I have been thinking a lot about simplicity and good health. For me, they go together naturally when it comes to my diet. I feel better when I eat simple foods. It's an added bonus when the food I prepare is simple to make That's the best of both worlds. So when I came across a simpler technique to make my own bread, and artisan bread at that, I couldn't wait to try it!
The recipe below will make one loaf of round white bread just like my photo. The crust is crusty, the crumb is moist and oh so flavorful. The technique is called "no knead" bread by expert baker Jim Lahey. This was my first time making this bread and as the photo shows, it came out perfect!
Adapted from Jim Lahey at the Sullivan Street Bakery via Mark Bittman at New York Times
Yields one 1 1/2 pound loaf
3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting
1/4 teaspoon instant 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, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees. (my home was at 65 degrees)
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) 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°F. Put a 6- to 8-quart 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. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 10 to 15 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.
I love pearls. They speak of romance and tenderness. Purity and humility. Pearls have been symbolic of chastity and innocence. Pearls are mentioned in most major religious scripture. They have been used as a symbol of beauty and grace in many cultures. Pearls are the oldest known gemstone. I can't think of any other gemstone that gives me as much joy to work with, as a pearl.
"The pearl owes nothing to man. It is absolutely a gift of nature on which man cannot improve." ~ George F. Kunz