Just like many of you, I am staying home, trying to do the right thing, and keep myself and others healthy. After about four days of reading, watching TV, and worrying, not in that order, I decided to take on some “projects” to distract myself and be productive at the same time. I actually spent time thinking of something to do that would be easy and fun. I decided to bake bread. I am not a seasoned baker so I found a recipe that was incredibly easy to make and produced 4 loaves, enough to share, hoping it would help us avoid the temptation of going to a bakery or market to pick up “a loaf.”
I thought the texture was excellent. One of my sons said it had a “perfect crumb” but crust needed work. My other son called it “white bread” which it is, but still a far cry from Wonder Bread. Anyone who knows my children, won’t be surprised at their high standards, but I am here to tell you to make it!!!! It is so easy, I plan to make it again tomorrow and maybe try and mix it with some rye flour or chop in some olives and rosemary. In the meantime, I am also doing some Japanese mending and working on an Art Deco coloring book, I kid you not. More baking to come, and maybe even homemade pasta because there can never be too many carbs in a crisis.
I am sure that none of it will be “perfect” but these days, what is. Stay home, stay healthy. Bake and cook, and share it. We may not be able to see each other but we can cook for each other. If anyone has flour to share, please feel free to drop some off. Better yet, leave it on my doorstep. Stay healthy! Stay home!
Simple Loaf Bread (adapted from NYT)
2 packages dry yeast
1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
3 cups warm water
6 1/2 cups flour
Preheat oven to 450. Add yeast and salt to a large bowl. Add lukewarm water and flour and mix thoroughly just till combined. No kneading!!! Cover with dishtowel and set aside for 2-5 hours. Prepare 2 sheet pans with parchment paper and sprinkle with cornmeal. Then carefully cut dough into four portions and using a scraper, place one section of dough into your hands. Round out gently into oval by pulling dough down from top and pinching under. Imagine stretching plastic wrap over a bowl and sealing on bottom. Place 2 loaves on each sheet and allow to rest for 40 minutes. Then sprinkle with some flour and slash top of each loaf 3 times with a very sharp knife. Bake for 20 minutes.
Tip: My husband, who is a baker, suggested that you pre-heat a metal pan (NOT GLASS) in the oven and then add about one cup of water to it when you place bread in the oven. Place pan under the shelf that bread is baking on to give it a better crust.