During the winter months we have seen ample amounts of blue jays, Cananda jays, crows, and ravens. Today, it was refreshing to see a couple of different feathered friends. The red winged black bird and common grackle stopped by for some bird seed. I tried my best to get a picture. I even hid in the blazer with the window rolled down like a crazy bird lady…waiting for them to land again. They didn’t. It may have had something to do with the fact that I am as stealthy as an elephant with tap shoes on. It’s truly a miracle that I’ve been able to get any pictures of wildlife so far! I’m not sure, maybe I get too excited and give off a little electric energy. Or maybe I’m just loud and careless. Most likely the latter.
Before I knew it, it was two o’clock and I had wasted all my free time bird watching. Dinner time creeps up on me every day and today was no different. I am a full time cook and baker to my three guys. We’re quite limited when it comes to options for takeout or restaurant dinners or even a store to grab a frozen pizza. Question of the day…what’s for dinner?
Luckily, last night at ten o’clock I decided to mix up a batch of lazy lady bread, more commonly known as no knead bread. If you are afraid of yeast….this is the bread for you. And if you are afraid of yeast, please don’t be!
I remember my first couple of times working with yeast. I was so intimidated and got frustrated easily. Instant, active-dry, and rapid rise??? Yeast has a language all in it’s own. I dove in…probably killing the yeast with too hot water, and nothing would rise. The next time I managed to conquer a flawless first rise only to be devastated by a collapsing second rise. I had no idea what was going wrong. Yeast is so fickle. Fickle and magical! It’s a science, and I feel that there is no other thing that happens in my kitchen that is equally rewarding as fresh bread.
Get your hands dirty or your dough hook dirty, and start experimenting. I purposefully try to skip the bread isle when I’m shopping for Clayton Lake because I know that I will be forced to make it.
The reason I call this a lazy lady’s bread is because you mix three ingredients, add some water, stir with a fork, and then let it work it’s own magic in your kitchen for 12-18 hours. It ferments and stretches and rises and bubbles like a creepy creature on your counter. If you’re busy, other bread recipes can get annoying with their time restraints. I love the hourly windows with no knead bread. You have to wait the twelve hours but after that, you have a six hour window in which you decide when to make that next step. It’s all on your schedule!
After the second rise, it’s dropped into a piping hot cast iron Dutch oven. You might feel panicky because nothing will feel right about how you get it into the pot. It will look sloppy and disastrous…but trust me. It will straighten out.
After 40 or so minutes……your masterpiece is finished!!!!
Cracked and bubbled and holey in all the right places. And you know what those cracks and crevices are made for?
After slow roasting in the oven for 45 minutes…..and mixed with creamy butter, the heavenly combination will sink into every nook and cranny. The perfect piece of bread that went along nicely with our fresh and hearty minestrone soup.
When this bread comes out of the oven, people might gasp. They’ll think you spent all day in the kitchen kneading like a bread goddess. Not the case, but go ahead and let them think it! It’s a classic that will stay in your recipe book.
There are lots of recipes for no knead bread but this is the one I have always used. http://www.williams-sonoma.com/recipe/rosemary-lemon-no-knead-bread.html I didn’t have fresh rosemary so I went without additions today…but play around with them!
While bread may be beautiful to me, and I might get a little carried away in whimsical, dramatic tones. Bread means something completely different to my children.
And to Andrew………