I'm a serious list maker. It makes me feel more organized, more in control, and  more ready to tackle all of the silly little things that make up my day. And because it's the new year, it's time to make a more heavy hitting list. A list of my goals for 2011.

(Thank you, Blogger, for including the bullet feature...I feel right at home!)

  • Get back to school
  • Don't procrastinate
  • Run 10 mile race
  • Reach goal rush!
  • Continue baking fresh bread each week
  • Continue blogging
  • Try more recipes
  • Read Bible
  • Read at least two books per month
  • Hike more
  • Take more pictures
  • The list goes on....
There it is! Do you make lists? Did you make a special one for the new year? I'd love to hear!

Happy List Making!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Blogging Dilemma

If I could say one thing to my blogging self, it would be:

I took a bit of a break from blogging. My mind wasn't flowing, my hands didn't want to type, and I just didn't want to be on the computer.

It's been such an eventful winter so far, and while I cannot disclose all of the ups and downs and loop-de doops (that's a word, by the way), I can say that I have missed this blog.

How rude to walk away from something that I  enjoy so much. How rude to expect fresh entries from my favorite fellow bloggers, all while I sat and held back. How rude.

So I'm back, and this time, I'm hoping to incorporate the draft feature. So that when I do hit a dry spell, I can simply click ''post''.

So to kick off my 22nd year of life, I will post this entry. And I will promise myself to write in this at least three times a week. Wish my luck.

Hopefully someone is still reading, here's to fresh starts and a wonderful new year!
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