Monday, April 22, 2013

Domestic Goddess-hood

This weekend was highly successful and enjoyable on the homemaking front, I must say!  Unfortunately, I was too busy being productive to take pictures, but I do have a recipe to share.

My most rewarding project was making bread.  I love bread...lots of kinds of bread.  Which, if you ask my mom, is kind of a surprise.  When I was little, I hated bread.  I hated eating at Subway because there was so much BREAD in the dang sandwiches.  I wanted the crusts cut off my wonder bread  because there was just tooooo much bread in my sandwich.  Toast?  No. Bagels? Gross.  Don't even talk to me about rolls.  Why.  No.

Now?  Hand me that loaf and keep your fingers out of the way!  Om nom nom.  When I worked at Fort Michilimackinac, I learned how to make all sorts of breads--quick breads, yeast breads, round breads, sweet breads, oaty breads...all tasty!  There was just something magical about popping a raw, floury, doughy lump in a big cast iron pot, shoveling bits of smoldering wood on top, and then lifting the lid an hour later to find a beautiful, fluffy, golden loaf.  Science?  Magic?  Doesn't matter!  Pass the butter.

I used to make bread a lot when I lived with my parents.  When they renovated their kitchen, they specifically designed their breakfast bar to sit a little higher than a normal counter top so that my dad could make bread on it, so it was an optimal height and width for kneading dough.  Now, at my own place, I have very little counter space and a lot of random not a lot of space to splash down some flour and go six rounds with some yeast.  Also, I'm super impatient and I don't like the fact that yeast is extremely selfish and takes FOREVER to rise--twice!  Then, I found this recipe:

Simply So Good Crusty Bread
See the original blog post here!

3 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 3/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon Instant or Rapid-rise yeast
1 1/2 cups water

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, salt and yeast.  Add water and mix until a shaggy mixture forms.  Cover bowl with plastic wrap and set aside for 12 - 18 hours.  Overnight works great.  Heat oven to 450 degrees.  When the oven has reached 450 degrees place a cast iron pot with a lid in the oven and heat the pot for 30 minutes.  Meanwhile, pour dough onto a heavily floured surface and shape into a ball.  Cover with plastic wrap and let set while the pot is heating.  Remove hot pot from the oven and drop in the dough.  Cover and return to oven for 30 minutes.  After 30 minutes remove the lid and bake an additional 15 minutes.  Remove bread from oven and place on a cooling rack to cool.  

As far as I can figure, this really is a foolproof bread.  Seriously; you dump your stuff in a bowl, leave it alone for half a day, and then throw it in the oven (more or less).  Forty-five minutes later, you have fresh, homemade bread with a crispy crust and delicious chewy inside.  And, as you can see in the linked post, it's easy to add stuff--I currently have a batch of rosemary-garlic at home on my stove, waiting for me to get home and bake it.  How easy is that?!

I'm happy to report that the first experimental loaf barely lasted the weekend.  I took it over to my folks' house for a visit and came home with the last couple of slices in a plastic baggie.  It's just really good bread!


  1. Well I'm on a two month no bread/excessive carb free diet because I ate myself out of my period clothing and I have a big event June 1st and have to fit back into it...howEVER, June 2nd I'm making this bread!

    1. Ooh, I hear you on the clothing issue. I actually had a different problem when I started riding horses--I didn't get bigger or smaller, but I changed shape! It was so weird...anyway, best of luck, and I hope you enjoy the bread when you can have it again!

  2. Thanks for sharing! I think the key is that, like me, you are a bread snob. Fresh baked bread is heavenly! Subway rolls? Not so much...

    1. Yes, I agree. I actually prefer flatbread if I ever do go to Subway (which wasn't an option when I was a child) and I find myself very hesitant to buy normal sandwich's just not worth my time, you know? This, on the other hand, I could eat a whole loaf.

  3. I LOVE this bread, and we always devour it when I make a loaf. I keep regular yeast in the house, not instant, but I just do a simple proof with the water and some honey and it's allllll good. If it didn't require so much preheat time after a long day at work I'd probably make it constantly.

    1. Yep, that's exactly what I did with my yeast! I have rapid-rise somewhere, but all I could find was regular in my cupboard, so I proofed it while I got my dishes out and it was fine. The only thing I dislike is that 450 is REALLY HOT, which means if it's warm out, my kitchen also gets REALLY HOT. There's zero airflow on that end of the house, so it can get stifling pretty fast...but sometimes fresh bread is worth it. :P