Wednesday, October 9, 2013

fool-proof no-knead bread


Fall is a crazy wild ride.  There are a million-and-one things to do and  I used to wish that I could do all million-and-one things at once (or at least a nice hand-full of them).   I used to think that doing just one thing at any given moment was a luxury -- sometimes, even wasteful!  I would catch up with friends via text on my walk home from school.  I would study my Chinese vocabulary while doing my nails.  I once attempted to study for a physics test while making gooey Nutella butter cake (as you can imagine, that was a gooey, chocolatey mess).


Then I finally realized, after all of these years of trying to paint my toes, while listening to a book talk, while doing my math homework -- that multi-tasking sucks.   Here are my five reasons that multi-tasking sucks.

  1. It's actually less efficient.  If I have my history reading open on one tab and my Pinterest tab open on the other, most likely I will find a killer pumpkin bread recipe and leave poor old Thomas Jefferson neglected. 
  2. Things happen and I don't notice them.  While I'm attempting to text my friends about my day while crossing the street, I don't notice that adorable little pug puppy being walked on the other side of thestreet from me (not to mention oncoming traffic...).  A study at the University of Washington found that 75% of students who walked across the quad while on their cell phones didn't notice a clown riding on a unicycle in the quad.   A CLOWN RIDING ON A UNICYCLE! He was probably wearing a bright red fright wig... if they didn't notice that, think about all of the other things they were missing . 
  3. It's rude.  Having my cell phone on the table while having lunch with a friend is distracting. I am totally guilty of this, but sometimes, I at least try not to read the message until I'm on my own.  
  4. It's stressful.  That little "bing" of a new message sends my heart racing.  Spilling sea foam green nail polish on my Chinese workbook sends my blood-pressure through the roof.   
  5. It kills creativity.  Brilliant strokes of genius (putting Nutella in baklava) only happen when your brain has a little extra room to be crazy.  Multitasking requires a lot of "working memory," leaving very little wiggle room for those awesome strokes of genius.  
So, I've decided that when I'm reading about Thomas Jefferson, I will give him all of my attention, and when I'm painting my nails sea foam green, you better believe I'm not going to screw one up attempting to crack open my math text book.   When I'm working, I'm working, when I'm playing, I'm playing, and when I'm baking, I'm baking.  Work hard, play hard (wise words from Wiz Khalifa).  

That being said, there's one little exception when multi-tasking is a good thing. 

This no-knead bread.  

Basically, I just stir up the ingredients in a big bowl -- then proceed to paint my nails, make Nutella baklava, talk to some friends,  spend some quality time with Thomas Jefferson, and totally forget about my bowl of ingredients.  While I'm doing all of these things,  the yeast in there is working hard to make the bubbliest, chewiest, dough I've ever seen.  Multi-tasking at its finest. 

Then, as an afterthought, I throw it into my big dutch oven and uncover a perfectly crusty, yeasty loaf of artisan bread.  



This is not the kind of bread that I cut into slices and make elaborate sandwiches on (although you totally could, whatever floats your boat).  This is the kind of bread that I tear off big chunks of while it's still warm, and smother them in melty butter and honey.   It's got that thick crust that snaps when you break off a piece and a soft center with tons of scraggly nooks and crannys just begging to be filled with melty butter. 

Are you a multi-tasker?

With love,
Erica


Ingredients
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups luke-warm water
  • 1-2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2-1 tsp yeast

Dump all of the ingredients in a large bowl and give them a stir until they resemble a shaggy dough.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let sit in room temperature for 8-18 hours. Dough will bubble up and rise.
After dough is ready, preheat oven to 450 F.
Put your dutch oven in the oven while it preheats.
Turn the dough onto a well-floured surface and shape dough into a ball.
After the oven has preheated, carefully remove the dutch oven and with floured hands place the bread dough into it.
Replace the cover and bake for 30 minutes covered. Then remove the cover and bake for an additional 15 minutes uncovered.  Now you have a perfect, crusty, artisan loaf of bread!


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19 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. You can hardly ever go wrong with pure carbs! (especially when you drown them in honey and butter)

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  2. Looks so easy & delicious, I love crusty bead and will definitely have a go sometime soon (After I recover from my post-food diet from Europe!) I'm a multi-tasker too, but I probably shouldn't be too proud of it :P

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    1. Awesome! Hahaha I am so jealous of your adventure in Europe, I am still reminiscing about my summer in Europe, and wish to go back all the time :)

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  3. What if you don't have a dutch oven?

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    1. Unfortunately, I don't think that this recipe works without a dutch oven -- but you should check out the book Artisan Bread in 5-Minutes A Day, they explain a wonderful method for making artisan bread (without a dutch oven) in literally 5 minutes a day!

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    2. I've made this using a glass oven-proof dish without any trouble other than it sticks a bit more. Just make sure to grease your pan/dish very well.

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  4. Thanks so much :) I am glad you enjoyed this post. And gelato is my obsession :)

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  5. Your first point about multitasking - pinterest+homework? I'm so guilty. I always have pinterest or tastespotting open while I'm working on anything. If I don't have it open, I can guarantee I will check on it every <5 minutes. I've even tried to netflix+homework at the same time before! It doesn't really work... :)

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    1. Hahahaha I am SO guilty of the same thing (disadvantages of being a food blogger and a student!)

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  6. Nutella in baklava? Oh jeez that sounds good! Love your green nail polish btw :)

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    1. Thank you! I will do a post on that soon. This nail polish is my favorite at the moment, I've been wearing it for days!

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  7. Can you also make this with quick yeast?

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  8. Will this work with whole wheat flour?

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    1. Personally, I have never tried this recipe with whole wheat flour (although I have been meaning to for ages). I don't see why it wouldn't work. If you end up giving it a go, please let me know how it turns out! I am very curious. Maybe I will experiment with that tomorrow!

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  9. My mouth is totally watering looking at these photos! Especially the last one with butter melting in to the crevasses of the bread - drool!

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  10. When you say dutch oven, do you mean one like we use for camping? It is a cast iron heavy duty pot with a lid that holds live coals.

    My dad and I used it to bake cobblers, corn bread and biscuits as well as making a mean pot roast.

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