If you had asked me two months ago how I unwind at the end of my day, I would tell you that I hide out in a closet somewhere nibbling on candy, or attempt to zone out for 30 minutes to some television while my kids play in the playroom. Cooking and baking have never been a release of tension for me. I would often find myself overwhelmed by the list of ingredients and the step by step directions that go on for pages, so when dinner time rolled around I had some play it safe meals and some skillet favorites from Trader Joes. While I still love those yummy skillet meals, in the last 2 months I’ve developed quite the love for cooking, baking and gasp! Even trying new recipes more often than repeating ones I’ve already made.
It wasn’t long before spending an hour prepping dinner in the kitchen, sometimes with my kids assistance, had become a new love of mine. I really owe it all to this book that someone in my Instagram feed posted. It was written by a couple who blog at White on Rice. I have extreme love for this cookbook and can tell you how almost half of the recipes taste because I’ve made them and enjoyed every bite.
I truly believe that cooking has come to resonate with me because there are so many aspects of my day that are completely out of my control. Life is unpredictable, yet when I’m cooking I can follow through with completing the dish from start to finish. I think it’s because I feel as though I’m in complete control. My focus is on perfectly mixing the ingredients and following the step by step instructions and I’m able to tune out all the unexpected happenings from the day. It’s becoming therapeutic in a way that I wish I could explain more tangibly. As a result, I’ve become braver in the kitchen and attempted new things that I would’ve never tried before, like baking bread, in the oven! No bread maker here. Can I just tell you how easy it was?! Please promise me you’ll try this recipe!
I originally found this recipe from The Ivory Hut on Pinterest and only made one modification, ok 2, haha. I added 1 tablespoon of organic honey (I was curious to see if it would sweeten the loaf) and I baked it on a cookie sheet instead of a pizza stone because I don’t own one. #ROAR
Here are the ingredients you need:
- 3 cups of lukewarm water
- 1 1/2 tablespoons active dry yeast
- 1 1/2 tablespoons coarse salt
- 6 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Let’s get started:
- Mix the lukewarm water (I used tap water), dry yeast and salt together. Let it sit for about 15 minutes, you don’t need to wait for the yeast to absorb all the way before adding the flour. I used my KitchenAid Mixer with the flat beater to mix the ingredients, but you can do it with a spoon.
- Add all the flour at one time and mix thoroughly . You don’t need to knead it, just make sure the ingredients are mixed together well.
- Put your dough mixture in a container with a lid and be sure to leave an opening in the lid for the dough to rise. I recommend using a larger container. My dough rose double the size of the mixture if that helps.
- Let your dough sit out for several hours so it can rise. Once it has risen and deflated a little bit your dough is done. At this point you can cook it or put it in the fridge. I covered mine and put it in the fridge overnight.
- When you’re ready to cook your dough, pre-heat your oven to 450 degrees and put the pizza stone on the center rack (if you have one, I used a cookie sheet) and broiler pan on the bottom shelf of the oven and let heat.
- Grab a piece, using flour to keep it from sticking to your hands and begin to shape it into a ball. I used a lot of flour to keep it from sticking during this process.
- If you want to create a fun design in the top of your loaf, use a knife to cut stripes into the top before it goes in the oven.
- Put some flour down on your pizza stone or cookie sheet to keep the dough from sticking while it’s baking. Before you close the oven put a cup of hot water into the broiler pan and then close the oven quickly to trap the steam. Be careful not to burn yourself while you do this.
- Bake at 450 for 30-40 minutes or until the outside gets a nice brown crust. I baked mine for 40 minutes and the outside crust made that amazing crackle sound when I cut into it and the center was soft. Best of both worlds if you ask me.
I loved how this loaf turned out and my family gobbled it up in place of their dinner. I kid you not. Now I’m on the hunt for some other variations I can make with this loaf recipe. Maybe a lemon basil? Or a garlic with herbs?
Do you have some favorite bread recipes to share with me?