I have taken a Benadryl and will likely fall asleep before I finish typing this post. You see, I have the allergies. I diagnosed myself with the help of multiple television ads and the back of a few medicine boxes. I am having trouble seeing straight as the allergies have compressed my head into something resembling a flat pizza box.
Rylie and I both woke up soaking wet this morning…her due to an over-filled diaper and me because of an almost-too-real dream about high school. I seriously wake up in a cold sweat during/after bad dreams…and while I always have trouble remembering them, I find that I struggle for the rest of the day to get my brain back to normal. Thankfully, 99% of the bad things in my life are only dreams.
Due to my impending lack of coherency and the fact that my child is dangerously wearing no clothes (see above), I shall distract you with this week’s bread. It is, if I do say so myself, wicked good. I was warned that it would be, but didn’t believe it could be done without the fancy brick oven and the supercool white baker’s smock. It’s No-Knead Bread. It’s crusty and soft and oh so delicious. I am, I think, in love.
Time: About 1 1/2 hours plus 14 to 20 hours rising
You’ll k-need (HA! Sorry…it’s the Benadryl.)
3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting
1/4 teaspoon instant yeast [aka Rapid Rise, QuickRise, Instant Active Dry, Perfect Rise, or Bread Machine Yeast]
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
Cornmeal or wheat bran as needed
1. In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add 1 5/8 cups water, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18 (like, overnight), at warm room temperature (like on top of your fridge).
2. 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 rest about 15 minutes.
3. Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth- seriously overdo the generous coating of the towel, otherwise you risk the dough sticking to the towel during the next step.) with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.
4. At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 4-quart (but I used a 2.5 one as that’s all I had) heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up; it may look like a mess, but that is O.K. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes.
5. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.
Yield: One 1 1/2-pound loaf. Mmmmmmm. Goodness.
Note: the dent in my finished bread is from my pot lid. I think it’s cute.
We are headed to Cleveland Saturday and Sunday to visit Rylie’s Great Gramma Kluska. She is Gramma’s only great grand child. I am excited to share Rylie with her…but I am admittedly nervous about the trip. Nervous because Gramma is terribly frail and I see myself in her hands. Nervous because it’s a 5-hour drive. Nervous because sometimes Curt gets on my nerves in the car while he’s trying to see if our speedometer is calibrated correctly mile after mile after mile. So, think of us if you find a spare moment…and pray for ease of heart, good naps, and patience sweet patience.